Intelligence chiefs in Kyiv have issued an alert over what they claim are Russian plans to fake an accident at the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, in a bid to halt the Ukrainian counteroffensive aimed at retaking the territory.
An emergency leak of radioactive material will be announced in the coming hours, the Defense Ministry said in an online statement late Friday, warning that Ukraine will be “traditionally blamed for the incident”.
“Occupiers are preparing large-scale provocations to create a center of radiological danger,” the message read.
“The rioters,” he warned, would fake an accident at Zaporizhia, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and has been under Russian control for more than a year.
“For this, a strike will be carried out directly on the territory of the ZNPP,” the ministry wrote.
“In order to hide their actions as much as possible, the Russians disrupted the rotation of the personnel of the permanent monitoring mission of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] scheduled for today.
“The purpose of this action is to provoke the international community to carry out a detailed investigation during which all hostilities will be stopped.
“In this way, the Rashists hope to achieve the desired break, which will be used to regroup the occupying contingent and stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive.”
Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun warned: “This dangerous operation is disguised as a false flag attack by #Ukraine, aimed at unleashing devastating radiation.
Calling on IAEA chief Rafael Grossi to intervene, she said: “We cannot allow this to happen! Together we must prevent this catastrophic nuclear provocation and protect the region of #Zaporizhzhia from further devastation.
” Hurry up. Let us act quickly and decisively to ensure peace and security.
The ministry later added, “The Russians will take advantage of this much-desired break for the regrouping of occupation personnel and to halt the Ukrainian counter-offensive.”
The nuclear plant has been at the center of some of the biggest fears since Russian forces took control of it.
The area has been repeatedly hit by shelling and the factory has had to rely on backup generators after losing external power since the start of the war. Both parties blamed the other for causing the blackouts.
Last week, witnesses said Russian military forces reinforced defensive positions in and around the plant ahead of the counteroffensive.