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Kyiv Threat of Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant Provocation Escalating

June 23, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The increasingly strident talk about nuclear weapons in Ukraine comes as the threat of provocations around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is escalating. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed yesterday that Russian forces were preparing a “terrorist act” at the plant. Ukrainian “intelligence has received information that Russia is considering the scenario of a terrorist act at the Zaporozhye nuclear plant—a terrorist act with the release of radiation,” Zelenskyy said in a video address released on social media June 22, reported the Washington Post. “They have prepared everything for this.” Zelenskyy did not provide further details but said Ukraine will share “all the evidence” with Kyiv’s international partners—“all of them.” He also warned that “radiation knows no borders” and “who it hits” will depend on the “direction of the wind.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov immediately denounced Zelenskyy’s claim. “Zelenskyy’s words that Russia is allegedly preparing an act of terrorism at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant are another lie,” he said.

“The hysteria around the ZNPP, which Zelenskyy had joined, brings us to a conclusion that it is a preventive information campaign related to consequences of their violent takeover [of the plant],” said Renat Karchaa, advisor to the chief of Rosenergoatom, the Russian nuclear power plant operator, reported TASS. “According to my forecast, the likelihood of a violent takeover of the plant has increased significantly. But it is not the takeover that should be feared, it is the risk of nuclear contamination of tens of thousands of square kilometers that may occur as a result of the use of force.”

“Their real masters incite them to continue hostilities, and the mad Ukrainian regime may try to regain control over the NPP by force, under the false pretext of ‘saving the world from the nuclear disaster.’ That is why they have been spreading false news and fanning hysteria,” Karchaa said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov charged that Zelenskyy’s claim is another attempt to smear Russia and cover up Kyiv’s own criminal terrorist activities. “In this case, what we have is yet another attempt to smear Russia, to attribute non-existent intentions to us, and at the same time to cover up their own criminal and, in fact, terrorist actions, which pose a serious threat to the environment and to the protection of the population of vast territories from a potentially serious incident,” he said.

Ryabkov stressed that Moscow has warned Kyiv against instigating any potentially serious incidents at the Zaporozhye NPP. “We have warned Kyiv against such actions,” he said. “And we once again call on the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and its leadership to use the onsite presence of the agency’s experts directly at the plant to record all cases of attacks by the Ukrainian side, not to turn a blind eye to them, and clearly state who is to blame for what is happening, and where the real threat to this facility is coming from.”

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