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Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), discussed the security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which is currently under Russian control, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The conversation unfolded in Sochi, southern Russia, following Grossi’s dialogues with key energy figures. While the Kremlin publicized Putin’s and Grossi’s initial remarks, the specifics of their subsequent private conversation remained undisclosed. Putin expressed his readiness to address “particularly sensitive and important issues on the agenda … and do everything to ensure security anywhere we are in one or another involved in nuclear energy.”

The backdrop to these talks is the ongoing occupation of Europe’s largest nuclear facility by Russian forces since their 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia, situated near the front lines of the conflict in a region claimed by Moscow, is critical due to its requirement for continuous power and water to prevent a nuclear disaster. All six reactors at the site are currently inactive, yet essential for maintaining safety to avert a meltdown. Amidst accusations of shelling by both Russian and Ukrainian forces, the IAEA has been striving to establish a safety protocol for the plant, which suffered damage in a fire during its takeover.

Grossi’s time in Russia also included a meeting with Alexei Likhachev, the head of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear power company, where the emphasis was on the plant’s safety. Despite reports from RIA indicating that Grossi found the talks “tense,” an IAEA spokesperson refuted these claims.


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