Satellite view of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. 07082022 CREDIT Naeblys Alamy Stock Photo _0.jpg
A satellite view of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine (Picture: Naeblys/ Alamy Stock Photo).
Ukraine

Is Russia trying to scare west into believing nuclear disaster could happen in Ukraine?

A prominent think tank believes Putin's forces are using a nuclear power plant to 'degrade western will' to provide support.

Satellite view of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. 07082022 CREDIT Naeblys Alamy Stock Photo _0.jpg
A satellite view of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine (Picture: Naeblys/ Alamy Stock Photo).

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has suggested that Russian forces are likely using a power plant in the city of Zaporizhzhia "to play on western fears of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine". 

The assessment is supported by claims in a Russian opposition publication, The Insider, that Putin's troops are storing explosives and ammunition around the power plant and is further endorsed by a source who alleges soldiers have mined a turbine room inside the facility. 

Information about the power plant at Zaporizhzhia was contained in the ISW's 'Ukraine Conflict Update,' dated 6 August. 

ISW's update included information on the alleged positioning of Russian military assets in and around the power plant's location, including troops and vehicles.

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"A separate source claimed that about 500 Russian soldiers, as well as armoured personnel carriers and anti-aircraft guns, were stationed within the plant and that Russian forces mined the area around the plant," the 6 August update said.

It continued: "The second source said that Russian forces 'store mines and ammunition in the immediate vicinity of the energy blocks under trestles with some of the ammunition stored inside the energy block'."

The report stated that it was unclear whether Russian forces had mined the energy block or were instead using it as a storage area for explosives. 

Russian and Ukrainian forces have been trading accusations about who is responsible for dangerous shelling at the nuclear facility.

The ISW has not been able to independently verify which party is responsible for the shelling.