Russia says Ukraine plans ‘provocation’ at nuclear power plant;  Kyiv rejects the accusation

Russia says Ukraine plans ‘provocation’ at nuclear power plant; Kyiv rejects the accusation

  • Kyiv says the solution is simple, Russia should pull out of the plant
  • Russia denies using weapons in or around the plant
  • UN chief Guterres visits Ukraine

LONDON (Portal) – Russia on Thursday said there was a risk of a man-made disaster at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, accusing Kyiv and the West of planning a “provocation” there on Friday during a visit by the UN secretary to Ukraine to have General Antonio Guterres.

A Ukrainian official dismissed what he described as a cynical claim by Moscow, saying Russian forces should evacuate the facility they captured soon after invading Ukraine nearly six months ago, demining it and removing all ammunition stored there.

The Zaporizhia nuclear reactor complex (ZNPP), the largest in Europe, has come under repeated shelling, with both Moscow and Kyiv bearing the blame.

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Russia says Ukrainian forces are ruthlessly firing at the facility, but Ukraine says Russia is deliberately using the reactor complex as a base for attacks against its population.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said at a press conference that a proposal by Guterres to demilitarize the area around the facility was “unacceptable”. Continue reading

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters Moscow is taking measures to ensure security at the complex and denied using heavy weapons in and around the plant.

However, the ministry said a closure of the plant could be attempted if shelling continued. Continue reading

Yevgeny Balitsky, head of the Russian-installed administration in the Zaporizhia region, said earlier there was a risk that shelling could damage the reactor complex’s cooling system and was quoted as saying the plant was operating with just one unit.

It’s not clear how the plant will be shut down, but the ministry said two of the plant’s six units could be placed on “cold reserve”. The plant accounts for one-fifth of Ukraine’s annual electricity generation.

Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom said shutting down the plant would increase the risk of a “radiation disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant”. Disconnecting the complex’s generators from Ukraine’s power grid would prevent them from being used to cool nuclear fuel in the event of a power outage at the power plant, the messaging app Telegram said.

‘PROVOCATION’

The Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukraine and its so-called “US dealers” of trying to stage a “small accident” at the factory in southern Ukraine in order to blame Russia.

It said the “provocation” was timed to coincide with a visit to Ukraine by UN chief Guterres, who arrived in Lviv on Wednesday and was due to visit the Black Sea port of Odessa on Friday, and that it was a radiation leak could act.

Portal could not verify Russia’s claim.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, dismissed the Russian Defense Ministry’s comments, saying it was “cynically laughing”.

“There is a solution. You just have to remove the (ammunition) from the halls, demin the buildings, free the factory personnel from the cells, stop the shelling of (the southern city) Nikopol from the territory (of the factory) and leave the station,” he wrote on Twitter .

In a briefing, Igor Kirillov, head of the Russian Armed Forces for Radioactive, Chemical and Biological Defense, said the facility’s support systems were damaged by the shelling.

Kirillov presented a slide showing that in the event of an accident at the facility, radioactive material would cover Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

Guterres, who is due to meet Zelenskyy later on Thursday, has called for a cessation of all fighting near the plant.

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Portal reporting; Edited by Mark Heinrich, Bernadette Baum and Alex Richardson

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