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Putin, Macron discuss safety of nuclear plant

China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-09-13 10:15

A woman carries her belongings out from a residential building damaged by a strike in Mykolaiv on Sunday. UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS

MOSCOW-Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, discussed the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during a phone call between the leaders, the Kremlin said in a statement on Sunday.

"The Russian side drew attention to the regular Ukrainian attacks on the NPP facilities, including the storage of radioactive waste, which is fraught with catastrophic consequences," the statement said.

Putin stressed that Ukrainian forces have been using weapons supplied by the West and continued targeted and massive shelling on the civilian infrastructure of cities in the Donbas region, causing residents to suffer.

The Russian president spoke of the measures taken by Russian specialists to ensure the safety of the plant and stressed the necessity for the authorities in Kyiv to be persuaded to stop the shelling, the statement said.

Both leaders confirmed the mutual position for engaging in non-politicized interaction on the situation of the nuclear plant with the participation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the statement said.

In recent weeks, the site of the power plant has been attacked during days of shelling, sparking international concerns for its safety.

The plant was completely shut down in a bid to prevent a radiation disaster as fighting raged nearby.

Since Sept 5, when a fire caused by shelling knocked the plant off transmission lines, the reactor has been powering crucial safety equipment in so-called island mode.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said he is "gravely concerned about the situation at the plant, which remains in danger as long as any shelling continues".

He said that "consultations have begun on the urgent need to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone" at the plant.

On the military front, Russia said on Monday its forces were striking parts of the eastern Kharkiv region retaken by Ukraine, vowing to continue its military action in the country.

The defense ministry in its daily briefing said Russian air, rocket and artillery forces were "delivering precision strikes on units and reserves of the Ukrainian armed forces", including in the urban hubs of Kupiansk and Izyum.

The Kremlin said on Monday that Russia would achieve its military goals in Ukraine.

"The military operation continues," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "And it will continue until the goals that were originally set are achieved."

Over the weekend, Ukraine said it made progress on the battle fronts in the south and the east, including the cities of Izyum, Kupiansk and Balakliya.

On Sunday, Ukraine said the Russian military attacked infrastructure in the Kharkiv region. Ukrainian officials said targets of the attacks included a thermal power station in Kharkiv, and caused blackouts.

Ukraine's second-largest city appeared to be without power on Sunday night.

Later in the evening power had been restored in some regions.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday a military maneuver from Izyum and other areas was intended to strengthen Moscow's forces in the neighboring Donetsk region to the south.

"A decision was made to regroup Russian troops stationed in the Balakliya and Izyum regions to bolster efforts along the Donetsk front," Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Agencies Via Xinhua

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