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How Putin is using the new Chernobyl threat to punish Ukraine

After weeks of global calls for Russia to allow international inspectors to enter the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the world has come to know that French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian Vladimir We welcomed the news that President Putin has agreed to inspect and demilitarize nuclear power plants.

However, the ambiguous details and circumstances of the agreement should suspend observers. While the deal appears to be a positive step off the nuclear cliff, Putin may be using International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections to twist the narrative about Russia's nuclear brink game.

There are real doubts as to whether the authorities will be able to carry out the kind of surveillance necessary for stability in this situation. One reason is that it attracts investigators from countries involved in its activities. Russian investigative team. Former employees of Russia's National Atomic Energy Agency, includingMikhail Chudakov, the IAEA's top nuclear officer, are flooded.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Zaporizhia nuclear power captured by Russian forces early in the invasion of Ukraine The power plant — Europe's largest nuclear facility — has been used as a nuclear shield for Russia to stockpile weapons and fire on Ukrainian forces. At the same time, Russia is working to integrate the plant into its energy grid, threatening Ukraine's power supply as it prepares for a harsh winter.

IAEA inspection teams should not include observers who previously worked for Rosatom or Energoatom, Ukraine, if any agreement on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant would affect it. Inspections must be conducted by experienced third-country officials to ensure a fairer evaluation of nuclear power plants, and officials must know not only what Russia wants them to see, but also nuclear power. Should have full access to the power plant.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks as Russian officials threatened to use catastrophe to turn Ukraine into a "scorching desert" . Planned a "false flag" provocation to hold Russia accountable for the nuclear accident. Ukrainian officials claimed that Russia had mined the factory and turned it into something like a nuclear suicide bomb.

It remains unclear whether Putin really consented to his IAEA inspection of the power plant, but the Kremlin statement paraphrased the conversation, saying that Putin "I pointed out the importance of sending the IAEA report," he said. Russia said it was "ready to assist" the inspectors. According to the French president's press service, Putin agreed to the inspection team, and discussions were pending.

Still, Russia is unlikely to seriously attempt to reduce the risk of a nuclear disaster. The war in Ukraine has shown Moscow's disregard for civilians and even its own soldiers. The first Russian invasion recklessly sent an unprepared army into Chernobyl, tearing apart the radioactive earth and sickening many of them. Negotiations with Moscow have also run into difficulties. In July, Russia and Ukraine agreed with the United Nations and Turkey to allow the safe transportation of much-needed Ukrainian grains through the Black Sea, but the next day Russian forces seized the port of Odessa. 35} Bombed .

Putin's promises carry little weight on their own. In one of his last phone calls between Macron and Putin in February, the Russian leader assured his French counterpart that Russia had no plans to invade Ukraine. Four days later, Putin's forces crossed the Ukrainian border.

Russian trenches and firing positions are set up in the highly radioactive Red Forest near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Putin may allow international surveillance in Zaporizhia is still clear before breaching the contract, as happened before.

Still, if Macron and Guterres do indeed succeed in brokering an agreement to increase the stability of nuclear power plants,it will be his turn in the war following last month's grain deal. It marks the second major diplomatic victory. But they need to make sure it's a deal meant to truly stabilize the situation in Zaporizhia, not just give Russia good press.

But the power plant A deal to demilitarize the Ukrainian energy grid does not end the Russian threat to Ukraine's energy grid. Even if Russia and Kyiv agree to a demilitarization agreement, Russian forces could still occupy the territory around the plant and continue their plans to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian power grid.

Analysts say , warned that such a move would not only jeopardize Ukraine's power supply, but coulddestabilize the power plants themselves. Cutting power to power plants could lead to the exact nuclear disaster that international negotiations are trying to prevent.

Vladimir Putin smiles during the opening ceremony of the International Military Technical Forum on August 15 in Moscow.
Contributor/Getty Images

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moscow was in a state of disaster. Unleash the parade —fueling global food crisis,fear of nuclear devastationkilling over 10,000 Ukrainian civilians,hundreds of thousands From thekidnapping ofUkrainian childrenraised as Russians.

The best way to ensure stability in Zaporizhia is for Russian forces to withdraw from the factory. The best way to ensure stability in Ukraine is to make sure Ukrainians have the weapons to keep them out.