Energodar NATO-Russian Ukrainian War NATO-Russian War Russia Ukraine Zaporozhiya nuclear power plant Zelenskii Zelenskiy

The Zaporozhiya Nuclear Plant: Zelenskiy’s Next Simulacra?

It appears almost certain that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy and his generals, rather than Russian President Vladimir Putin and his, are considering and preparing a false flag nuclear provocation at the Zaporozhiya nuclear power plant (ZNPP) set for July 7-9 to frame NATO summit and perhaps also to provide political cover for a Polish-Baltic republic move of forces into western Ukraine. Such a nuclear event will not be on a scale even approaching the Chernobyl accident, but it will be sufficient so that it can be framed as grave ‘Russian crime against humanity’ and used by Kiev to gain certain advantages via the West,

The incident likely will occur as a result of a Ukrainian attempt to seize the Zaporozhiya NPP in response to which Russian troops will be accused of detonating explosives creating a dirty bomb effect on a small scale. Ukrainian troops will cross the dried-up Dnepr, seize the ZNPP, detonate explosives there themselves. This will allow Kiev and the West to accuse Moscow of ‘nuclear terrorism’.

The signs of an impending false flag operation have been flashing for weeks, with numerous Ukrainian commentaries to the effect that the Russians were planning a nuclear terrorist operation at the Energodar ZNPP. The most recent make things pretty clear. IAEA inspections have never endorsed Ukrainian claims – ongoing for over a year now – that it is Russian forces that fire on the ZNPP. Indeed, Russian forces have occupied all of Energodar and the ZNPP and have for well over a year, and IAEA has a team permanently stationed at the plant along with Russian RosAtom personnel, who now run the plant.

More recently, on June 23rd Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate chief Kyrylo Budanov reported that Russia had completed preparations for carrying out a nuclear terrorist attack at the ZPNN (https://twitter.com/TheStudyofWar/status/1673143608315367425?s=20).

On June 29-30, Ukraine held nuclear accident civilian defense exercises in Zaporozhiya and the neighboring region of Kherson simulating the effects of an attack on the Zaporizhiya plant.Hazmat-clad troops spray fall-out victim stand-ins among other emergency simulations conducted, prompting fear in the local population and further reporting worldwide on the imminent Russian terrorist attack (www.thesun.co.uk/news/22870414/ukraine-nuclear-disaster-drill-hazmat-troops-putin-plant/). On July 1st Citing Ukrainian intelligence sources, Zelenskiy claimed alongside visiting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez: “There is a serious threat because Russia is technically ready to provoke a local explosion at the station, which could lead to a (radiation) release.” He also noted: “We know for sure that this was considered by the Russian Federation as one of the plans, so that later, when the station is handed over to us, to detonate it remotely for the release, and this is also very dangerous.” IAEA inspector recently refuted Zelenskiy’s claims that Russia had moved explosives into the plant in preparation for its terrorist attack, noting “found “no visible indications of mines or other explosives” at the Zaporizhiya plant (www.newsweek.com/russia-could-blow-nuclear-plant-after-handing-it-ukraine-zelensky-1810318). 

Zelenskiy then held a meeting of the military top command as well as nuclear power officials at northwest Ukraine’s Rivne (Rovne) nuclear power plant, one of Ukraine’s five nuclear plants. He explained the meeting’s purpose this way in his nightly video address to the Ukrainian people: “The key issues discussed were the security of our northern regions and our measures to strengthen them.” (https://news.yahoo.com/ukraines-zelenskiy-says-serious-threat-130913206.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall). One wonders why this location was chosen and whether something else was being pursued.

On July 1st, Danilov expressed confidence Russia would undertake such a nuclear “terrorist attack” at the ZNPP, which Ukraine would regard as a nuclear attack (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18568). The same a Ukrainian Telegram channel claimed its source inside the Office of the President of Ukraine reported that visiting former US VP Mike Pence conducted “negotiations” with Zelenskiy and told him that NATO would not introduce troops into Ukraine in response to any nuclear event at the ZNPP (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18571).

