For several weeks, the Ukrainian authorities have accused Moscow of a possible explosion at the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), occupied by Russian forces since March 4, 2022 in southern Ukraine.
This Wednesday, July 5, the Kremlin incriminated kyiv. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged that “The situation is very tense” because “the risk of a subversive act by the kyiv regime appears very high” And “may have catastrophic consequences”.
Moscow says kyiv is preparing an attack on the factory
On the Rossiya 24 television channel, one of the advisers of Rosenergoatom (Russian producer of nuclear electricity), Renat Karchaa, declared on Tuesday July 4 that kyiv would “attempted attack on the night of July 5” using long-range precision weapons and kamikaze drones. He had accused the Ukrainian forces of wanting to cut the Dnieper power line which supplies electricity to the plant.
In the midst of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the army staff, which is increasing the attacks around the factory, affirms that “a possible provocation” Russian forces on the power plant could take place in ” near future “.
They evoke objects “resembling explosive devices” placed on “the outer roofs of the third and fourth reactors” to attribute the damage to Ukraine. For his part, President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on Tuesday evening that he had spoken with his French counterpart to warn “Emmanuel Macron that the occupation troops were preparing dangerous provocations at the ZNPP”.
A few days before the NATO summit, which will be held in Vilnius on July 11 and 12, and where Ukraine’s candidacy and its security guarantees will be discussed, several military observers and diplomats presume a media game between the two powers. Because the research group on conflicts, founded by former American soldiers, Institute for the study of war, confirms “the intensification of their rhetoric regarding the nuclear power plant” but this “Russia remains unlikely to generate a radiological incident at this time”.
A different risk from Chernobyl
For her part, the American researcher Cheryl Rofer on her blog Nuclear diner believes that the “The six reactors of Zaporizhia have nothing to do with Chernobyl” because they “Feature a hard oxide fuel, encased in metal and seated inside a stainless steel container. Chernobyl had no such construction”.
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At the end of June, the Director General of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), Rafael Mariano Grossi, was concerned about a “Unfortunate confluence of events” evoking the resurgence of military activities on the front line with the Ukrainian counter-offensive, and the destruction of the Kakhovka dam which weakens the situation of the plant. But he recalled not having spotted with his teams on the spot, “a military deployment inside the factory”.
In Russia, the attacks which are intensifying on the various regions – Belgorod, Kursk, Moscow – are provoking more reaction than the threat to Zaporijia. “Our society doesn’t really care. Here, the majority of people believe that Russia has no interest in seeing the worst happen. Many parliamentarians and military point the finger directly at Ukraine, which would need it to join NATO or press for even more support from the West. notes the Russian pacifist, Oleg Bodrov. The information site RBC.rureveals that Moscow allegedly sent a letter to the UN indicating “that she had no intention of blowing up the station” and asked him to “to influence kyiv, forcing it to refrain from any provocation against the ZNPP”.