Erdogan tells Putin Turkey can mediate in Ukraine nuclear plant standoff
Turkey can mediate in a standoff over Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station which is occupied by Moscow’s troops, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
“President Erdogan stated that Turkey can play a facilitator role in the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, as they did in the grain deal,” the Turkish presidency said, referring to a grain export agreement signed in July by Kyiv and Moscow with the United Nations and Turkey as guarantors.
Last month, Erdogan warned of the danger of a nuclear disaster when he visited Lviv for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We are worried. We do not want another Chernobyl,” the Turkish leader had said.
There has been growing alarm over Europe’s largest nuclear plant, Zaporizhzhia, which is under Russian control.
Ukraine on Friday said it bombed a Russian base in the nearby town of Energodar, destroying three artillery systems as well as an ammunition depot.
A 14-strong team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited Zaporizhzhia, with the UN nuclear watchdog’s chief, Rafael Grossi, saying that the site had been damaged in fighting.
Turkey, which has friendly ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, has supplied Ukraine with drones and refused to join Western sanctions against Russia.
Before meeting with Zelensky, Erdogan met with Putin in Sochi where the two countries pledged to boost their economic cooperation.
During their phone call on Saturday, Erdogan and Putin agreed to talk further in Samarkand on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit on September 15-16, the presidency said.