Then, on July 2nd, Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces general Staff Viktor Zalyuzhnyi also visited the Rovne (Rivne) nuclear power plant far from the front and having nothing to do with a ground-based military offensive. This and the earlier Zelenskiy-high command meeting could have been information-gathering exercises aimed at understanding the layout of and key points at such plants, where and how much radiation leakage could ‘occur’ in an attack, and how such a radiation release could be minimized or maximized (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18593). On the same day, the pro-Ukrainian Institute for the Study of War concluded it is unlikely that Russia would undertake such a nuclear gambit, casting doubt on Kiev’s propaganda campaign. At the same time, it warned that Russia would use the threat of such an attack in order to restrain Ukrainian counteroffensive operations and weaken Western support for military aid to Ukraine (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18575). The latter is an odd assertion, since it is Ukraine that is playing up the threat. Moreover, could not a radiation release or media reports of one be used in the hope of freezing panicked Russian forces and cover a major Ukrainian attack across Dnepr on the Russian-held south of Zaporozhiya? (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18582)

On July 4th, Moscow claimed that Ukraine cut off one source of electricity to the ZPNN (https://t.me/stranaua/112817).

It must be kept firmly in mind that Ukraine is desperate. Desperate men do desperate things. Kiev badly needs additional arms supplies from the West, and it was hoped significant gains of territory in the first month of Kiev’s counteroffensive would be sufficient to market Ukraine’s military as worthy of greater support to the July 11 NATO summit, as Zelenskiy himself has acknowledged (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18566). But such success has not materialized and could not have. Russian forces have overpowering advantages in air, artillery, drone, heavy ground equipment (tanks, APCs) and are attritting Western supplied Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles rapidly. Ukrainian forces are now increasingly implementing their counteroffensive without air cover, tanks, and artillery, suffering massive casualties for minimal gains in territory, which are most often quickly lost again. In a recent Washington Post interview Zalyuzhniy recently berated the West for its unrealistic expectations regarding the counteroffensive, particularly in light of Western failure to supply Kiev with F-16s and sufficient numbers of tanks, APCs, artillery, and ammunition. He pointed out that NATO and Russian military doctrine stipulates one should possess air superiority before launching ground-based, in-depth offensive operations: “And Ukraine, moving to offensive operations, should follow which doctrine?” “NATO’s? The Russian Federation’s? Or is that none of your business? ‘You have your own doctrine. You have tanks, you have some cannons, you have some [fighting vehicles]. You can do it.’ What is that?, he exclaimed.” “Without being fully supplied, these plans are not feasible at all.” (www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/30/valery-zaluzhny-ukraine-general-interview/; see also https://t.me/stranaua/112811). That is putting things mildly. In fact, so far Ukraine’s counteroffensive has won back around 50 sq. km. at the cost of 15-20,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers, several times more wounded, hundreds of tanks, and hundreds of APCs and fighting vehicles including the greater part of the Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles furnished by the West. Ukrainian Defense and Security Council Chairman Oleksiy Danilov has just announced that the counteroffensive is switching from the goal of seizing territory to that of attritting Russian forces (https://t.me/stranaua/112805). This is a direct consequence of the offensive’s failure to reach the first of three defense lines staggered in a depth of some 40 miles, despite the massive losses. It may be that the statements above and others indicate that both Zelenskiy and Zalyuzhniy now understand that its was a mistake to undertake the counteroffensive, perhaps best called ‘operation meat-grinder’ (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18563). One Ukrainian Telegram channel claims a source it has in the Office of the President reports that Zalyuzhniy wants Zelenskiy to suspend the counteroffensive until the arrival of F-16s (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18588 and https://t.me/rezident_ua/18598). But, as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has complained, the training for pilots did not begin in June as promised, meaning the schedule for delivery of over a year would remain (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18592).

Kiev is approaching a time when having proven incapable of making any appreciable ground gains and having depleted its troops, it will be facing a major Russian counter-offensive timed at the precise moment when Ukrainian forces are most exhausted—a classic Russian military strategy of defensive attrition followed by a major counteroffensive. On this background, something must be done to prompt more Western supplies and/or push Western powers to intervene militarily directly under the NATO flag or not. Even without the nuclear provocation, Western powers such as Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia seem to be poised to send forces into western Ukraine. Poland recently reinforced its military presence in eastern Poland near both the Belarusian and Ukrainian borders ostensibly as a reponse to the deployment of what appears to be some 10,000 Wagner forces to Belarus.

