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Putin accepts an international mission to the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia | War in Ukraine

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At the same time, the Secretary General of theUN, Antonio Guterres, visiting Ukraine, asked Russia not to cut off from the Ukrainian network this power station located in the south of the country that its army has occupied since the beginning of March. The place has become the target in recent weeks of strikes of which Moscow and kyiv accuse each other.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian power plant operator Energoatom said it feared such a scenario, saying the Russian military was looking for supplies for diesel generators that would be activated after the reactors were shut down and had limited the staff access to facilities.

Of course, Zaporizhia’s electricity is Ukrainian electricity […] this principle must be fully respectedsaid Mr. Guterres during a press conference on the sidelines of a trip to Odessa, the major Ukrainian port on the Black Sea, after having been the day before in Lviv, in the west of this country.

MM. Putin and Macron have in this context noted the importance of sending a mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the nuclear power station as soon as possible, which will be able to assess the situation on siteinformed the Kremlin, stressing that the Russian side has confirmed that it is ready to provide all necessary assistance to the inspectors of the’IAEA.

The systematic bombardment […] of the territory of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant creates the danger of a large-scale disaster that could lead to the radioactive contamination of large territories. »

A quote from Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

The Russian Head of State also accepted that this international mission goes through Ukraine and not by Russia, which he demanded before, specified the French presidency.

A diplomat nevertheless declared the same day to theAFP that Westerners were most concerned about maintaining the water cooling of nuclear reactors, more than the impact of a shot on this plant built to resist to the worst impacts, even when an airliner crashes.

The day before in Lviv, where he met Ukrainian Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the United Nations Secretary General had said he feared a new Chernobylbelieving that any potential damage to Zaporizhia would be suicide and urging to demilitarize the plant.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres shake hands.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, center, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres shake hands after meeting in Lviv, Ukraine, Thursday, August 18, 2022.

Photo: Associated Press/Evgeniy Maloletka

On Friday, it was the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, who called on the Russians on Twitter to withdraw of this site and immediately return full control to its rightful owner, Ukraine.

Cereals at the heart of new negotiations

Mr. Guterres’ visit was marked by another topic that worries the world: Ukrainian grain exports.

Stuck after the Russian invasion on February 24, which raised the specter of a global food crisis, exports resumed after the conclusion, in July, of an agreement between Moscow and kyiv, with the mediation of M Erdogan.

They are crucial for the food supply of many African countries, Ukraine being one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of cereals.

A wheat field near Mariupol in the Donetsk region.

Cereals grown in Ukraine, like here in Mariupol, are crucial to the food supply of many countries in Africa.

Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Russia, which is demanding in exchange the lifting of restrictions on its own foreign sales of agricultural products and fertilizers, deplores for its part the obstacles that remain – to use the words that Mr. Putin used on Friday.

Allegations that France also immediately rejected, judging that there is on the part of Moscow a desire to politically exploit this issue.

At the same time, the giant Gazprom warned that deliveries of Russian gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline would be interrupted from August 31 to September 2, for reasons of maintenanceat the risk of rekindling the fear of a shortage in Europe, where Russia is accused of energy blackmail.

Regarding the military operations in Ukraine, the Pentagon, which announced on Friday a new tranche of military aid amounting to 775 million dollars to this country, noted a complete lack of progress on the battlefield Russian troops.

A building is destroyed.

A strike hit a tram station in Kharkiv on Thursday, where shelling continues. (Archives)

Photo: Reuters

We have not observed any takeover of territories by Ukrainian forces, but we see a clear weakening of the Russian positions in several placessaid an official from the US Department of Defense.

In eastern Ukraine, however, Russian bombardments continued on Friday, killing at least five people and injuring ten in several localities in the Donetsk region, one of the two provinces of Donbass, an industrial basin which is the priority strategic objective of Moscow, announced its governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Kharkiv (north-east), the second city of Ukraine, has also been the subject of new strikes which have killed at least one person according to local authorities.

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