After Emmanuel Macron expressed concern for the safety of nuclear power plants in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin explained in detail about provocations carried out by Ukrainian radical nationalists using sabotage groups in the area of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. Any attempts to blame the Russian military for this incident are part of a cynical propaganda campaign. Russian troops, in cooperation with a Ukrainian security unit and personnel, continue to ensure the regular operation of the nuclear power plant. Background radiation in the region remains normal. All these facts have been officially confirmed by the IAEA. The physical and nuclear safety of the plant is well protected.
The Russian Armed Forces also control the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. All this is being done in order to rule out any provocations by Ukrainian neo-Nazis or terrorists to avoid catastrophic consequences.
When the President of France mentioned the IAEA Director General’s proposal to hold a trilateral (IAEA-Russia-Ukraine) meeting in the Chernobyl zone to develop a mechanism for ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin commented that he feels it could be a good idea, provided that it be considered whether the meeting should be held via videoconference or in a third country.
The parties also discussed evacuation of the civilian population from the areas of hostilities. Vladimir Putin pointed out that Kiev continues to refuse to act on agreements reached on such an acute humanitarian issue. In particular, despite the “ceasefire regime” announced by the Russian side on March 5 in order to allow civilians and foreign nationals to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha, Ukrainian nationalists have prevented any and all evacuation from these cities and again used the pause in hostilities to replenish their forces and weapons. The President of France was again asked to be more active in persuading the Kiev authorities to comply with the norms of international humanitarian law.
Vladimir Putin also informed the French President about progress in talks between the Russian delegation and Ukrainian representatives. He expressed readiness to continue the dialogue with the understanding that Russia’s unconditional and now widely-distributed demands be fulfilled. It is vital that the Ukrainian side remain serious about agreements crucial to achieving cessation of hostilities.
The parties agreed to maintain further contacts at various levels.