It is important to remember that: the ZNPP located in Energodar is currently Russian-occupied territory, Moscow considers it to be part and parcel of the state territory of the Russian Federation, the local population consists of those Moscow considers Russian citizens and many ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers, and Russian troops are at and many more are closer to the plant and would be greater effected by radiation in the event of a release than the more distant Ukrainian troops. Indeed, one source reports that discussion of the possible nuclear incident was sowing panic among the Russian troops in and around Energodar (https://t.me/rezident_ua/18572).

The Maidan regime and Zelenskiy have from the start been wedded to false flag operations. The Maidan regime was born in the blood of the 20 February 2014 terrorist snipers’ massacre in which more than a hundred demonstrators and police were killed. The West and the Maidan regime blamed its on an order from President Viktor Yanukovych, overthrown as a result of the rage sparked by the killings, but findings from the beginning have proven that the attack was carried out precisely as a false flag operation carried out by the radical ultra-nationalist and neo-fascist elements on the Maidan.* When he was a presidential candidate, Zelenskiy himself alluded to this fact (https://interfax.com.ua/news/political/640586.html?fbclid=IwAR0K4kGEZPEfsmOQActT7UXn3A3yRBmawO5MuqcYe6OiIEQMa_JbxrZOHuU).

Since becoming president, however, Zelenskiy has become a serial ‘simulacran’, staging ‘Russian attacks and atrocities’ from Snake Island to Bucha to the Mariupol maternity ward to the Kakhovskii dam to, most recently, the Kramatorsk ‘pizzeria’ attack that killed tens of Ukrainian and Western officers, who were most certainly not eating pizza. The pizzeria victims were, but they also were located, unfortunately, next to a legitimate military target. Is Zelenskiy preparing another signature false flag? Although Zelenskiy has backed off some special operations in the past (recall the Wagner arrest op a few years ago), It looks like the answer this time may be ‘Yes’.


* https://gordonhahn.com/2016/03/09/the-real-snipers-massacre-ukraine-february-2014-updatedrevised-working-paper/; https://www.academia.edu/8776021/The_Snipers_Massacre_on_the_Maidan_in_Ukraine?fbclid=IwAR2e4nJT7JXbryV6H-IAq7LOORjC8mP83K8eHzwnWbgo2GW8TUswfS7IGOU; https://strana.ua/news/280175-zhvanija-razoblachaet-poroshenko-analiz-otkrovenij-byvsheho-deputata.html?fbclid=IwAR34oxBbb5LG645K15ffQhMRGjccec9n0tR1FzwpQbXMNUtSSReSOPY1K0s; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356691143_The_Maidan_Massacre_in_Ukraine_Revelations_from_Trials_and_Investigation; www.youtube.com/watch?v=JChtKpaulOs&feature=emb_title&fbclid=IwAR1KEQC0Uw7TC0zM61UWrpSypm5GiwzTLweXzK7RixEZA4cCeEU7nATfGEA; and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF_-nrSjFNk&fbclid=IwAR0u78fFV8N9IDYWSzHdiyWaBkvHrzZZcnEZOQ9AX61CdebpBGMCTjx5Jr4; https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3115651265131405&id=100000596862745











About the Author 

Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., is an Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, www.canalyt.com. Websites: Russian and Eurasian Politics, gordonhahn.com and gordonhahn.academia.edu

Dr. Hahn is the author of the new book: Russian Tselostnost’: Wholeness in Russian Thought, Culture, History, and Politics (Europe Books, 2022). He has authored five previous, well-received books: The Russian Dilemma: Security, Vigilance, and Relations with the West from Ivan III to Putin (McFarland, 2021); Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the “New Cold War” (McFarland, 2018); The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland, 2014), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), and Russia’s Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction, 2002). He also has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media.

Dr. Hahn taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and was a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Kennan Institute in Washington DC, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group.


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