Terrorist plot foiled at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant – Russia
A Ukrainian terrorist attack on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant has been thwarted, Russian officials have said, adding that the plot aimed to render the adjacent city of Energodar without heating during the winter.
“We have received information that our secret services have foiled a terrorist attack on the Zaporozye Nuclear Power Plant,” Nikolay Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said on Wednesday.
Vladimir Rogov, a senior Zaporozhye regional official, told news agency RIA Novosti that the alleged plot had been orchestrated by the Ukrainian government.
He said that a cache with explosives had been discovered at the plant and that it had been placed there sometime after Russia’s military operation began in late February and before Moscow's forces seized the facility in March.
A spokesperson for the Zaporozhye authorities told the outlet that Kiev wanted to destroy the pipeline that delivers heat to Energodar, a city of 52,000 people located just outside the plant, and “leave the population without heating during the winter.”
According to the spokesperson, the Seсurity Service of Ukraine (SBU) had planned to recruit an employee of the facility and instruct that individual to detonate the bomb.
The plant was captured by Russian troops after Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring country in late February. Zaporozhye Region eventually left Ukraine and joined Russia after holding a referendum in September.
Moscow and Kiev have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the plant. Patrushev said that Ukrainian troops have been using Western-supplied weapons to target the facility, risking “a global disaster.”
He added that the attacks continued after a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the plant in late August.
“Unfortunately, the visit of an IAEA delegation to the plant did not lead to the cessation of attacks on the plant or to the condemnation of Kiev by the international community,” he said.
Russia also accused Ukraine of planning to detonate a so-called ‘dirty bomb’, a conventional munition with radioactive elements, in order to frame Moscow. Kiev, together with the US and other Western countries, have denied this claim.