Russia could be setting the stage for a possible ‘false flag’ military operation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Kyiv Post can reveal.

Over the last 24 hours, Kyiv Post has found evidence of a coordinated campaign that alleges that Ukrainian forces will attempt to “seize the ZNPP before the end of July.”

The Russian propaganda push comes as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) yesterday said that two weeks after requesting what it deemed to be “essential” access to ZNPP, Moscow has still refused to permit the UN nuclear watchdog to visit the reactor’s rooftops.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian military intelligence have repeatedly warned of Russia staging a nuclear incident at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – which has been under Russian occupation since March 2022.

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Yesterday, the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said that “the occupiers are planning another provocation at the ZNPP with the use of heavy weapons” and pointed out initial disinformation associated with it.

“The FSB disseminates information among the personnel of the occupation contingent about the alleged preparation [by Ukraine] for an assault on the ZNPP,” the Directorate’s Telegram channel posted.

“The special service of the occupiers claims that an ‘assault’ of the nuclear plant will be organized at the end of July, in which ‘assault groups’ and unnamed ‘volunteer armed units of Ukraine’ are supposed to take part.

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“Spreading of such information may indicate that the occupiers are preparing an operation ‘under a foreign flag’ that will lead to a large-scale accident at the ZNPP [while blaming Ukraine],” the post said.

True to the prediction of Ukraine’s spymasters, the Russian propaganda effort, Kyiv Post has determined, is structured in the following way.

Step 1: The Fake Interview

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Vladimir Rogov, a Kremlin-installed Russian official and spokesperson for “We Are With Russia” based in occupied Zaporizhzhia, apparently gave an interview to RIA Novosti.

“We Are With Russia” is an openly collaborationist organization that describes itself as “an integration movement.” It’s Telegram channel boasts of transporting Ukrainian children to camps in Russia for educational purposes. Its activities are fully coordinated with the United Russia party headed by Vladimir Putin.

Over the last few days, United Russia and “We Are With Russia” personnel distributed water to Russian motorists stuck in travel jams resulting from the destruction of the Kerch bridge. It has been the specific target of Ukrainian partisan activity in occupied southern Ukraine.

Step 2: The Article in Propaganda Press

RIA Novosti then “reported” that Rogov “warns that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing an operation to seize the ZNPP by the end of July.”

RIA Novosti is a government-owned Russian media outlet that is notorious of its falsehoods. It has provided a platform for Russian commentators who have called for the genocidal elimination of Ukrainians.

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“Based on operational data coming through various channels, Ukrainian troops are preparing a military provocation to ford the Dnieper in order to capture the Zaporozhye [sic] nuclear power plant at the end of July,” Rogov reputedly told RIA Novosti.

“It is this time that they have determined as the most favorable for crossing the shallowed remains of the Kakhovka reservoir,” Rogov allegedly told the news agency.

RIA Novosti continued its coverage by writing the following:

Rogov stressed that the command of the Ukrainian troops came to the conclusion that an assault group on light armored vehicles would be able to cross the Dnieper and reach the Zaporozhye [sic] nuclear power plant.

According to Rogov, in early July, a headquarters meeting was held at the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant under the leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky, where options for provocation scenarios regarding the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel and reactors at the Zaporozhye [sic] NPP were discussed.

“Zelensky's office was unpleasantly surprised that this would not bring the strong negative long-term consequences they expected, so they decided to postpone missile strikes on the nuclear power plant,” Rogov is then quoted as saying by the propaganda outlet.

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Step 3: Russian Propaganda Telegram Channels

Following the initial story created around the supposed Rogov interview, Russian propaganda social media channels take up the baton.

Pro-Russian Telegram channels, including milbloggers with subscription numbers of up 1.5 million, shared the RIA Novosti story.

Some embellished the initial RIA Novosti article by adding an “eyewitness account” attributed to Rogov:

“I managed to walk along the bottom of the Kakhovka reservoir. How might an offensive on such ground across the shallow Dnieper look like?

“It will look like this: the enemy will move at night on light-wheeled SUVs, buggies, ATVs, cars with swamp wheels. Based on this, they will have ATGMs, mortars, and machine guns with them.

“In order to successfully pass 8 kilometers of the river, they will have to make a serious diversion maneuver or a socially dangerous sabotage, which will allow them to have the effect of surprise.

“It is necessary to strengthen the observation of the deployment area from high-altitude UAVs to the utmost, keep artillery ready (cluster and shrapnel shells are perfect) and the air group.

“Such an operation has little chance of success without some extraordinary events.”

IAEA experts have carried out additional inspections and walkdowns at Ukraine’s ZNPP over the past week – so far without observing any heavy military equipment, explosives or mines – but they are still awaiting access to the rooftops of the reactor buildings.

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Access to the rooftops of reactor units 3 and 4 as well as some of the turbine rooms were deemed “essential” by the IAEA on July 5.

At the same time, Ukrainian military operations spokespeople yesterday said that Russian forces are making new preparations in the vicinity of ZNPP. This includes evicting residents from homes on the bank of the Dnipro River in Nova Kakhovka, about 40 kilometers from the facility, to set up firing positions there.

“They evict people from those buildings where they want to arrange positions that had been washed away,” Natalia Humeniuk, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern forces yesterday said.

“Because they no longer have time to dig trenches and dugouts, they simply set up so-called positions for street battles – what they did when they were preparing to leave Kherson but told everyone that they were preparing for street battles.”

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Comments ( 1)

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Imokru2
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Moscow should be reminded that the nuclear power plant at Kursk is only 220 km from Kharkiv, and that the prevailing winds move west to east.

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