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France: Putin Has ‘Reconsidered’ His Demand for IAEA Inspectors

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FILE - A Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine, May 1, 2022.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Puttin has “reconsidered” his original demand that International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors travel through Russia to the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear site in Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear facility.

There is growing concern in Europe that the shelling around Zaporizhzhia could result in a catastrophe worse than the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi “welcomed recent statements indicating that both Ukraine and Russia supported the IAEA's aim to send a mission" to the plant.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address Friday, “Ukrainian diplomats, our partners, representatives of the U.N. and the IAEA are working out the specific details of the mission to be sent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. ... I am grateful to everyone who joined this work and initiative.”

Zelenskyy also cautioned in his address, “If Russian blackmail with radiation continues, this summer may go down in the history of various European countries as one of the most tragic of all time. Because not a single instruction at any nuclear power plant in the world envisages a procedure in case a terrorist state turns a nuclear power plant into a target.

Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has announced that it is shutting down its gas pipeline to Germany at the end of the month for three days to make repairs.

Germany is greatly dependent on Russian energy and there is apprehension that Russia is playing an energy retaliation game with Germany and other European countries that have placed sanctions on Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia has denied the accusation.

Reuters reports that Russia’s pipeline to Germany was running at a fifth of its capacity before Moscow made the announcement about the shutdown, “stoking fears that Russia could halt flows completely heading into the winter heating season and make it more difficult to fill up storage facilities.”

Some information for this report came from Reuters.

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