Ukraine braces for ‘worst-case’ scenario with Zaporizhia NPP, says a BBC headline. A television crew was invited to the nuclear accident response exercise near the plant.
“We are very worried. The situation changed dramatically after the Russians started firing on this area on August 5,” Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said. According to him, the situation at the plant is approaching a critical moment.
Since the beginning of the war, the Zaporizhia NPP has been under Russian control, but the plant continues to be “managed” by Ukrainian teams of specialists. The site has come under heavy shelling in the past two weeks, with Moscow and Kyiv blaming each other for the attack.
At the same time, earlier today, the Russian side assured that they do not have heavy weapons in and around the Zaporizhia NPP. “There are only safety parts in there. The Russian Armed Forces are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhia NPP,” said an official statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
At the same time, Russia’s Ministry of Defense says the plant could be closed “if Ukrainian forces continue to shell the facility. At a briefing, Igor Kirilov, head of Russia’s Radioactive, Chemical and Biological Defense Forces, said the plant’s back-up support systems had been damaged as a result of the shelling. According to him, in the event of an accident, the radioactive material will cover Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
UN Secretary General António Guterres and Turkish President Recep Erdogan are visiting the country. Moscow accuses Kyiv of preparing a “spectacular provocation” around the nuclear power plant. Their goal, according to the Russians, is to fire on it and then blame Russia for causing a nuclear accident.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday that an inspection of the site by the International Atomic Energy Agency must be carried out urgently.