Russia, Ukraine accuse each other of Zaporizhzhia plots

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant chimney stacks (ukraine)
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (Image: Shutterstock)

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of plotting attacks on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station located in south-eastern Ukraine.

According to Reuters, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he told French President Emmanuel Macron about Russia’s “dangerous provocations” at Zaporizhzhia.

Related article: Power restored to nuclear plant after emergency outage

Russian troops seized Zaporizhzhia, which is Europe’s largest nuclear facility in February 2022. Since then, both countries have regularly accused the other of shelling around the plant and risking a major nuclear mishap.

“Under cover of darkness overnight on 5th July, the Ukrainian military will try to attack the Zaporizhzhia station using long-range precision equipment and kamikaze attack drones,” Russian news agencies quoted Renat Karchaa, an adviser to the head of Rosenergoatom, which operates Russia’s nuclear network, as telling Russian television. He offered no evidence to support his accusations.

A statement issued by the Ukrainian armed forces quoted “operational data” as saying that explosive devices had been placed on the roof of the station’s third and fourth reactors, with an attack possible “in the near future”.

“If detonated, they would not damage the reactors but would create an image of shelling from the Ukrainian side,” the statement said.

The Ukrainian military also provided no evidence for their allegations.

None of the reactors at the plant are currently producing electricity. The IAEA—the UN’s nuclear watchdog—has been trying for more than a year to negotiate a deal to have the plant demilitarised and reduce the risk of a nuclear accident.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has reportedly visited the plant multiple times since the Russian takeover without successfully securing demilitarisation.

One of Zelenskiy’s advisers told Ukrainian television that Grossi had failed to uphold safety at the plant.

Related article: ‘Close call’ in shelling near Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor

“Any disaster at Zaporizhzhia could have been prevented if [Grossi had been] clear straight away,” he said.

“That is, instead of this clowning around that this man is doing. And when there is a disaster, he will say they had nothing to do with it and warned about the dangers.”

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