French president calls for Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant during phone call with Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his demand for a ceasefire in Ukraine and Russian withdrawal from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Elysee Palace said Sunday.

Macron “condemned the continuation of Russian military operations in Ukraine and reiterated his demand that they cease as soon as possible, that negotiations begin and that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine be restored,” his office said in a statement.

The French President “also stressed the need to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. He recalled that the Russian occupation was the cause of the current risks to the integrity of Zaporizhzhia. He called for Russian forces to withdraw their heavy and light weapons from the plant and that the IAEA’s recommendations be closely followed to ensure the safety of the site be restored,” the Elysee said.

Some more context: Zaporizhzhia is the site of the largest nuclear plant in Europe, and the facility sits on the fire line between the Russian occupiers and Ukrainian forces.

The Elysee added that Macron “will speak again to President Putin in the next few days in order to reach an agreement that guarantees the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”

On the issue of global food security, Macron told Putin that European sanctions against Russia do not apply to agricultural products. He also asked the Russian leader to ensure that the Ukraine grain export agreement between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, under the supervision of the United Nations “to ensure that the exported grain goes to those who need it most.”

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