Ukraine, Erdoğan and Zelensky

Erdoğan meets with Zelensky in Ukraine and warns against another Chernobyl

The attacks on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the largest in Europe, could trigger another Chernobyl-like disaster.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan warned of the danger of another Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster during his visit to Ukraine yesterday, where he met for the first time since the Russian invasion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The recent fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and currently controlled by Russian forces, has sparked alarm among many experts and world leaders, who have called for containment to prevent another disaster like the one that happened in Chernobyl in 1986.

We are worried. We don’t want another Chernobyl,” Erdoğan said yesterday during a press conference in Lviv after meeting with Zelensky and Guterres, in which he again insisted that Turkey is a firm ally of Ukraine. “While we continue our diplomatic efforts to find a solution, we remain at the side of our Ukrainian friends,” said the Turkish president, who reiterated Ankara’s support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

During the visit of Erdoğan, who less than two weeks ago also met with Putin in the Russian city of Sochi, both countries signed a memorandum of understanding for the reconstruction of Ukrainian infrastructure damaged by the war. President Zelensky for his part thanked his Turkish counterpart for the visit, which he described as a “message of strong support from a strong country.”

For his part, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres – who also met yesterday with Erdoğan and Zelensky in Lviv, western Ukraine – was also “deeply concerned” about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant and the high risk of that another disaster like Chernobyl be repeated, for which he insisted that the area must be demilitarized. “We must tell it as it is… Any potential harm that Zaporizhzhia may suffer, would be a suicide,” he warned.