Russian workers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant were told by the Russian nuclear company Rosatom to stay away from the plant, the US-based channel NBC reported citing Ukrainian military intelligence.
It comes amid allegations from both Russia and Ukraine that either side has been planning an incident at Europe’s largest nuclear power station.
Russia said it could shut down the plant as there was a risk of a nuclear disaster caused by alleged continued shelling by Ukrainian forces.
The Ukrainian military’s intelligence agency claimed that Russia is planning to stage a “false flag” attack to “raise the stakes” amid the sixth month of its invading Ukraine.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian defence ministry’s main intelligence directorate, told NBC News on Thursday: “There is new information, it arrived about half an hour ago, that for tomorrow, August 19, there is an order for the majority of the staff not to go to work.
“This is what the Russians told their people, primarily the employees of Rosatom.”
He said that this could show that Russia is preparing “large-scale provocations” at the power plant.
On Thursday, a clip was shared on social media that purported to show at least five Russian military trucks inside the plant.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia’s military presence at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is a guarantee against what he called a “Chernobyl scenario”.
Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the leaders of the UN and Turkey to intervene and secure the safety of the plant.
The Ukrainian president said: “Russia must withdraw its troops from the plant immediately.”
Also, he tweeted: “The world is on a verge of nuclear disaster due to occupation of world’s third largest nuclear power plant in Energodar, Zaporizhzhia region.
“How long will it take the global community to respond to Russia’s irresponsible actions and nuclear blackmailing?”
Russia occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in March, soon after Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine. It has repeatedly come under fire in recent weeks, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.
Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the facility.