Deal in works to remove military equipment from Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya NPP, says Macron

13 December 2022, 07:38 PM
According to Macron, negotiations on the terms of withdrawal of heavy equipment from ZNPP continue (Photo:Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo/Reuters)

According to Macron, negotiations on the terms of withdrawal of heavy equipment from ZNPP continue (Photo:Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo/Reuters)

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the coming weeks will be decisive if a deal is to be truck to remove Russian military equipment from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which Russian troops have occupied since March.

Reuters reported on Dec. 13 that Macron announced agreements with the Russian Federation were being hammered out. Macron was speaking during the international conference Standing with the Ukrainian People, which was held on Dec. 13 in Paris

According to the French leader, negotiations are ongoing regarding the conditions for the removal of the Russian heavy weapons.

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“We managed to protect Chornobyl and our goal is to protect Zaporizhzhya. The coming weeks will be crucial,” Macron said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal also reported on the Telegram messenger there were negotiations ongoing regarding the withdrawal of Russian weapons from the Zaporizhzhya NPP.

“Demilitarization of the Zaporizhzhya NPP is #1 in President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace plan. This issue was discussed with the head of the IAEA during the meeting in Paris,” Shmyhal wrote on Twitter on Dec. 13 after his meeting with Raphael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA.

According to Grossi, the IAEA will send permanent technical missions to all nuclear plants in Ukraine.

“The organization’s independent experts will work at the Zaporizhzhya, Rivne, Khmelnytskyy, Pivdennoukrainka, and Chornobyl NPPs, which will significantly increase technical and technological safety,” Shmyhal said.

The mission is aimed at securing the stations against attempts of external influence, in particular shelling by the Russian aggressor, and recording instances of this, Shmyhal added.

“The steps necessary for the demilitarization of the Zaporizhzhya NPP were discussed. I emphasized that Russia’s illegal actions regarding the Ukrainian plant must be stopped as soon as possible,” Shmyhal said after his talks with Grossi.

Meanwhile, commenting on the occupation of the ZNPP, the spokesman of the Russian dictator Dmitry Peskov again said that there were “no heavy weapons” at the Ukrainian plant. He claimed this could be confirmed by IAEA employees.

Peskov added that the Russian Federation allegedly highly values the level of cooperation with the IAEA regarding the power plant and will continue contacts with the agency because “Moscow is interested in this.”

Previously, the Russian mass media reported that the invasion forces were ready to leave the Zaporizhzhya NPP, but they are not going to leave Zaporizhzhya Oblast entirely. Apparently, Moscow plans to transfer the Zaporizhzhya NPP to the control of Ukraine or the IAEA.

Grossi said on Dec. 2 that he hopes to reach an agreement with Ukraine and Russia on the creation of a safe zone around the Zaporizhzhya NPP by the end of the year.

Russian troops have set up firing positions at the ZNPP and are shelling Ukrainian cities from there. Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear operator, reported that the Russian military placed at least 14 units of heavy military equipment with ammunition, weapons and explosives in the engine room of the first power unit of the Zaporizhzhia NPP. In total, more than 40 units of Russian military equipment and more than 500 personnel were stationed on the territory of the station.

As a result of the visit to the ZNPP, the IAEA called for an end to shelling in the area of the plant and the establishment of a security zone around it, and negotiations on this are currently ongoing.

The agency has also established a permanent presence at the ZNPP.

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