Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game. You can find me at CounterSocial, Mastodon and rarely FB.
Russia has a pattern. It’s an old pattern. It’s one involving the destruction that they can’t have. They have taken pavement from roads on their way out, for example. They have destroyed cities to capture them. The jokes around washers and toilets are long in the tooth at this point. Now they control the sixth largest nuclear plant in Europe, and there is noise they are leaving.
There is also noise. They intend to do great damage on the way out. One of those signals is, as always, accusing the other of what they intend to do. The screen cap below is from TASS, hardly alone. They have also distributed a letter in the United Nations a priori denying responsibility.
The old tool of propaganda is accusing others. Germans perfected this during the Second World War, but Russians were also experts. This is strategic disinformation.
But there is more:
Against the background of the information transmitted the other day by GUR, which showed that the Russians would intend to cause an accident at the Zaporozhye power plant, the same Ukrainian intelligence service today publishes an information on the Telegram channel, according to which
“ According to the latest data, the occupation contingent is leaving gradually the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant”.
The intelligence agency said among the first to leave the station were three Rosatom employees, who managed the Russians’ actions. Ukrainian employees who signed a contract with Rosatom were also advised to evacuate.
According to the instructions received, they should leave by July 5th.
Also, the number of military patrols is gradually decreasing on the actual territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and in the plant’s satellite city — Energodar.
Staff remaining at the station were instructed to “blame Ukraine in case of any emergencies”.
On June 25, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Kirilo Budanov — “The Man Who Never Smiles” — , said that the Russians had completed preparations for a possible terrorist attack on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
Explosive devices were placed near four of the Plant’s six units. IAEA Director General Raphael Grossi had previously stated that the undermining of the Kahovka Dam threatens the operation of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. According to him, there is a risk of running out of the necessary level of water to cool the reactors in a few weeks. On June 15, he said the situation in Zaporozhye was “serious” but he was trying to “stabilize” it.
Energoatom reported that despite the Russians blowing up the Kahovka Dam, the situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant remains under control and there is enough water in the cooling pool to meet the plant’s needs.
From my point of view, any act of sabotage — blowing up, simulating overvoltage, or any other similar act, is still unlikely to ‘0’ considering the catastrophic consequences, both for Europe and, to the same extent, for Russia. Also, a significant part of N-E Turkey would be affected.
The main danger, but which is currently under control, is the provision of the water needed to cool the 6 nuclear reactors.
Now these are not pile reactors. They do run hotter than Western reactors. So perhaps we will have less of an issue than Chornobyl. There is some technical data as to why it will not be that bad. Also, the types of man-made accidents we might expect. I found this Twitter thread useful. However, western reactors did suffer explosions a decade ago.
Now Ukrainians have been screaming to the four winds, to anybody who will listen, that Russia will do this. As of this morning, they shared this as well:
Russia has a plan to remotely detonate the ZNPP when the aggressor’s troops hand over control of the nuclear plant to the IAEA and Ukraine, — Zelensky
To me, the signal that they intend to do it is not the withdrawal of military personnel. Sure, that would be good. The withdrawal of technical personnel needed to deal with an accident is. For somebody screaming the other side is going to do it, why take away the technicians needed to control such a provocation? At least now we know Russians value some lives, maybe.
Yes, at this point, I am way cynical.
Now there are going to be consequences. Perhaps Russia is indeed looking forwards to, for real, losing the war to NATO because losing to Ukraine is short-circuiting their imperial brain. Crests (using the less objectionable insult) are not supposed to be able to fight Russia and defeat Russia. Now, losing to NATO is far more acceptable.
This is why they captured a U.S. General; they did not. Why did they claim there were two NATO generals and troops at Kramatorsk. No, there were not why they hit a command post in Lviv where ten allied generals died; no, that never happened.
But to the Russian people, this is great propaganda. See, we are fighting the collective West! We even have audio on Telegram of the International Legion, who, of course, speak a panoply of languages, including, shockingly, I know, English and Polish, two favorites for the propagandist. They even showed off a few British citizens captured at Mariupol who served with the regular Ukrainian Marines. They were not even in the Legion. Russians intended to try them and execute them as a show trial. In the end, they were exchanged.
We have been at the most dangerous point of this war for at least two weeks. The drama inside Russia is also raising the stakes. This is why. This is one of a few reports from Ukrainian successes at the front:
Counterattack | The 47th OMBr “Magura” breaks through the defense of the Russians in the south
47 OMBr “Magura” breaks through the defense of the Russians in the south. This video concentrates the events of two days of assault. Two companies of Russians fled from their positions.
Ukrainians are starting to push through defense lines. The video is not that gory, but one section shows the dense minefields, removed by sappers, to the side. They are going slowly, purposefully, and methodically. This saves lives in the end.
So returning to the plant. I concluded a while ago that they would damage that plant on the way out. How serious is a damn good question? My mind firmed this when they blew the Kharkhova dam. This is based on how the Russian mind works. Yes, I will say it right now. I prefer to eat a large crow pie with them fixings on the side. If I am wrong, please tell me this.
We will likely add to the rapidly growing collection of war crimes. This will be in the category of crime against humanity worst case. Let’s hope it’s the best case—either a small incident or none at all.
I indeed look forward to a full pie, not just a slice. Let’s hope I get that.