Russia allegedly tells nuclear power plant workers to not come in Friday amid concerns of planned incident

Date:

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — Russia has reportedly told workers at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant not to show up for work on Friday, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency has confirmed exclusively to NBC News.

This comes amid allegations and speculation from both Russia and Ukraine that an incident is being planned at the factory on Friday.

On Thursday, Russia threatened to close the factory, warning there was a risk of man-made disaster due to alleged continued shelling by Ukraine.

But Ukraine has a very different story, according to Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s defense ministry’s main intelligence agency.

“There is new information, it arrived about half an hour ago, that for tomorrow, August 19, there is an order for the majority of the staff not to go to work,” Yusov told NBC News.

“This is what the Russians told their people, mainly Rosatom employees,” he said, referring to the Russian nuclear agency.

He said this could be evidence that Russia is preparing “large-scale provocations” at the power plant on Friday.

“We do not exclude the possibility of massive Russian provocations on the territory of the ZNPP tomorrow. This is confirmed by their propaganda, information from our sources and the behavior of the Russians at the station,” he added, referring to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

NBC News has reached out to Russia for comment.

Earlier Thursday, Russia’s defense ministry accused Ukraine and what it called its “American handlers” of trying to stage a “minor accident” at the factory in southern Ukraine on Friday in order to blame Russia.

It said the “provocation” was planned to coincide with a visit to Ukraine by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and that it may involve a radiation leak.

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The Zaporizhzhya nuclear reactor complex, the largest in Europe, was captured by Russia shortly after it invaded Ukraine nearly six months ago and was repeatedly shelled, with both Moscow and Kiev blamed for the trade.

Russia has repeatedly accused Ukrainian troops of reckless firing at the factory, while Ukraine says Russia is deliberately using the complex as a base to carry out attacks on the population.

NBC News has not verified either party’s claims.

A senior Ukrainian official told Reuters that the simplest solution to the situation would be for Russian troops to withdraw from the factory, remove all ammunition stored there and demine the mines.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Thursday that Moscow was taking steps to ensure the security of the complex and denied it had deployed heavy weapons in and around the factory.

However, the ministry said an attempted shutdown of the plant could be attempted if Ukrainian forces continue to shell it.

In a briefing, Igor Kirillov, chief of Russia’s radioactive, chemical and biological forces, said the plant’s backup support systems had been damaged as a result of shelling.

Kirillov presented a slide showing that in the event of an accident at the plant, radioactive material would cover Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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