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Zelenskiy Raises Alarm Over Russian Threats At Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 4 repeated his warning that Russia is planning "dangerous provocations" at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

Zelenskiy said in a statement after a phone call with Emmanuel Macron that he told the French president that Russian troops occupying the plant in Russian-controlled territory in southern Ukraine are preparing provocations and that the two agreed to keep the situation under control together with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Zelenskiy’s statement reiterated a warning he issued on July 2 that Russia could be preparing an explosion at the nuclear power plant. Zelenskiy said then that there was “a serious threat” that Russia was prepared to set off “a local explosion” that could lead to a radiation release.

His statement on July 4 came after the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russia might be preparing for a provocation “in the near future” on the territory of the plant, which has been taken offline but still requires electrical power and water to cool its six reactors.

"According to operational information, foreign objects similar to explosive devices were placed on the outer roof of the third and fourth power units of the ZNPP (Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant),” the General Staff said.

It said the detonation of the objects would not damage the plant’s power units but may create a picture of shelling from Ukraine.

The General Staff emphasized that Ukrainian armed forces "do not violate the norms of international humanitarian law, monitor and control the situation, and are ready to act under any conditions."

Moscow on July 4 made its own accusation against Kyiv in connection with alleged preparations for an incident at the plant.

An adviser to Russia's Rosatom nuclear agency, Renat Karchaa, said on Russian state television that Moscow has received information that on the night of July 5 “the Ukrainian Army will try to attack the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.”

He claimed that Ukraine planned to use "high-precision, long-range weapons" as well as drones.

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It was not possible for RFE/RL to verify the claims made by either side.

Fears over the safety risks for the nuclear plant have been constant since the start of Russia's invasion. The two sides have regularly accused each other of putting the plant's safety at risk.

By RFE/RL

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