Russia claims Ukraine stores weapons in nuclear power plants, Kyiv denies claims

Jan 23 (Reuters) – Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR) on Monday accused Ukraine of stockpiling Western-supplied weapons at nuclear power plants across the country, an allegation dismissed as false by a senior Ukrainian official.

The Russian spy agency provided no evidence and Reuters was unable to verify the claims.

An SVR statement said US-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers, air defense systems and artillery munitions had been delivered to the Rivne nuclear power plant in northwestern Ukraine.

“Ukrainian armed forces are storing weapons and ammunition supplied by the West on the territory of nuclear power plants,” he said, adding that an arms delivery to the Rivne power plant had taken place in the past week. of December.

Asked about the report on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the claims demonstrated the importance of maintaining dialogue with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

However, Peskov said there are currently no plans for a meeting between IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and President Vladimir Putin.

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy, said his country had never used nuclear power plants (NPP) to store weapons.

“Ukraine never stored weapons on the territory of the nuclear power plant, as the Russian foreign intelligence service wrongly claims. On the contrary, the Russian Federation seized the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia and keeps his army there,” he said on Twitter.

Podolyak said Ukraine remained “open to inspection bodies, including the IAEA” and that “Russian lies are meant to justify their provocations.”

Ukraine’s numerous nuclear power plants have been at the center of attention since the beginning of the conflict. Russian forces seized the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant less than 48 hours after troops invaded and also captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe – at the start of the war.

Kyiv and Moscow accused each other of bombing Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine also claims that Russia is using the site as a de facto weapons depot.

The IAEA has expressed serious concern about attacks near the plant, warning of the risk of a nuclear disaster.

Reuters Editing reporting by Gareth Jones and David Goodman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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