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Russia Claims Ukraine Plans Incident at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant

Economy Aug 18, 2022 05:41AM ET
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© Reuters

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com -- Russia warned Europe on Thursday of a possibly catastrophic nuclear incident due to fighting around the Zaporizhzhya power plant in Ukraine. 

A statement by the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine's armed forces are planning to stage what it termed a 'provocation' during the planned visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Ukraine, saying that Kyiv planned to put the blame for the incident on Russia. It said two Ukrainian units are preparing what's known as a 'false flag' operation, saying that "the Russian Armed Forces will be blamed for their consequences."

Russia has often used the term 'provocation' in the past to justify acts of aggression on its part, notably with its invasion of Georgia in 2008 and its invasion of Finland in 1939. It has also regularly made claims of 'false flag' operations to deflect blame for incidents such as the shooting down of Malaysian airliner MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. and the use of white phosphorus attacks on Aleppo by its airforce in Syria.

Russian forces captured the so-called ZPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, in the first weeks of its war in Ukraine, but while there was heavy fighting in the plant's vicinity, there was no leak of nuclear material, according to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

Since then, both sides have accused each other of risking a nuclear accident with continued military action around the plant. 

Ukraine claims that Russian forces have set up firing points close to it, calculating that Kyiv would not risk targeting its units there. Russia claims that it has no heavy weapons either on the territory of the plant or in the surrounding area.

"Only security units are stationed there," the Defense Ministry said in its statement. 

Any release of radioactive isotopes could be catastrophic for the surrounding areas," analysts Antony Froggatt and Patricia Lewis wrote last week for the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. However, they noted that "because of the type of reactors at Zaporizhzhya, the impact would likely be nowhere near as severe as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and more likely be similar in scale to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis."

ZPP's reactors are built to the VVER design, a more modern and safer design than the RBMK reactors at Chernobyl, whose explosion in 1986 sent radioactive material far across northern Europe.

Guterres had last week called for a demilitarization of the area around the plant and a full withdrawal of Russian forces to allow inspection by the IAEA. He is due to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv in western Ukraine on Thursday, before visiting the port of Odesa on Friday. Odesa is the largest Black Sea port still controlled by Ukraine, and the gateway to world markets for its agricultural exports, which are currently being guaranteed by a UN-brokered deal between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia Claims Ukraine Plans Incident at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant
 

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Comments (3)
Travel Album
Travel Album Aug 19, 2022 2:37PM ET
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Ukraine trying all tactics to create incidents to blame Russia. Its funny Ukraine complaining that Russian forces are ***its soldiers etc. while expecting the world to follow Ukraine!
Sylvia Doloff
Sylvia Doloff Aug 18, 2022 7:10AM ET
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would this end the war if t u e nuclear materials leaked put all over the Russians faces
gab nea
gab nea Aug 18, 2022 6:40AM ET
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trump lies just like putin! when putin says ukraine plans provocation, he means russia plans an attack . we are getting used to their projectionism.
 
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