Russia wants to withdraw from Ukraine its largest nuclear power plant in Europe in Zaporozhye, occupied by the Russian army, if Kyiv does not pay Moscow for the generated electricity, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said on Wednesday.
This statement joins other statements made by the Russian authorities in recent weeks that suggest that Russia is preparing a long-term occupation or even annexation of territories it controls in southern Ukraine: Kherson region and a significant part of Zaporozhye.
If the energy system of Ukraine is ready to accept and pay, [a central] may return [às mãos] from Ukraine. if [a Ucrânia] will not accept, (the plant) will go to Russia,” Khusnullin said during a visit to the nuclear facility on Wednesday, quoted this Thursday by Russian news agencies.
“We have a lot of experience with nuclear power plants, we have companies in Russia that have such experience, there is no doubt that (the one in Zaporozhye) will continue to work,” he said.
The Ukrainian Atomic Energy Agency Energoatom assured this Thursday morning that the nuclear power plant continues to supply electricity to Ukraine.
Russians “they do not have the technical ability to supply energy from the Zaporozhye NPP”assured the press secretary of “Energoatom” Leonid Oleinik, whose words are quoted by the French news agency AFP.
“It takes time and money. It’s like building a bridge in the Crimea. And in a month or two, we will return Ukrainian control over everything,” he added.
According to the spokesman, “no one will have to buy anything from them. [russos]”.
Oliynik also assured that Russia does not have the ability to cut off electricity to the regions of Ukraine not controlled by Russia, if only because “all the necessary equipment is under the control of Ukraine.”
In 2021, that is, before the start of the Russian offensive against Ukraine on February 24, the Zaporozhye NPP produced 20% of the annual electricity production in Ukraine and 47% of the Ukrainian nuclear fleet.
Marat Khusnullin further stated that Russia remains in this region of Ukraine, which apparently implies the annexation of the zone.
“I believe that the future of this region is to work in a friendly Russian family. That’s why I came here to help integration as much as possible,” said the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
Russian and pro-Russian officials stationed in Ukraine by Moscow also said last week that the Ukrainian region Kherson is likely to be annexed to Russia.
Russia is preparing referendums in Kherson and Zaporozhye, Ukrainian authorities said