Jan 23 (Portal) – Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR) on Monday accused Ukraine of stockpiling Western-supplied weapons at nuclear power plants across the country, a claim a senior Ukrainian official dismissed as untrue.
The Russian spy agency provided no evidence and Portal was unable to verify the claims.
An SVR statement said US-supplied HIMARS missile launchers, air defense systems and artillery munitions were delivered to the Rivne nuclear power plant in north-western Ukraine.
“Ukrainian armed forces are stockpiling weapons and ammunition provided by the West on the territory of nuclear power plants,” it said, adding that in the last week of December a delivery of arms to the Rivne power plant took place.
Asked about the report Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the claims showed the importance of maintaining dialogue with the United Nations’ nuclear regulator, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
However, Peskov said there are currently no plans for a meeting between IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and President Vladimir Putin.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said his country has never used nuclear power plants (NPPs) to store weapons.
“Ukraine has never stored weapons on the territory of the nuclear power plant, as falsely claimed by the Russian foreign intelligence service. On the contrary, the Russian Federation has seized the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and keeps its military there,” he said on Twitter.
Podolyak said Ukraine remains “open to inspection bodies, including the IAEA,” and that “Russian lies are aimed at justifying their provocations.”
Ukraine’s many nuclear power plants have been the focus of attention since the beginning of the conflict. Russian troops seized the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant less than 48 hours after the troops marched in, and also captured the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe – early in the war.
Both Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of shelling Zaporizhia. Ukraine also says Russia is using the site as a de facto weapons depot.
The IAEA has expressed grave concern about attacks near the facility and warned of the risk of a nuclear disaster.
Reporting by Portal Editors Gareth Jones and David Goodman
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