Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated on Tuesday as both countries accused each other of planning an attack on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. The plant, Europe’s largest nuclear facility with six reactors, has long been a subject of mutual recrimination and suspicions. Russian troops seized control of the station following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy raised concerns about Russian “dangerous provocations” at the Zaporizhzhia plant during a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. Accusations have been regularly exchanged between the two sides. Both claimed shelling near the plant and the potential for a major nuclear mishap.
Mutual Accusations of Attack Planning
Renat Karchaa, an adviser to the head of Rosenergoatom, the operator of Russia’s nuclear network. Alleged that Ukraine planned to drop ammunition containing nuclear waste transported from another nuclear station onto the Zaporizhzhia plant. However, Karchaa provided no evidence to support his claim.
President Zelenskiy tweeted about the situation, informing Macron that “occupation troops are preparing dangerous provocations at the Zaporizhzhia (nuclear plant).” Zelenskiy and Macron agreed to closely monitor the situation with the involvement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
The Ukrainian armed forces released a statement citing “operational data” that claimed “explosive devices” had been placed on the roof of the plant’s third and fourth reactors. The statement warned of a possible attack in the near future and suggested that detonation would not damage the reactors. But create an illusion of shelling from the Ukrainian side. The Ukrainian army affirmed its readiness to act under any circumstances.
Focus on Safety and Stability
The IAEA has been actively engaged in efforts to ensure the demilitarization of the Zaporizhzhia plant and reduce the risk of a nuclear accident. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has visited the plant three times since its takeover by Russia. But has not yet reached an agreement to safeguard the facility from shelling.
The escalating accusations and concerns surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station highlight the tense relationship between Russia and Ukraine. With the IAEA’s continued efforts to mitigate the risks, international attention remains focused on ensuring the safety and stability of the plant and its surroundings.