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7 August, 07:03 PM

Russia exploiting Zaporizhzhia NPP to play on West's fears – ISW

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War believes that Russian troops are using the captured Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to play on Western fears of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine, according to the latest ISW report published on the morning of Aug. 7.

The analysts believe that Russia, using nuclear blackmail, seeks to degrade the will of the West to provide military support for a Ukrainian counteroffensive. In addition, it allows the Russian army to effectively use the NPP as a nuclear shield to prevent Ukrainian strikes against Russian forces and equipment.

Russia’s nuclear terrorism: what is happening at the occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP

The Zaporizhzhia NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 4. Several ZNPP facilities have been damaged by Russian shelling, and the station's employees are captives of the occupying troops.

The ZNPP was brought back to operation in April under Russian control, although it is still providing power to Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have noted that Russia is using the territory of the ZNPP to fire on Ukrainian positions with impunity, since Ukraine will not shell the territory of a nuclear facility.

The press service of Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear operator, reported on July 21 that the Russian military placed no less than 14 units of heavy military equipment with ammunition, weapons and explosives in the engine room of the first power unit of the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

Russian outlet The Insider reported that Russian troops are storing explosives and ammunition around the nuclear power plant. According to the publication's sources, around Aug. 2, the Russian troops mined the engine room of power unit No. 1 of the NPP.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of using the Zaporizhzhia NPP as a "nuclear shield" and called the actions of the Russia "the height of irresponsibility."

Russian troops recently staged a false flag attack on the plant, shelling it twice on Aug. 5. As a result, several power lines were damaged, and the plant’s 4th power unit was disconnected from the power system and put into reserve. The line that transports hydrogen to the ZNPP was also impacted, causing a fire.

Russian puppet collaborator Evgeny Balitsky, appointed as the head of the occupation administration in the region, has attempting to shift blame for Russia’s actions to Ukraine.

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has called for an IAEA mission to be allowed into the Zaporizhzhia NPP to stabilize the situation.

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