| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Ukraine spy chief accuses Russia of ‘mining’ cooling pond at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Ukraine’s military intelligence head accused Russia of “mining” the cooling pond used to keep the reactors cool at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine.

The six-reactor complex, Europe’s largest nuclear plant, has been occupied since immediately after Moscow’s forces entered last February.

“…Most terrifying is that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was additionally mined during that time… namely the cooling pond was mined,” Kyrylo Budanov, head of the GUR agency, said on television, without providing evidence for his assertion.

Reuters requested comment from the Russian defence ministry.

The two sides have accused each other of shelling the plant and its environs, and international efforts to establish a demilitarised zone around the complex have failed so far.

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry, meanwhile, dismissed as “null and void” a Russian suggestion that it could be building a “dirty bomb”.

The ministry said the suggestion, made on Monday by Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service, was first advanced by Moscow last year.

The move was, a ministry statement said, aimed at “diverting attention from the clear defeats by occupation forces at the front and sowing distrust among Ukraine’s Western allies”.

“If Russia is talking about a ‘dirty bomb’, its use by Russia could be a real threat,” the ministry said.

Naryshkin had called on the U.N. nuclear watchdog and the European Union to investigate the dispatch of “irradiated fuel” from the Rivne nuclear plant in western Ukraine for disposal at a spent fuel storage facility in Chornobyl.

The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said it had reported this month on the transfer of spent fuel from Rivne to Chornobyl and taken full account of the material.

  • Reuters