Amid an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) says Kiev uses nuclear power plants throughout its territory to stockpile Western-supplied weapons.
“The Ukrainian armed forces are storing weapons and ammunition provided by the West on the territory of nuclear power plants,” an SVR statement said on Monday.
Kiev shipped consignments of the weapons to the Rivne power station in northwestern Ukraine in the last week of December, the SVR said as an example. The facility, it claimed, was being used to store away United States-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers, air defense systems, and artillery ammunition.
Asked about the report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it demonstrated the importance of maintaining dialogue with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog. Peskov, however, added that there are currently no plans for a meeting between Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi and President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected the SVR’s report.
“Ukraine has never stored any weapons on NPP (nuclear power plants) territory, as falsely claimed by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service. On the contrary, the Russian Federation seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and keeps its military there,” he said on Twitter.
Podolyak added that Ukraine remains “open to inspecting bodies, including the IAEA” and that “Russian lies are aimed to justify their provocations.”
Ukraine’s nuclear power stations have been the focus of attention since the start of the war last February. Moscow claims the war is aimed at defending the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev, and also to “de-Nazify” its neighbor.
Russian forces seized the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant less than 48 hours after the war was launched and also captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine — the largest in Europe — early in the war.
Kiev and Moscow have been reciprocally accusing each other of bombing Zaporizhzhia, prompting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to warn that attacks on the facility or in its vicinity could lead to a nuclear disaster.
EU allocates more military aid to Ukraine
Also on Monday, the European Union’s foreign ministers agreed to set aside another 500-million-euro ($542-million) military aid package for Ukraine.
The package is the seventh of its kind to be entitled to Ukraine by the 27-nation bloc since the launch of the war.
“We remain steadfast in our support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Sweden, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, tweeted.
The foreign ministers also approved a further 45 million euros for “non-lethal equipment” for the EU’s military training mission for Ukraine, Swedish and
Czech officials said.
The announcement came a day after Germany, which had so far refused to send tanks to Ukraine, said it would not stand in the way of Poland if it wanted to give German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev.
Moscow has warned that pumping Kiev full of Western arms would only prolong the already drawn-out conflict.