06:55 GMT12 July 2020
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    Vladimir Putin denied reports that Russia had invested $3.5 billion in the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Russian President Vladimir Putin denied reports on Thursday that Russia had invested $3.5 billion in the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey.

    "Russia has not invested $3.5 billion in the Akkuyu nuclear power plant," Putin told reporters at an annual press conference.

    He added that continuation of Russia's involvement in the construction of the power plant should be decided on the corporate level.

    "The decision on the future of this project must be made on the corporate level. It is a purely commercial issue, and we shall not make a single step which would harm our economic interests. This is an issue of [Russian nuclear corporation] Rosatom and its partners. As far as I know, the corresponding decision for this project to work has not even been provided by the Turkish side," Putin said.

    Russia and Turkey signed an agreement to construct and operate Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site in the Turkish southern Mersin Province in May 2010. The NPP is expected to produce about 35 billion kilowatt-hours per year. The project's cost is estimated at about $20 billion.

    The continuation of the joint project was put into question after tensions mounted between Russia and Turkey, due to Turkish downing of Russian Su-24 frontline bomber over Syria on November 24. Ankara claimed that it had downed the aircraft because it had violated Turkish airspace. Both the Russian General Staff and the Syrian Air Defense Command have confirmed that the Russian jet never crossed into Turkish airspace.

    Soon after the incident, Russia introduced a set of economic measures against Ankara, prohibiting the import of some products and suspending several economic activities. Earlier in December, a source familiar with the Akkuyu project told RIA Novosti that a company set up to construct the nuclear plant continued its operations in Turkey.


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