Ankara/Moscow – Turkey can play the role of a mediator in the issue of the Ukrainian Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this in a phone call to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Citing Erdogan’s presidential office, Reuters reported this today. Meanwhile, Moscow again accused Ukraine of attacking the facility itself.
The two leaders also discussed the development of the situation regarding Ukrainian grain exports and expressed their determination to proceed with the construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey’s Akkuyu according to plans, Erdogan’s office said. Erdogan and Putin agreed to discuss these issues in detail when they meet at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15-16.
On Thursday, a delegation of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which is in the part of Ukraine occupied by Russia. Their report on the situation at the power plant should be published next week. But IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the plant’s physical integrity had been compromised, not once, but several times. He called it “unacceptable in every respect”.
Six representatives of the IAEA remained at the Zaproža power plant. Two of them will stay in place for a long time.
Ukrainian forces attempted to capture the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant on Friday evening, the Russian Defense Ministry said today. The authority said Ukrainian naval forces of more than 250 troops attempted to land on the shores of a lake near the facility at around 11:00 p.m. local time (10:00 p.m. CEST) on Friday. Russian troops thwarted the attack using military helicopters and fighter jets, the Russian ministry said.
Both sides have repeatedly accused each other of shelling this nuclear facility, which is occupied by Russian invasion troops, but is still operated by Ukrainian technicians. The claims of hostile parties cannot be verified from independent sources under conditions of war.
Both Russia and Ukraine have said the situation is serious and the risk of a nuclear disaster high. According to Kiev and some Western officials, Moscow uses the complex as a base for heavy weapons to deter Ukraine from shelling.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu denied on Friday that Russia had heavy weapons at or near the plant. On the contrary, he accused Ukraine of committing “nuclear terrorism” with its attacks on facilities.
A representative of the regime installed by Russia on the occupied bank of the Dnieper said that the situation at the power plant was calm this morning.
Turkey Russia Ukraine diplomacy struggle nuclear energy