Ukrainian military officials today accused Russian forces of placing explosive devices on the roof of the 3rd and 4th nuclear cores within the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in occupied Ukraine. They claimed these explosive devices would be set off by Russian forces to appear as if a Ukrainian artillery attack was happening on the plant. At the same time, Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosenergoatom has claimed that “On the night of July 5, Ukraine is going to attack the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant using precision weapons and kamikaze drones.” Previously Russian officials have said Ukraine would attempt a false flag attack on the plant so as to pull NATO forces into the war.
All this is going on while a new IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) statement says that Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) lost the connection to its main external power line early this morning, forcing it to rely on recently restored backup power supplies. “The ZNPP’s sole remaining 750 kilovolt (kV) power line – out of four available before the conflict – was disconnected at 01:21 am local time today. It was not immediately known what had prompted the power cut or how long it would last.”
AFP: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, expressed concerns about Russia’s intentions to carry out “dangerous provocations” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is currently under Moscow’s control. The plant, Europe’s largest, has been a subject of ongoing safety concerns amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been ongoing for over a year now. Zelensky stressed the need to maintain maximum control over the situation and involve the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in addressing the potential risks. “I warned Emmanuel Macron that the occupation troops are preparing dangerous provocations at the Zaporizhzhia plant,” Zelensky said told Macron and added, “We agreed to keep the situation under maximum control together with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).”
Over the weekend, Zelenskyy told media personnel in Kyiv, “There is a serious threat. Russia is technically ready to provoke a local explosion at the plant, which could lead to the release of dangerous substances into the air.”
“We are discussing all this with our partners so that everyone understands why Russia is doing this and put pressure on the Russian Federation politically so that they don’t even think about such a thing,” he added.
Earlier, Kyiv’s military warned of the “possible preparation of a provocation on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia power plant in the near future”. It claimed that “external objects similar to explosive devices were placed on the outer roof of the third and fourth reactors” at the site. “Their detonation should not damage power units, but may create a picture of shelling from the Ukrainian side,” it said, alleging that Moscow would “misinform on this”. In Moscow, an advisor to Russia’s Rosatom nuclear agency, Renat Karchaa, accused Kyiv of planning an attack on the plant.”
Ukraine’s Ministry of Health has also released information on what to do in case of a plant explosion:
— Faytuks News ? (@Faytuks) July 4, 2023
Western-based think-tank Institute Study of War in a recent report wrote that:
“The prevailing winds in Zaporizhia Oblast are most often from the north from June 9 to September 3, although forecasted wind directions in the area following the reported July 5 evacuation deadline include days of predominantly easterly winds.
A radiation plume from the ZNPP would most certainly affect the Russian forces in Zaporizhia and Kherson oblasts and possibly in Crimea and would likely impact the Russian forces to a greater degree than the Ukrainian forces given the usual direction of the wind in the area. Russian forces could conduct a man-made “accident” that creates a smaller radiological radius immediately focused on preventing Ukrainian advances near the ZNPP itself.
None of these options provide more military benefit for Russian forces than the likely consequences they would create. Ukraine, for its part, would derive no benefits from causing a radiological incident at the ZNPP remotely consonant with the enormous price it would pay in irradiating lands and peoples it seeks to liberate and hindering its own ability to advance in the area, making Russian informational efforts to set conditions for blaming Ukraine for such an incident entirely implausible even if it could do so without physically occupying the plant.” – ISW