Putin accepts an international mission to inspect the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant | International
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It is one of the most dangerous places today, not only in the Ukraine war, but on the planet. The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, in Ukrainian territory but occupied by Russian troops, has been the scene of exchanges of fire between the two armies and a misdirected (or intentionally aimed) missile could cause a catastrophe with incalculable effects. Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted this Friday, during a conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visit the Ukrainian plant “as soon as possible”, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace .
The visit of the inspectors to Zaporizhia – the largest power plant in Europe – will be carried out under the supervision of Ukraine, according to the Elysee, and has no date. Beforehand, “the security conditions must be met so that the mission can do its job, which requires a ceasefire,” a source from the presidency of the French Republic, who requested anonymity, commented after the call. “The fighting needs to be stopped for at least the duration of the mission,” added the source, “and, if possible, and that is what we want, beyond it so that we can all be sure that the central Zaporizhia is a safe place”. The Russian Foreign Ministry considered “unacceptable” the proposals of the United Nations, kyiv and other capitals to demilitarize the zone.
The Kremlin emphasized that the conversation was held at the behest of the Elysee. According to the statement, Putin not only showed “his willingness to provide the assistance needed by the inspectors of the agency [el OIEA]”, but also agreed to allow experts from the UN and the Red Cross to visit the Olenivka prison (in the east, in Donetsk province), a center where more than 40 Ukrainian prisoners died on July 29. after a bombing of which Moscow and kyiv accuse each other.
A significant detail of the agreement between Macron and Putin, according to the Elysee, is that the IAEA experts will not arrive in Zaporizhia – in the hands of Moscow since the beginning of the invasion – passing through Russia and the Ukrainian territories occupied by Moscow, but from Ukraine and the territories under the control of the kyiv Government. “This is absolutely necessary, legitimate and indispensable for reasons of Ukrainian sovereignty,” said the French source, “and because we must avoid that, through the fait accompli of the Russian occupation of a certain number of Ukrainian territories, we or the Let the international community or the IAEA bring even the slightest form of legitimacy to this occupation if we go through Russia.”
The conversation between Putin and Macron, the first since May 18, coincided with the announcement in Moscow that the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline will once again stop pumping Russian gas to the European Union altogether. Gazprom announced that it will review a compression unit between August 31 and September 2, after which it will return to limited operation. The gas pipeline has barely supplied 20% of its maximum capacity since the end of July due to Russia’s confrontation with Canada and Germany over sanctions on certain parts under repair.
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During his hour-and-a-half talk with Macron, Putin insisted that a large-scale nuclear catastrophe “could contaminate huge territories with radiation.” Although it is not mentioned in the statement, it could be an explicit threat to Europe: a day earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry showed a map indicating that an alleged “accident” in Zaporizhia would not affect Russia, but its radioactive cloud it would extend over Moldova, Romania, Poland and Germany.
The IAEA has been requesting the mission in Zaporizhia for months to guarantee the safety of the plant. “We do not want another Chernobyl,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday in the Ukrainian city of Lviv at the end of a summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “The zone must be demilitarized, any other option would be suicidal,” Guterres said.
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