Receive free updates on the war in Ukraine
We will send you a myFT Daily Summary email summarizing the latest War in Ukraine news every morning.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia may be preparing to blow up part of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest such facility in Europe, as Kiev’s military reported further gains in its counter-offensive from the south and east.
“The Russian military placed objects resembling explosives on the roof of several power units at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly speech on Tuesday, citing Ukrainian intelligence agencies. “Perhaps to simulate an attack on the factory. Maybe they have another scenario.
Russian forces took control of the Zaporizhzhia plant shortly after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year. Rockets and mortar shells hit near the factory and gunfights broke out around it.
“The world sees. . . that the only source of danger for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is Russia and no one else,” Zelenskyy added.
On Telegram, channels linked to Russian military bloggers and propagandists spread rumors of an impending Ukrainian “false flag” attack on Zaporizhzhia that would be blamed on Russia, without providing evidence to support their claim. .
Zelenskyy said Russia might be emboldened to carry out such an attack because there had been “no timely and large-scale response” from Western partners to Russia. destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station and dam last month. The attack drained a reservoir and flooded part of southern Ukraine.
“It could incite the Kremlin to commit new evil,” Zelenskyy said. “It is the responsibility of everyone in the world to stop it, no one can stay away, because radiation affects everyone.”
The warning prompted the Ukrainian Health Ministry to notify residents living near the Zaporizhia plant to gather medical supplies and personal items and be ready to flee at any time.
“In the event of an explosion at the (power station), residents of the potential radiation accident area should be prepared for possible evacuation,” he said.
Yevhen Yevtushenko, head of the Nikopol district military administration, said on Wednesday the plant was operating normally and there had been no suspicious movements of Russian forces overnight. Nikopol is across the Dnipro River from Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia plant is located.
The Ukrainian nuclear energy company, Energoatom, reported that the water level in the factory cooling pond remained stable, despite the emptying of the reservoir on which it rests after the destruction of the dam and the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station.
The Ukrainian army continues to make further gains in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, as well as around Bakhmut in the eastern region of Donetsk, retaking some of the ground captured in May from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said on Tuesday that the past few days had been “particularly fruitful” for Ukrainian forces on the front line, without providing specific details. The Ukrainian army said it destroyed a formation of Russian forces in Makiivka, 75 km south of Bakhmut.
But Ukrainian troops also suffered setbacks, especially on the southern battlefield, where Russian minefields hampered the progress of counter-offensive forces and led to heavy casualties and the destruction of several armored vehicles supplied by the West.
kyiv also warned that all of Ukraine remained under threat from Russian missile attacks. “The probability of launching missiles and airstrikes on the entire territory of Ukraine remains high,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Wednesday.
He noted that a Russian missile strike Tuesday on the town of Pervomaiskyi in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region injured 43 civilians, including 12 children.
Russian authorities reported that towns in the Kursk and Belgorod border regions were targeted by drone and rocket fire on Wednesday, with buildings damaged and one person injured.