Macron, Putin divided over ensuring safety of Ukraine nuclear plant

The leaders of France and Russia have failed to narrow their differences over ensuring safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Sunday.

France's presidential office says Macron told Putin that the occupation by Russian troops is the reason the plant is at risk.

The office also said Macron demanded that Russian troops withdraw their heavy and light weapons from the plant and comply with recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Russia's presidential office says Putin told Macron that "Ukraine's attacks on the plant's facilities" including radioactive waste storage, could cause catastrophic consequences.

The Kremlin says both sides expressed their readiness to accept "non-politicized" interactions with the participation of IAEA.

The French presidential office says Macron will keep in contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well as IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and speak again with Putin on the matter in the coming days.