The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has faced intense shelling since the Russia-Ukraine war. (Image: AP)
A plan to fake a large-scale nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia power plant is in the works, the Ukrainian defence ministry has claimed. According to the ministry's intelligence, Russia is hatching a plan to "imitate" an accident at the plant "within hours" in order to use it as a strategic pause for regrouping and planning.
The ministry, as per Sky News, also claimed on Saturday that Moscow's ulterior motive behind the move is to implement a ceasefire and blame Ukraine for the accident. "They aim to provoke the international community and conduct a detailed investigation requiring a ceasefire," it said.
"Russians are going to use this so desirable pause for the regrouping of the occupational personnel and to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive," it added. Furthermore, the defence ministry stated that Russia had "sabotaged" a planned rotation of the staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring mission at the facility.
‼️ Russians are preparing massive provocation and imitation of the accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the nearest hours.— Defence intelligence of Ukraine (@DI_Ukraine) May 26, 2023
They are planning to attack the territory of the ZNPP. After that, they will announce the leakage of the radioactive substances. pic.twitter.com/Vk6hRDD26v
However, the Vienna-based agency has not corroborated the claims. This comes after Russia accused Ukraine of orchestrating a similar plan on its territory in February. It has also frequently alleged that Kyiv is devising "false flag" operations with non-conventional weaponry, such as those made from biological or radioactive materials.
Shortly after the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out last year, Moscow's forces took control of the Zaporizhzhia power plant, which is the biggest nuclear power station in Europe. Since then, the facility has faced the wrath of belligerent shelling, with Kyiv and Moscow blaming each other for it.