PUTIN is feared to be planning to blow up Europe’s largest nuclear power plant as Russian troops are evacuated from the facility.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that a “serious threat” remained in place at the Zaporizhizhia plant on Saturday….CONTINUE READING
The chief of Ukraine’s military intelligence service warned that Russia was “technically ready” to provoke a localised explosion at the nuke plant which could then lead to a radiation release.
Zelensky called for greater international attention to the situation at the facility in southeastern Ukraine, which is Europe’s largest nuclear plant.
The facility has been occupied by Russia since early March last year, shortly after Moscow’s invasion.
A Times report stated that Kyrylo Budanov, a director within the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (GUR), had previously alleged that the Kremlin had planted explosives at four of the plant’s six power units and cooling systems.
These claims were then backed by Zelensky last week, as he said that Russia were planning a “terrorist attack” on the nuclear facility.
The GUR have reportedly said that any Ukrainian staff working at the Zaporizhizhia nuclear power plant, managed by Rosatom, were urged to leave by Wednesday amid the rising fear of sabotage.
They also claimed that the Russians had ordered military personnel to launch a “gradual withdrawal” from the plant and commanded anyone who stayed on the grounds to “blame Ukraine in case of any emergencies”.
The nuclear facility has been regularly used by Russian forces as a makeshift military base to house weapons and fire attacks on Ukraine – who first claimed that Russians had planted mines at the facility on June 20.
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Ukraine held practice drills at around the power plant site earlier this week to prepare for a potential leak.
Instructions on the gathering points, the issuing of iodine tablets and evacuation routes for local civilians were plastered across social media channels and in Zaporizhizhia – which is just 30 miles away from the plant – specialist teams practiced decontamination procedures, according to The Times.
But after an inspection of the plant ten days ago by the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Marino Grossi, no evidence was found that suggested the facility had recently been littered with explosives.
However, it did mention that presence of mines around the site and at key access points.
“Our assessment of those particular placements was that while the presence of any explosive device is not in line with safety standards, the main safety functions of the facility would not be significantly affected. We are following the issue with great attention,” Grossi said.
It has also been reported by iNews that the six reactors in the plant are currently all in shutdown mode as although the situation has been deemed “serious”, the level of cooling water has remained sufficient.
But for Ukrainians living close to the power plant, they have the reassurance that as the wind in the area is blowing south-easterly, any potential radiation leak from a nuclear sabotage would drift directly over the Russian troop positions and into the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Alla Krystal, the head of civil defence at the village council in Bilenke, situation near the nuclear plant said that most people in the area were not overly worried and were fully informed of where the evacuation points are.
“The wind will contaminate the Russians with radiation way more than it would contaminate us. And they wouldn’t be so stupid. Would they?, she asked”
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Russia has previously denied Kyiv’s accusations that Russia was preparing an explosion at the plant – while Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of shelling the vast facility.
Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, when clouds of radioactive material spread across much of Europe after an explosion and fire at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.