Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency warned of fresh Russian “provocations” on Saturday at an occupied nuclear plant in southern Ukraine, while the exiled mayor of the town where the plant is located said it had come under fresh shelling.
Enerhodar mayor Dmytro Orlov, who evacuated to Kyiv-controlled territory in April, wrote on Telegram that local residents had informed him of fresh Russian shelling in the direction of the town’s industrial zone and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on Saturday. It was not clear if any shells hit the grounds of the plant.
Local Russian-installed official Vladimir Rogov wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces were shelling the plant.
“According to witnesses, explosions can be heard again in the town,” Rogov said, adding that shells had landed in the vicinity of the power station, without specifying if it had hit the plant’s territory.
Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over multiple recent incidents of shelling at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, while the G7 group of nations have called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the power station.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak accused Russia of “hitting the part of the nuclear power plant where the energy that powers the south of Ukraine is generated.”
“The goal is to disconnect us from the (plant) and blame the Ukrainian army for this,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
Earlier on Saturday, Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency said Russia was preparing new “provocations” at the plant, saying Russian troops had parking a Pion self-propelled howitzer outside the nearby town and put a Ukrainian flag on it. The agency shared a photo appearing to show the cannon in question.
The agency also said that Thursday’s strikes on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia plant, which Ukraine says damaged water-pumping infrastructure and a fire station, had been conducted from the Russian-controlled village of Vodiane, about seven kilometers east of the plant.
(Reporting by Max Hunder; Editing by Hugh Lawson)