Erdogan offers Putin Turkey’s help as a mediator in the Zaporizhzhya NPP issue

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin

The two leaders also discussed developments regarding Ukrainian grain exports, the Turkish president’s office told Reuters.

Read also: Russia blocks key UN document on nuclear weapons over issue of control over Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya NPP

Reuters said Erdogan and Putin agreed to discuss the issue in detail when they meet in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for a summit on Sept. 15-16.

The initial IAEA delegation arrived at the ZNPP, located in the Russian-occupied town of Enerhodar in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Oblast, on Sept. 1. A group of specialists led by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi then spent several hours at the facility. According to the IAEA, a handful of the team’s members will remain at the station.

Read also: Lithuania proposes peacekeeping mission to Zaporizhzhia NPP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking after the IAEA’s visit to ZNPP, said that Russia had engaged in significant deception to try and fool the IAEA delegation.

After leading a mission of 14 IAEA specialists to the plant, Grossi said he saw the effects of shelling there, including, “impact holes and marks on buildings.” He confirmed that the facility’s structures have been violated several times, and made it clear that this was unacceptable.

The ZNPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and has been illegally occupied by Russian forces since March 4. The station’s Ukrainian employees are currently being held captive by invading Russian forces.

Russian troops are known to have set up firing positions at the ZNPP and have regularly shelled Ukrainian cities from them. Ukrainian state nuclear power company Energoatom has reported that the Russian military placed more than a dozen pieces of military equipment, including ammunition, weapons, and explosives in the turbine hall of the first reactor of the plant.

Read also: Energoatom head gives his verdict on IAEA mission to Zaporizhzhya NPP

The invaders brought additional armored personnel carriers and special trucks to the repair area of ​​the station on Aug. 22. In total, more than 40 units of Russian military equipment have been placed on the grounds of the facility.

Recently, Russian troops have attempted to utilize nuclear blackmail against Ukraine by repeatedly shelling the ZNPP themselves, Ukraine says.

Energoatom warned on Aug. 19 that Russia planned to disconnect the facility from Ukraine’s power grid, which would take the reactor cooling system offline and could lead to a potential nuclear catastrophe.

The warning almost came to fruition as the ZNPP was disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid on Aug. 25 before being reconnected a day later. Three out of four connecting power lines at the ZNPP had previously been damaged by Russian troops stationed at the power plant.

Currently, the ZNPP continues to generate electricity for Ukraine.

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