‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country was worried of “another Chernobyl”, amid ongoing fighting at the Zaporizhzhia power plant in Ukraine during a trilateral meeting on Thursday with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UN chief Antonio Guterres.

Zelenskyy has urged the United Nations to “ensure” the security of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant which is currently under Russian control.

Turkey has a lot at “stake” amid its mediating efforts between Russia and Ukraine, and fears it will be forced to choose a side if the war continues.

“If the war lingers on, it will eventually face a hard situation of making painful choices in between Kyiv and Moscow,” Sardar said.

“And that is definitely something that Turkey doesn’t want – because in such a case, it feels that it will be dragged into conflict with Russia, particularly in the areas that there is a delicate balance between Turkey and Russia – such as Syria, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean bases, Nagorno Karabakh and the Black Sea.”

Zelenskyy told a news conference after the talks in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv that Russia should immediately withdraw its forces and stop shelling from the nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s nuclear plant must be demilitarised: UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Thursday for the demilitarisation of the vast nuclear power plant held by Russia in southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, and said he was gravely concerned by the situation in and around it.

Guterres, speaking to reporters after talks in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, said that military equipment and personnel should be withdrawn from the plant and called for efforts to ensure it is not the target of military operations.

“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, agreement is urgently needed to reestablish Zaporizhzhia’s purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area,” he said.

Erdogan wars of another ‘Chernobyl’

Turkey’s President Erdogan on Thursday threw his country’s support behind Ukraine and warned of the danger of “another Chernobyl” disaster erupting at a nuclear power plant held by invading Russian forces.

“While continuing our efforts to find a solution [to the conflict], we remain on the side of our Ukraine friends,” Erdogan said after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, adding, “We are worried. We don’t want another Chernobyl.”

Turkey and Ukraine have signed a document agreeing to help rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges.

The document was signed by Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov and Minister of Trade of the Republic of Turkey Mehmet Mus.

The bridge connecting Bucha and Irpin destroyed at the beginning of the Russian invasion is considered to be the first major piece of infrastructure earmarked to be restored as part of the agreement.