Ukraine says Russia is planning "false flag" attack at nuclear plant
Fears of an impending attack on a nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine prompted residents in the area to flee Friday, the Washington Post reports.
Why it matters: Repeated warnings from Ukrainian and Russian officials indicate a potential attack is planned for the Zaporizhzhia station, which could cause a radioactive disaster that impacts the whole region.
- Ukrainian families near Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, fled to Bulgaria and Germany due to fresh concerns of an attack on the plant, according to the Post.
Driving the news: Both sides say the other is preparing to launch a "false flag" attack on the plant, per the Post.
- The area around the plant has come under heavy fire in recent weeks, BBC News reports.
- Ukrainian officials said Russia was behind the latest strikes and explosions at the plant, which is the largest nuclear power station in Europe, per the Post.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for the strikes, warning an attack could create "a large-scale catastrophe that could lead to radiation contamination," Reuters reports.
Between the lines: Russia captured the nuclear plant in March, but Ukrainians still run it, Reuters reports.
What they're saying: Earlier this month, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for a demilitarized zone around the plant.
- He told President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that “any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide."
- Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., told CBS News Friday that the nuclear plant situation is "very, very tense."
- The Biden administration has called on Russian and unauthorized personnel to leave the station, she said.
What's next: Putin agreed on Friday to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the nuclear power plant.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the United Nations to "ensure the security" of the plant, too.