Ukrainian saboteurs plotted nuclear plant attack – officials
Saboteurs sought to attack the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant during a visit by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the local authorities have claimed. The group was reportedly taken into custody.
The suspected Ukrainian plotters had comprehensive information about the nuclear site and its vulnerabilities, a council member of the Russian-allied administration of Zaporozhye Region, Vladimir Rogov, told journalists on Wednesday.
Footage purportedly showing the moment the group of would-be attackers was apprehended has circulated on social media. It features heavily armed men in uniforms busting into a dark apartment and securing at least three people in civilian clothing.
The curtains in the room were drawn at the moment of the breach. There appeared to be three assault rifles placed next to the walls.
The video also included what is presumed to be items seized during the arrest. They included what appeared to be three shoulder-fired rocket launchers, several hand grenades, a small commercial reconnaissance drone, a solar panel charger, and printouts of the city map and aerial photos of the nuclear plant.
Rogov did not disclose when the arrests took place, but claimed that the group planned a “series of terrorist attacks” in the city, possibly timed to coincide with the expected visit of IAEA inspectors. The fact-finding mission dispatched by the UN’s nuclear watchdog is expected to arrive in Energodar later this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.
The nuclear site has been subjected to regular attacks by artillery and drones for weeks. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of launching the strikes. Kiev also claimed that Russian forces stationed heavy weaponry at the nuclear facility, which Moscow has denied.
The IAEA fact finding mission, led by the organization’s head, Rafael Grossi, left the Ukrainian capital, Kiev on Wednesday morning. The experts are expected to spend up to several days in Energodar before heading back and reporting their findings.