Russia preparing 'provocation' at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant as Putin’s invasion continues

It comes after Moscow said there was a risk of a man-made disaster at the nuclear power plant

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Ukraine has accused Russia of preparing “provocation” at the Russian-controlled nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.

Ukraine’s main military intelligence agency made the statement hours after Moscow said there was a risk of a man-made disaster at the nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, and accused Kyiv and the West of planning a “provocation” there.

Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency said it had information that staff with Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company had left the site and that the facility would be closed to everyone except for operational staff.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

While Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia's military presence at the the power plant is a guarantee against what he called a "Chernobyl scenario", referring to the 1986 nuclear catastrophe.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechaev added that a UN proposal to demilitarise the area around the nuclear plant was "unacceptable".

The power plant remains near the frontline, and has repeatedly come under fire in recent weeks, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.

Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the facility.

Earlier this month, UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi said the power plant is “completely out of control”.

He issued an urgent plea to Russia and Ukraine to quickly allow experts to visit the complex to stabilise the situation and avoid a nuclear accident.