From the very beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has appeared as though the Kremlin was a bit obsessed with the sovereign nation’s nuclear power plants.
In fact, one of the first reports of trouble in the war came to us from the site of the Chernobyl disaster, as ignorant Russian troops not only kicked up a great deal of radioactive dust with their heavy machinery, but also irradiated themselves as they dug trenches in the exclusion zone surrounding the site.
Now, Ukraine is accusing Russia of planning an egregious “accident” at their largest and most powerful plant, the likes of which could affect several European nations.
Russia has allegedly told workers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant not to show up to work Friday, Ukrainian military intelligence has exclusively confirmed to NBC News.
This comes amid allegations and speculation from both Russia and Ukraine that an incident is being planned Friday at the plant.
On Thursday, Russia threatened to shut down the plant, warning that there was a risk of a human-made disaster due to alleged continued shelling by Ukraine.
But Ukraine has a completely different story, according to Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate.
Officials were certain something was up.
“There is new information, it arrived about half an hour ago, that for tomorrow, August 19, there is an order for the majority of the staff not to go to work,” Yusov told NBC News.
“This is what the Russians told their people, primarily the employees of Rosatom,” he said, referring to the Russian nuclear agency.
The situation has been made all the more frightening by Russia’s willingness to use nuclear power plants as though they were human shields, parking large caches of weapons and personnel close in harm’s way.