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Members of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, southeastern Ukraine, on Sept. 1 amid fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. File Photo by IAEA Press Office/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 11 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron to go over the conditions round the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as Ukraine disconnected it from the energy grid Sunday.
The decision between Putin and Macron was announced in a readout from the Kremlin, which placed blame on threats to security of the facility on “regular Ukrainian attacks.” Ukraine has said that Russian forces have already been staging at the nuclear facility to fire on surrounding communities.
Zaporizhzhia, the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe and the initial one operated in a war zone, was seized by Russian troops earlier this season. Western officials and the International Atomic Energy Agency fear that continued artillery fire near it poses an imminent nuclear threat to Europe.
“An in depth and frank exchange of views happened on the problem in Ukraine, with a concentrate on ensuring the safety of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant,” based on the Kremlin readout.
“The President of Russia informed concerning the measures taken by Russian specialists to guarantee the physical protection of the station and stressed the necessity to influence the Kyiv authorities so the shelling of the station would immediately stop.”
The Kremlin added that “mutual readiness was expressed for non-politicized interaction on the problem” with the participation of the International Atomic Energy Association, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
Putin also claimed to Macron that Ukrainian troops were utilizing weapons given by Western countries to shell Ukraine’s own civilian infrastructure in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
Donbas has been largely held by pro-Russian separatists because the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. Putin recognized Luhansk and Donetsk as independent republics prior to the start of invasion and is likely to make an effort to annex the spot into Russia in coming months.
The decision came as Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear regulator, said in a statement Sunday that operations at the nuclear power plant have “completely stopped.”
“Power unit No. 6 of the ZNPP was disconnected from the energy grid. Preparations are underway because of its cooling and transfer to a cold state,” Energoatom said.
The nuclear regulator said that the energy unit has been operating at a critically low power level for days gone by three days “since all communication lines of the Zaporizhzhia NPP with the Ukrainian power system were damaged because of Russian shelling.”
“Yesterday evening, after one of these brilliant communication lines was restored to its operational capacity, it became possible to power the ZNPP’s own needs from the power system of Ukraine. Therefore, a choice was designed to turn off power unit No. 6 and transfer it to the safest state – cold shutdown,” Energoatom said.
Ukrainian regulators said that the facility will undoubtedly be powered by diesel generators in case of repeated harm to the lines of communication with the energy system.
“Energoatom takes all possible measures to arrange the way to obtain additional batches of diesel fuel to the ZNPP,” the statement reads.
Ukrainian officials needed the creation of a demilitarized zone round the power plant to guard it from “the racist shelling of the communication lines.”
“From then on, you’ll be able to correct the communication line, to guarantee the inclusion and additional safe operation of the ZNPP,” the statement reads.
The Institute for the analysis of War, a think tank located in Washington, D.C., said within an analysis Sunday that Russian forces on the weekend didn’t attempt a western advance in the Zaporizhzhia province round the power plant and instead centered on shelling south.
“Ukrainian sources reported that Ukrainian forces struck unspecified targets in Russian-occupied Polohy on the western Zaporizhzhia Oblast frontline,” based on the think tank.
“Russian occupations authorities are setting information conditions to assume control of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant operations amid international outcries.”
Based on the IKnstitute for the analysis of War, Vladimir Rogov — a Russian occupation official in Zaporizhzhia — claimed that Ukrainian officials “deliberately” turn off capacity to the facility.
“Rogov stated he is against peacekeepers visiting the ZNPP, claiming they’ll be biased against Russia, and claimed the ZNPP needs secure deposit against claimed Ukrainian shelling rather than peacekeepers,” based on the Institute for the analysis of War.
His statements “indicate continued Russian hostility towards any non-Russian intervention,” the think tank wrote.
Rogov’s statement comes 1 day following the IAEA released a draft resolution contacting Russia to cease all operations at the energy plant.
Last month, Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s permanent ambassador to the US, told UPI within an interview an incident at the nuclear power plant “potentially could be much worse than Chernobyl.”
He also said that Moscow has tried “sabotaging the visit of Grossi’s team” while telling the planet they invited the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog to go to the plant.