France’s Macron to call on Putin over Ukraine strikes, nuclear plant safety

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French President Emmanuel Macron said he will call on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to stop bombing civilians in Ukraine and to finalise a safety plan for Europe's largest nuclear reactor.

“The most urgent issue today is to continue to call for a truce on the bombings and drone attacks,” Macron said at a press conference after a summit in Brussels on Thursday.

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“I intend to discuss this issue with Putin, because clearly these attacks ... some of them are war crimes, they (target) civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves.”

The French president said he hoped “some powers, China, India and others” will join the pressure campaign on Russia.

Earlier in the week, Hun Sen, Cambodian prime minister and current chair of regional bloc ASEAN, joined Macron in urging the immediate halt of air and drone strikes against civilian populations and infrastructure.

Macron is also involved in negotiations led by the UN’s nuclear watchdog to secure the safety of five nuclear power plants in Ukraine, including the continent's largest, in Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia.

According to Macron, the aim is to remove weapons and armed forces from the nuclear facilities.

Kyiv has accused Moscow of turning the nuclear plants into targets in strikes that have raised profound worldwide alarm, while Putin has also ratcheted up veiled threats of potential nuclear attacks.

“When the moment is right, I will call on President Putin to try to help finalize these agreements,” he added.

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