Russia said on Sunday that NATO leaders should discuss conditions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant at their summit this week, as an accident at the facility could affect the territories of alliance members.
Ukraine warned last week that Moscow could be preparing to blow up the nuclear power station, which could lead to a radioactive disaster, after Russian workers were told to leave the facility.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday accused Kyiv of “systematic infliction of damage” to the Zaporizhzhia plant and warned of the possible fallout from a catastrophe there.
“Key attention should be devoted” to the Zaporizhzhia facility at the NATO meeting starting Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Telegram post. “After all, the vast majority of the alliance members will be in the direct impact zone” of any potential accident, she said.
Leaders of the NATO alliance will meet on July 11-12 in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, about 1,200 kilometers away from the Zaporizhzhia plant. The summit will discuss crucial issues including the supply of weapons to Kyiv and the accession of Sweden and Ukraine.
According to International Atomic Energy Agency experts, there are not “any visible indications of mines or explosives” at the Zakharova plant, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said on July 7.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday reiterated concerns that Moscow is planning to blow up the Zaporizhzhia plant because its war effort is going so poorly.
“Can we, while analyzing this, think that Russia is planning a local explosion in order to stop Ukrainian operations on the battlefield? Yes,” Zelenskyy said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” He said Ukraine is prepared for a possible disaster at the nuclear facility.
Separately, Ukraine for the first time admitted responsibility for the October 2022 attack that damaged Russia’s bridge to the occupied Crimea Peninsula.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram Saturday that the Kerch Strait Bridge — which opened four years after Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 — was targeted “in order to break the logistics” of Russia’s supply lines.
In a posting on the 500th day of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, Malier noted that Saturday marked 273 days since the strike on the bridge.
Source : POLITICO