French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants Sunday, according to a Kremlin readout of the call between the two leaders.
When Macron expressed concern about ensuring the nuclear power plants’ safety, Putin responded about what he called “the provocation staged by Ukrainian radicals in the area of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with the involvement of a sabotage group,” according to the readout.
“Russian troops are in cooperation with Ukrainian personnel and continue to ensure the operation of the nuclear power plant in the normal mode and the radioactive background remains normal,” Putin said, according to the readout.
He added these details were officially confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“The physical and nuclear safety of the plant is well protected,” the readout said.
The statement also noted Russian Armed Forces “control the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant” to ensure there are no “provocations fraught with catastrophic consequences by Ukrainian neo-Nazis or terrorists.”
When Macron asked about the idea of holding a trilateral (IAEA-Russia-Ukraine) meeting in the Chernobyl zone to ensure the safety of Ukrainian nuclear facilities, Putin said, “In principle, this idea could be useful, but it would be worth considering whether to hold such a meeting via videoconference or in a third country.”
The two leaders also discussed the issue of evacuating the civilian population from areas of clashes. Putin accused Ukraine of not fulfilling “the agreements reached on such an acute humanitarian issue.”
The Kremlin readout also said “Ukrainian nationalists did not allow the evacuation from these cities. And the pause in hostilities was again used to build up forces and means in their positions.”