When Macron voiced concern about the safety of nuclear power facilities, Putin answered by referring to “the provocation staged by Ukrainian radicals in the area of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with the involvement of a sabotage group,” according to the readout.
“Russian troops are in cooperation with Ukrainian personnel and continue to ensure the operation of the nuclear power plant in the normal mode and the radioactive background remains normal,” Putin said, as per the statement.
He went on to say that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had formally confirmed these data.
“The physical and nuclear safety of the plant is well protected,” the readout said.
According to the statement, Russian Armed Forces “control the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant” to prevent “provocations fraught with catastrophic consequences by Ukrainian neo-Nazis or terrorists.”
When Macron raised the prospect of holding a trilateral (IAEA-Russia-Ukraine) meeting in the Chernobyl zone to ensure the safety of Ukrainian nuclear facilities, Putin responded, “In principle, this idea could be useful, but it would be worth considering whether to hold such a meeting via videoconference or in a third country.”
The two presidents also discussed the subject of removing civilians from conflict zones. Putin accused Ukraine of failing to follow through on “the agreements reached on such an acute humanitarian issue.”
The Kremlin statement also read, “Ukrainian nationalists did not allow the evacuation from these cities. And the pause in hostilities was again used to build up forces and means in their positions.”
Macron later spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday and updated him on his earlier call with Putin, according to a read out from the Élysée Palace.
“The President of the Republic talked to President Zelensky about his call today with President Putin, during which the latter gave his agreement for joint effort to be undertaken on the basis of the recommendations of the International Agency for Atomic Energy in order to ensure the safety and security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine,” the statement said.
Earlier on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “grave concern” over nuclear safety during a phone chat with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Macron “reiterated the absolute necessity to avoid any attack on the integrity of Ukrainian civil nuclear facilities” during his phone discussion with Zelensky.
The humanitarian crisis was also reviewed, according to the Élysée, and Macron informed Zelensky that he will “pay close attention to the needs of Ukraine and France will continue to increase its support in this area.”