Russia denies placing heavy artillery at Europe’s largest nuclear plant
Calls Kiev’s shelling of the plant “nuclear blackmail”
Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov the Russian Defence Ministry spokesman said during the daily press briefing Thursday, that no Russian heavy weapons were at or near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP).
“We want to make it clear that Russian troops have no heavy weapons deployed either at the power plant or in areas adjacent to it,” he stated.
Konashenkov said the nuclear plant was guarded only by security patrols. “The Russian armed forces are taking all the necessary measures to guarantee the security of the Zaporozhye NPP,” he emphasised.
He recalled that Ukraine’s leadership had repeatedly alleged that Russian troops had occupied the nuclear power plant and had been attacking it with long-range artillery using the nuclear facility as a shield.
Commenting further on Kiev shelling of the plant, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Kiev was planning a large scale “provocation” that will occur around the plant to coincide with the visit of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Odessa.
“This is not just a provocation, this is what we condemned as nuclear blackmail. And what else is it but a long standing provocation around a nuclear facility, a direct threat to nuclear power. This is certainly an act of nuclear blackmail,” she stressed.
Zakharova noted that in this way the Ukrainian authorities are not just blackmailing one country or a specific political entity, but the entire European continent. “We are talking about nuclear energy, the whole European continent is being held hostage because this is all in the heart of Europe,” she added.
“Today, science has already shown us that consequences of man-made disasters, and different tragedies at nuclear facilities have no boundaries, they only have time limits. Only time can limit the spread of these consequences,” the diplomat concluded, raising fears that a radiation leak could affect parts of western Europe.
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