Ukraine’s defense ministry has claimed that Russia is planning to stage a major accident at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is controlled by Russian forces, in an attempt to thwart a Ukrainian counter-offensive to retake those territories.

The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is the largest in Europe and the area where it is located has been repeatedly bombed, with both sides blaming each other for these attacks.

The intelligence directorate of the Ministry of Defense says that soon Russian forces will bomb the nuclear plant and then announce a radioactive leak. Thus an investigation by international agencies will be required and during its duration all hostilities will cease.

This announcement was posted on Telegram, without providing any proof. According to Kiev, Russia has stopped the planned rotation of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, who are based at the station. The IAEA, which regularly updates the situation in Zaporizhia, has made no mention of stopping inspections.

Last week witnesses said Russian forces were strengthening defensive positions in and around the nuclear plant in anticipation of a Ukrainian counterattack.

In October 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the West to warn Russia against blowing up a dam, flooding a large area in the region. The dam was not destroyed. In February Russia accused Ukraine of planning to stage a nuclear accident on its soil to pin the blame on Moscow.

Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of planning provocations with unconventional weapons, using biological agents or nuclear material. No such operation materialized.