Russia, Ukraine accuse each other of planning nuclear plant attack
Moscow/Lviv, Aug 19 (EFE).- The fate of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remained high on the international agenda Friday with Russia refusing to pull its military from the site as Moscow and Kyiv accused each other of planning an attack on the complex.
Ukraine’s intelligence service claimed it had confirmation that Russia was planning a “terrorist attack” at the plant, in the hands of Russian invaders since the early stages of the war, on Friday, UNIAN reported.
Russia’s defense ministry has leveled almost identical accusations at Kyiv, saying Ukraine was planning a “provocation” during a visit to the nation by United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres.
The Russians claim that Ukraine wants to blame the attack on Moscow.
The Institute for the Study of War, a United States think-tank, said the Russian defense ministry “appears to be setting information conditions to blame Ukrainian forces for future false flag operations at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).”
Footage widely circulated on social media appeared to show a number of Russian military vehicles inside the nuclear plant, specifically in one of the turbine rooms connected to the reactor.
Moscow says the vehicles belonged to the National Guard and were in place to protect the installations, located in southern Ukraine.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, accused Ukraine of wanting to provoke a “second Chernobyl” disaster, in reference to the 1986 Soviet nuclear disaster near the city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine.
“The presence of our military at the plant, where there are no heavy weapons, is a guarantee that this won’t happen,” he told local TV.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who on Thursday met with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Guterres, expressed his concern about the confrontations around the Zaporizhzhia plant.
He said he would request that Russian president Vladimir Putin do everything to avoid such an outcome.
Speaking from Odesa Friday, Guterres said: “If it is demilitarized as we propose, the plant, the problem will be solved. And obviously, the electricity from Zaporizhzhia is Ukrainian electricity, and it’s necessary, especially during the winter for the Ukrainian people, and this principle must be fully respected.” EFE