Concerns Mount Over Threat to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

news 05-Jul-2023 Asia

Concerns over Attack on Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

The provocations are escalating: Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of planning attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Adviser to President Zelensky, Podoliak, criticized the IAEA, stating that efforts to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant have been unsuccessful.

Moscow and Kyiv are mutually accusing each other of an allegedly imminent attack on Europe's largest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. "We have received information from our intelligence agency that the Russian military has placed objects resembling explosives on the roofs of several reactor blocks at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his daily video address.

The explosive devices are reportedly attached to the roofs of the third and fourth reactor blocks but are not intended to damage the reactors themselves, according to the situation report from the Ukrainian General Staff. The military leadership in Kyiv emphasized that Ukraine would not violate international law. It is possible that an attack on the power plant is being simulated, with Ukraine being blamed as the mastermind.

Selensky called for international pressure on Russia to prevent this. In a phone call, he warned his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, about "dangerous provocations" by Russia at the nuclear power plant.

Provocations Growing More Intense

Meanwhile, Moscow claims that the Ukrainian armed forces themselves are planning an attack on the nuclear power plant, which is located near the front line. Renat Karchaa, an advisor to the head of the Russian nuclear energy authority Rosenergoatom, claimed on state television on Tuesday that the armed forces would attempt to attack the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant with rockets and drones during the night to Wednesday.

It was also alleged that a bomb loaded with nuclear waste would be dropped simultaneously. The senior Moscow official did not provide evidence for the accusation, just like the Ukrainian side.

While both warring parties repeatedly accuse each other of planned provocations around the power plant, the allegations have been steadily escalating in recent weeks.

Emergency Training

Recently, rescue workers in the regions around the Ukrainian cities of Kherson, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Dnipro have been training for a possible nuclear emergency. Russian troops have occupied the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine since March 2022.

The massive complex has come under fire multiple times during the fighting, raising international concerns about a nuclear disaster. For safety reasons, the nuclear power plant has been shut down. An observer mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is on-site.

Accusations against the IAEA

Zelensky's adviser, Mykhailo Podoliak, strongly criticized the head of the IAEA. Rafael Grossi's efforts to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant have shown no effect.

According to Podoliak, the IAEA made a U-turn in its attempt to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant. Grossi has been "playing around" instead of clearly stating the position of the IAEA from the beginning. "And if there is a disaster, he will say that they had nothing to do with it and that they had warned of all dangers."

Destruction of Kakhovka Dam

On June 6, an explosion destroyed the Kakhovka Dam, causing huge amounts of water to flow from the adjacent reservoir and flood hundreds of settlements. The Ukrainian side is convinced that Russia intentionally detonated the structure, which is crucial for the cooling water supply of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Many international experts also consider this to be likely, but Moscow denies it and accuses Kyiv of the act.

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