Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

KYIV, Ukraine — The catastrophic collapse of a dam in southern Ukraine has made Kyiv fearful that Russia may stage an assault on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to foment panic and quell Ukrainian advances on the frontline, Ukraine’s vitality minister stated Monday.

Herman Halushchenko stated the destruction of the dam whereas underneath Russian management within the Kherson area proved “there aren’t any purple traces” for Moscow. He stated it warrants the extent of alarm Ukraine’s management has been elevating in current weeks of an alleged Russian ploy to assault the nuclear plant in a doable false flag operation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy alleged final week, citing intelligence reviews, that Russian troops positioned “objects resembling explosives” atop a number of energy models to “simulate” an assault. Drone and satellite tv for pc photographs obtained by the Related Press confirmed unidentified white objects on the roof of the plant’s fourth energy unit, however Ukrainian leaders have to this point been unable to offer additional proof.

Whereas Russia accuses Ukraine of bombarding the Kakhovka dam, Kyiv blames Moscow for the assault on the dam in late Could, which triggered a humanitarian disaster and prompted widespread ecological devastation. An AP investigation discovered that Moscow had the means and motive to hold out the assault.

Halushchenko stated he and Zelenskyy had raised alarms as early as October 2022 that the Russians may plant mines to explode the Kakhovka dam.

“For a lot of many individuals it sounded ridiculous … and when it occurred all people understood that there aren’t any purple traces for them,” he stated in a sit-down interview with The Related Press. “And naturally it’s all related to the counter-offensive operation, and after Kakhovka, the one software which they nonetheless have is Zaporizhzhia.”

The nuclear plant was seized by Russia in March 2022, within the first weeks of the conflict in Ukraine, elevating fears of a nuclear accident. Over the previous 12 months, Russia and Ukraine repeatedly accused one another of shelling the plant.

Ukraine’s navy intelligence has claimed for weeks, with out offering proof, that Russia is planning a “large-scale provocation” on the nuclear energy plant, Europe’s largest, within the southeast of the nation.

Across the identical time, Ukraine launched the early part of its a lot anticipated counter-offensive final month and has reported regular advances alongside a number of instructions of the 1,500 kilometer (930-mile) frontline. An incident on the plant may halt Ukraine’s advance, Zelenskyy has stated.

Ukrainian navy intelligence reviews have stated that Russia positioned mines on the roof of the nuclear plant, and put remote-controlled and common anti-personnel mines in technical and machine rooms.

Picture specialists the AP spoke to couldn’t establish the objects which were seen on the roof.

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor on the Middlebury Institute and satellite tv for pc picture professional, stated the objects seemed to be positioned on the roof of the unit’s turbine corridor, and, if it seems to be a bomb, is unlikely to trigger severe harm to the reactor.

The Russians have cited safety considerations in granting solely restricted entry to officers from the Worldwide Atomic Atomic Vitality Company. The company’s Director Basic Rafael Mariano Grossi stated just lately that the IAEA had just lately gained entry to extra of the positioning, together with the cooling pond and gas storage areas.

The Ukrainians had stated these areas had been mined by the Russians, however the IAEA discovered they weren’t, Grossi stated. The company has not but been given entry to examine the roof of the plant.

Haluschenko famous that the IAEA representatives weren’t capable of entry all the website. “So the Russians allowed them to see solely what they determined they may see, and that’s the drawback,” he stated.

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