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Intelligence chief: Danger of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant terror attack 'going down'

by Martin Fornusek July 6, 2023 12:14 PM 2 min read
Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak (R), Chief of the Defense Intelligence Major-General Kyrylo Budanov (C), and Head of the Security Service Vasyl Maliuk (L) attend a press briefing on the release of Ukrainian defenders from Russian captivity in Kyiv on Sept. 22, 2022. (Photo by Gian Marco Benedetto/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The danger of a possible Russian terrorist attack at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is diminishing, Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov told The Times on July 6.

"We are doing certain actions in this area, both public and not public, and I think now that the danger of an artificial technogenic catastrophe is quietly going down," Budanov said.

Ukraine's officials have been warning for the past weeks that Russia is planning an attack against the occupied nuclear power station to cause radiation leakage. The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces warned on July 4 that the terrorist attack could happen "in the near future."

According to the General Staff, Russian forces have possibly planted explosive devices on the roofs of the third and the fourth reactors.

Petro Kotin, the director of the state-owned nuclear energy company Energoatom, said on television that there are around 700 Russian forces at the station.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected parts of the station and said they have not yet found any explosives. However, on July 5 the IAEA's chief Rafael Grossi said that the experts are yet to be granted access to the reactors' rooftops.

The U.S. government is also closely monitoring the situation at the plant, White House spokesperson Karin Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing.

While admitting that the situation at the plant under Russian occupation is dangerous, Jean-Pierre did not provide information on any new developments. She added that U.S. President Joe Biden did not recently discuss the issue with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Zelensky told Spanish reporters on July 1 that one possibility Ukrainian officials had prepared for was that Russian troops could return the station to Ukrainian control after having mined it and then detonate it remotely.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear power station in Europe, has been under Russian occupation since March 2022. Since then, Russian forces have been using Europe's largest nuclear power plant as a military base to launch attacks against Ukrainian-controlled territory.

On the edge of disaster: What could really happen if Russia destroys Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
In late June, 16 months into the full-scale Russian invasion, President Volodymyr Zelensky alerted his nation of an unprecedented threat. Russia, the president said, had rigged the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant with explosives, and was ready to set off the charges and cause radiation to…
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