Kyiv, Jun 30 (EFE).- Russian forces have laid explosives at the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia in eastern Ukraine and are preparing “a terrorist act” that would cause a radiation leak and force the fighting to stop, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday during an interview with several Spanish media, including Efe.
Zelenskyy said a break in the fighting would allow Moscow to resupply its army and improve its chances of achieving its military objectives in Ukraine.
“The power plant is mined. It is a fact,” Zelenskyy said, citing information from his intelligence services.
“We have learned from our intelligence of (Russia’s) plans to cause a leak,” the Ukrainian president added, referring to the possibility of Russian sabotage that Ukraine has been warning about for several days.
Zelenskyy pointed out that his administration had issued repeated warnings since October that Russian forces had mined the New Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and dam in southern Ukraine.
The infrastructure was destroyed in what most experts agree was an explosion on June 6, causing the dam to break and leading to a humanitarian and natural disaster in the area because of the resulting floods.
Ukraine has accused Russia of deliberately blowing up the dam to hinder its counteroffensive.
Zelenskyy called on the community to heed his warnings about Zaporizhzhia to prevent a similar situation from unfolding.
He also denounced Russia for keeping thousands of armed soldiers at the nuclear power plant, claiming that they were blackmailing Ukrainian employees who remain at the plant with threats about the fate of their relatives.
Aside from military matters, Zelenskyy claimed that he had been invited by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez to attend a summit between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in July in Brussels, but that Latin American countries had blocked the invitation.
Thanking Sanchez for his continued support and for trying to help Ukraine foster closer ties with Latin America, Zelenskyy said “he invited me, but some Latin American leaders blocked it.”
He said it is “very important” for his country to be heard in Latin America, where several countries have refused to follow Western nations in condemning Russia and unequivocally backing Ukraine.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry has made improving relations with countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia a priority, regions where Russia enjoys greater influence for historical, economic and political reasons.
The EU-CELAC summit will take place on July 17 and 18, as part of the Spanish rotating six-month presidency of the EU, which begins on Saturday. EFE