Russian military vehicles seen inside the Zaporizhzhia plant
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Russia may attempt to create an “improvised nuclear weapon” at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, an expert has claimed. Weapons expert Hamish de Breton Gordon told Express.co.uk that Putin may be trying to “weaponise” the power plant. The power plant, located in southern Ukraine, was seized by Russian forces in the initial stages of Putin’s invasion.
Earlier today, Former Head of State Inspection for Nuclear Regulation Hryhorii Plachkov said that Russian troops might have planted explosives at two power generation units of the Zaporizhzhia plant.
He claimed that power generation unit 1 and power generation unit 2 are rigged with explosives.
Mr de Bretton-Gordon said that Russia is likely to claim the allegations are a “false flag” – an act aimed at disguising the source of responsibility and pinning the blame on another party.
He explained: “With Russia, it’s all about smoke and mirrors.
“I’m sure Russia will claim it’s a false flag. But the simple fact is, Russia controls Zaporizhzhia.
“If their troops there are allowing local people to go in and blow it up, it’s just incongruous.”
He said such a claim would be “Russian disinformation and rhetoric.”
Speaking about the possibility of an “improvised nuclear weapon” at the plant, Mr De Bretton-Gordon said: “This has been rumoured for some time.”
He added: “I think that we are all concerned that if Putin weaponises Zaporizhzhia and blows it up it would create an improvised nuclear weapon. That’s one of the issues.”
The power plant has been hit by shelling throughout the conflict, with both Kyiv and Moscow accusing one another of attacking the facility.
Both sides have denied responsibility for the strikes.
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The UN’s nuclear watchdog has warned of catastrophic consequences if the plant sustains damage.
This comes as Putin’s war effort appears to be stalling, with Volodymyr Zelensky’s army having retaken more than 6,000 sq km of land since the start of September, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
The ISW said Russian forces are facing a “major operational defeat”.
Meanwhile, the US Defense Department estimated that at least 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24 2022.
Tobias Ellwood, Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, warned that Putin’s “humiliation in Ukraine raises the prospect of nuclear strikes in areas which he now claims are Russian territory”.
He called for a “robust, international, conventional, military response” in order to avoid a “dangerous precedent”.
Mr Ellwood added: “Putin has long exploited the West’s weakness to challenge his military advances directly.
“It’s time to spell out now the consequences – rather than hope it won’t happen.”
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