Macron Calls Putin to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron said Russia may be planning to disconnect the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant from Ukraine’s power grid, confirming warnings from the Ukrainian nuclear power company.

Macron met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday and said he needed a phone call because of an urgent nuclear threat. EuropeAccording to Macron’s office, Putin has agreed to allow independent inspectors to go to the factory and has “reconsidered” the International Atomic Energy Agency’s mission to move from Ukrainian territory to the facility.

Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom said on Friday it feared it. Russia It will shut down the functioning power units of the Zaporizhzhia power plant, which normally supplies about one-fifth of Ukraine’s electricity.

Russia has controlled a plant in southeastern Ukraine since March, but it is still run by Ukrainian scientists. will have to rely on the vehicle, increasing the risk of accidents.

“The Russian army is looking for a supplier of fuel for diesel generators, which should be turned on in the absence of external power for the nuclear fuel cooling system after the shutdown of the power supply,” Energoatom said. said.

Western officials said they were concerned about whether water cooling could be maintained, amid accusations that the invaders had not properly maintained the site.[It is] It’s a situation that all of us should be watching very closely,” said a source on condition of anonymity.

The loss of power supply led to the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in 2011. Main power was lost in the earthquake, the ensuing tsunami overwhelmed backup generators, and lack of cooling led to a partial meltdown of the reactor.

Russia has been in control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant since March, has troops and military equipment stationed there, and has been urged by the UN and others to expedite its demilitarization. Nato.

Western officials said the reactors are designed to withstand relatively large impacts, such as from jetliners, so fighting around the plant is considered less risky than cooling failure.

On Friday, Putin renewed Russia’s accusations that Ukraine was shelling the site, leading to a “massive catastrophe that could lead to radioactive contamination of vast territories” in a call with Macron. It said it could, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Ukrainian military intelligence warned this week that Moscow appeared to be planning a “provocation” at the factory, and Energoatom also expressed concern about the unusual activity.

On Friday, while UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the Black Sea port city of Odessa, Russia reportedly closed the Zaporizhia site to most personnel, except those operating the power plant. , said Energoatom.

Energoatom also accused Russia of shelling parts of the plant complex in a false flag attack, while Moscow blamed Ukrainian forces. Ukraine’s Western allies have warned that any nuclear incident would trigger a swift response.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the House Defense Select Committee, said Friday that an on-site nuclear accident risks drawing NATO into war.

“Let’s be clear here: Intentional damage to a nuclear reactor in Ukraine to cause a potential radiation leak would violate Article 5 of NATO,” he said on Twitter.

‘It’s crazy’: Everyday life at the frontline Ukrainian nuclear power plant – video

But even if the reactor remains intact, Russia may still be planning to weaponize the plant by simply disconnecting it. and plant shutdowns could harm the economy and people’s ability to keep warm.

The electricity it provides will have to be generated at other power plants to deplete the limited supply of natural gas and other fuels, or the country could face blackouts. , the surplus heat from the factory is the key to the district heating system.

Zaporizhia governor Oleksandr Starkh said many of the city’s 700,000 residents would lose their warmth during the harsh Ukraine winter if the power plant were cut.

“The heating system in the city is supplied by a nuclear power plant. If they turn it off, there is no way to heat [our buildings]”It’s just a big deal,” he told The Guardian in June.

A senior Ukrainian energy official said drastic changes to wartime nuclear plant operations were in themselves dangerous. Yury Vitrenko, chairman of the gas company Naftogaz, called Russia’s behavior “insane” and said “Russia’s problem is that they are very reckless”.

“Nuclear regulators usually have to test something to prove it’s absolutely safe…it’s not that they can’t experiment with nuclear power plants. And what they’re doing now is really all is against the norms of

He said Russia didn’t fully understand the plant, which dates back to the Soviet era but has been significantly modernized. He said that meant he didn’t have the full up-to-date information on how it works.

“The things they can come and see, but it’s not their plant, so they need to know how it works and what they can and can do with this plant. I do not know all of the

Artem Mazurin Contributed to report this story

Macron Calls Putin to Ukraine

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