The Russian Defense Ministry is likely planning a false flag operation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), preemptively blaming Ukraine’s Armed Forces for it, the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in an Aug. 18 war report.
The chief of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, claimed in an Aug. 18 briefing that Ukrainian forces are preparing for a provocation at the ZNPP, allegedly in order to blame Moscow.
Kirillov’s announcement coincided with Russian “authorities” giving ZNPP employees a day off on Aug. 19. Leaked footage from within the plant shows five Russian trucks very close to one of the reactors at the NPP on an unspecified date, which may indicate the Russian forces are setting up the conditions to cause a provocation at the plant. Russian propagandists have consistently spread lies about Ukrainian attacks on the plant, despite the facts that Russia itself has been shelling the nuclear facility.
Other key takeaways:
· There were no claimed or assessed Russian territorial gains in Ukraine on Aug. 18, for the first time since July 6;
· Russian sources reported a series of unidentified and unconfirmed explosions across Crimea on the night of Aug. 18;
· Russian forces conducted ground assaults south of Siversk and northeast and south of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast;
· Russian forces continued conducting offensive operations north, west, and southwest of Donetsk;
· Russian forces conducted an unsuccessful ground assault near Zaporizhzhia;
· Russian occupation officials continued preparations for the long-term integration of occupied territories of Ukraine into Russia.