There are fears that Putin is planning to blow up Europe’s largest nuclear power plant while Russian troops are being evacuated from the facility.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Saturday that a “serious threat” remained at the Zaporizhia plant.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence warned that Russia was “technically ready” to provoke a local explosion at the nuclear power plant, which could then lead to a nuclear release.
Zelenskyj called for more international attention to the situation at the plant in south-eastern Ukraine, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
The facility has been occupied by Russia since early March last year, shortly after Moscow invaded.
A Times report stated that Kyrylo Budanov, a director of the Defense Intelligence Agency of Ukraine (GUR), previously claimed that the Kremlin planted explosives on four of the plant’s six power plant units and cooling systems.
These claims were then confirmed by Zelenskyy last week, when he said Russia was planning a “terrorist attack” on the nuclear facility.
The GUR has reportedly said that all Ukrainian employees working at the Rosatom-managed Zaporizhia nuclear power plant have been ordered to leave the plant by Wednesday due to growing fears of sabotage.
They also claimed the Russians ordered military personnel to initiate a “gradual withdrawal” from the power plant and ordered anyone on the site to “blame Ukraine in emergencies.”
The nuclear facility has been regularly used by Russian forces as a makeshift military base to store weapons and fire raids on Ukraine – the first to claim that the Russians laid mines at the facility on June 20.
Ukraine conducted drills around the power plant site earlier this week in preparation for a possible leak.
Instructions on assembly points, iodine tablet distribution and evacuation routes for local civilians were distributed via social media channels and in Zaporizhia – just 30 miles from the site – specialist teams practiced decontamination procedures, according to The Times.
But after an inspection of the facility ten days ago by the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Marino Grossi, no evidence was found to suggest the facility had recently been riddled with explosives.
However, it was mentioned that there were mines around the site and at key access points.
“Our assessment of these particular placements determined that while the presence of explosive devices would not meet safety standards, the facility’s core security functions would not be significantly compromised. We are following the problem very closely,” said Grossi.
That’s how it happened reported by iNews that the plant’s six reactors are currently all in shutdown mode, as although the situation has been classified as “serious”, the cooling water level remains adequate.
But for the Ukrainians living near the power plant, they have the reassurance that as the wind blows southeast in the area, any potential radiation leak from nuclear sabotage would drive straight over Russian troop positions and into the Russian city of Rostov – am-Thu.
Commenting on the situation near the nuclear power plant, Alla Krystal, the head of civil protection at Bilenke Municipal Council, said that most people in the area are not overly concerned and are fully informed about the evacuation points.
“The wind will contaminate the Russians with radiation much more than us. And they wouldn’t be that stupid. she asked.”
Russia has previously denied Kiev’s accusations that Russia was preparing an explosion at the facility – while Kiev and Moscow accused each other of bombing the huge facility.
Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986 when clouds of radioactive material spread across much of Europe after an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.