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Chances of Russia blowing up Zaporizhzhia NPP - Presidential Office

Chances of Russia blowing up Zaporizhzhia NPP - Presidential Office Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the head of the OP (Vitaliy Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Maria Kholina

In an interview with RBC-Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak, the advisor to the President's Office, said that Russia has no military tools right now to influence the developments on the front line, which is why it resorts to terrorist methods such as the blow up of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant. Therefore, it is necessary to acknowledge the risks to the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

"They (the Russians) only have terrorist tools, such as the sabotage of the power station. Russia has used this method to try to proove the following to the world: stop supporting Ukraine, force Ukraine to recognize our right to kill them, our historical right to torture them, acknowledge that we should remain on a part of Ukraine's territory and continue to provoke Ukraine, to try to destroy it, and so on. You must acknowledge all of this, otherwise, we will continue to use terrorism as such," explained Podolyak.

He added ironically that the world understands that Ukraine will reject such "suggestions."

"Russia undoubtedly sees the Zaporizhzhzhia Nuclear Power Plant as an option, and we must talk about it constantly because the ecological disaster following the sabotage of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant is nothing compared to the pan-European level ecological disaster if Russia attempts to sabotage the nuclear power plant," emphasized Podoliak.

He said that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has stated one simple thing: look, subconsciously we understand that we are losing the war and will leave Ukrainian territory.

"But what kind of territory of Ukraine will we leave? We will devastate it. We want you to feel the consequences of this war. We will destroy and burn everything you have," said Podoliak.

In his opinion, there are several measures that can help prevent a catastrophic scenario at the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

"First, acknowledge that there are risks and not pretend that there are none. Second, acknowledge that these risks are related to the nuclear industry. And third, there is a plan proposed by Ukraine: a demilitarized zone and the mandatory withdrawal of Russian heavy equipment or Russians in their entirety. The personnel should be exclusively Ukrainian. If you want to establish a monitoring mission by the IAEA, go ahead," said Podoliak.

He added that within the context of the global community, there is one sufficiently stringent instrument—sanctions against "Rosatom" (Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation).

Situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Since last spring, the Zaporizhzhia NPP has been seized by Russian forces, and the facility is under the control of the Russian nuclear company "Rosatom." However, the plant continues to be operated by Ukrainian personnel under the control of the occupiers.

The Russians have been recently increasing the militarization of the plant. The risks to the nuclear power plant have escalated after the explosion at the Kakhovka HPP.

The destruction of the dam by the Russians has created a threat to the safety of the Zaporizhzhia NPP due to the lowering of the water level in the cooling pond.

On June 15, the Director-General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, came to inspect the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP. He concluded that the water level remains sufficient for the plant to maintain safety for a "certain period of time."

Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia wants to blow up the Zaporizhzhia NPP in order to destabilize the situation in Ukraine and to pressure Kyiv into ending the war.