Macron pleads with Putin to save Europe from nuclear disaster in latest phone call

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Speaking by phone, the two leaders expressed readiness for a “non-politicised interaction” on the matter with the participation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to the statement published on the Kremlin’s website.

“The Russian side drew attention to regular Ukrainian attacks on the plant’s facilities, including radioactive waste storage, which is fraught with catastrophic consequences,” it said.

Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling the plant, risking a nuclear disaster. Operations at the plant were fully stopped on Sunday as a safety measure.

The two men also discussed global food security issues.

Putin told President Macron it was important for the European Union not to hinder supplies of Russian food and fertilisers to Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, according to the Kremlin.

Energoatom said the risk of further damage to the line “remains high”, which would force the plant to be “powered by diesel generators, the duration of which is limited by the technological resource and the amount of available diesel fuel.”

France on Sunday also said it would sign an agreement with Romania to help increase Ukrainian grain exports.

Ukraine’s grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because its Black Sea ports were closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages.

“Tomorrow, I will sign an accord with Romania that will allow Ukraine to get even more grains out … towards Europe and developing countries, notably in the Mediterranean (countries)which need it for food,” Transport Minister Clement Beaune told France Inter radio.

The International Monetary Fund is also looking for ways to provide emergency funding to countries facing war-induced food price shocks and will discuss measures at an executive board meeting on Monday.

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