Aug 25, 2022 - World

Biden, Zelenksy call on Russia to return control of nuclear plant to Ukraine

Joe Biden talks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Joe Biden talks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Dec. 2021. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called for control of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station to be returned to Ukraine.

Driving the news: The two leaders during a phone call Thursday also called for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to gain access to the plant, according to a White House readout.

Why it matters: Shelling at the Zaporizhzhia — Europe's largest nuclear power station — has prompted widespread international worry and condemnation this month.

  • Russia and Ukraine have both accused each other of being responsible for the shelling.
  • U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres issued warnings earlier this month that shelling at the plant was "suicidal" and could "lead to disaster."

The big picture: Russian forces captured the plant in March and have kept control of it since then. The plant has been kept operational by its Ukrainian staff.

State of play: During a call with French President Emmanuel Macron last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to allow a team from the IAEA to inspect the plant.

Go deeper