Aug 19, 2022 - World

Putin agreed to IAEA mission to Ukraine nuclear plant, Macron's office says

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Aug. 18.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Aug. 18. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday agreed to allow a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspect the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine during a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, according to readout of the call released by Macron's office.

Why it matters: Russia has faced pressure from dozens of countries, the United Nations and other international organizations to cease military activity at the plant and withdraw its troops and military equipment.

  • The facility, which has been occupied by the Russian military since March, is Europe's largest nuclear power plant.
  • Ukraine and Russia have recently accused each other of shelling areas near the facility.
  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, condemned the military activity near the plant earlier this month.

What they're saying: "President Macron once again emphasized his concern over the risks that the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant poses to nuclear safety and security, and expressed his support for sending a mission of IAEA experts to the site as quickly as possible, under conditions approved by Ukraine and the UN," the Elysée said.

  • "The Russian President indicated his agreement to the deployment of this mission and the terms that were discussed," it added.
  • It said Putin and Macron will discuss the deployment of the inspection team "again in the next few days."

The other side: The Kremlin also said Putin supported the inspection team in its readout of the call, according to Reuters.

The big picture: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on the UN to "ensure the security" of the plant.

  • Zelensky said earlier this week that Ukrainian diplomats and nuclear scientists were working with the IAEA to organize and send an inspection team.

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