Why is Vladimir Putin upset about using Ukraine’s nuclear reactors?

BILLIONThe whole world watched in horror as Russian forces shelled parts of the country with artillery fire Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine. Disaster was immediately averted once the fire was extinguished, but the plant – which has six separate reactors – was seized by Kremlin forces on March 4.

Russia also took control nuclear facility at Chernobyl, although inactive, still contains deadly radioactive substances. The situation at Chernobyl took a dramatic turn for the worse on March 9 when power has been cut off and the electricity-dependent cooling system for used nuclear rods is at stake. A part power-off at Zaporizhzhya a day later.

Ukraine is home to three additional nuclear facilities for a total of nine more reactors, and some observers have theorized that is also the case. likely to be targeted as Russia seeks to gain control of the nation’s electricity supply.

Dr. Robert J. Bunker, research director at security consulting firm ℅ Futures LLC, told The Daily Beast: “The Russians will want to secure the other three Ukrainian nuclear facilities as part of the this strategy. Bunker theorized that “an aerial attack could be used as an initial component of a ground-force attack” to capture one or more of the remaining trees. If or when Russian forces are able to resume the attack, “three reactors at South Ukraine Campus would be the next logical target in this regard. “

A satellite image shows military vehicles next to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on February 25, 2022.

BlackSky via Reuters

So what’s behind the Russian obsession with Ukraine’s nuclear plants?

Let’s start with Russia’s stated rationale for pursuing factories, which is that Kyiv used the materials at these sites to make hydrogen bombs. used its alleged nuclear arsenal against Russia.

The Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs identifies Zakharova as speech that Russia occupied Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya “to prevent any attempt to carry out nuclear provocations, this is an obvious danger”.

US experts interviewed by The Daily Beast have pushed back against those claims.

“It is a baseless invention by Moscow to justify the invasion and seizure of nuclear power plants,” said retired military intelligence officer Hal Kempfer.

Kempfer, who formerly directed a coalition task force researching weapons of mass destruction [WMDs]accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “making up information or ‘facts’ to fit an official narrative, regardless of whether they may be contrived, illogical, ludicrous, baseless or easily refuted. how”, Kempfer, the caller claimed that Ukraine had intended to use WMD “really Orwellian.”

Fear is a very powerful weapon in war.

Bunker, a former professor at the US Army War College, agrees.

“I think the Russian narrative that obscures Putin’s strategic goals and uses propaganda to turn Ukraine defenders into aggressors and war criminals needs to be stopped,” he said. “Also, if a radiation or nuclear event takes place, the Russians might try to label it as part of a phony conspiracy backed by Ukraine or even NATO.”

There may be no WMD plot present, but that doesn’t mean the reactors aren’t a valuable target, especially since the approx. 50% of Ukraine’s electricity is generated from nuclear energy.

“There is strategic operational value in controlling energy and communications hubs and choke points,” said retired Marine Colonel GI Wilson, whose article originated the concept. popular concept about Fourth generation war. “That aspect has considerable value [for the Russians]. ”

According to Kempfer, part of that credit comes from the fact that such grid control would allow the Kremlin to turn off lights at will across vast swaths of Ukraine.

“National power off — like [Russian force] carried out on a smaller scale in Mariupol – in the middle of winter creating much hardship and suffering for the Ukrainian people, and that is clearly a weapon Putin feels free to use,” Kempfer said.

Such a move could also have a chilling effect on the nation’s trade.

“Ukraine’s industry and economy cannot function if 50 percent of the country’s electricity generation capacity is controlled or disabled by Russian forces,” said Futures’ director of research Bunker. “In any future ceasefire or peace negotiations.

The reactors also locate near major railway terminals transporting nuclear fuel. Those same transport hubs could easily be reused by the Russians to move armored vehicles and ammunition to battlefields around Ukraine, especially since their tanks out of gas.

Targets of nuclear facilities — including indiscriminate shelling set parts of Zaporizhzhya on fire and the power outages continued at factories – also sending a deliberate message that this was a kind of war with no limits, in which the danger of nuclear destruction could not be ruled out. devastation.

“It is a psychological weapon that is being used to terrorize the population,” intelligence officer Kempfer said. “They are [targeting nuclear plants] as a way to put enormous pressure on the Ukrainian government to surrender. It is their end game”.

Kempfer also said the takeover was a way to warn the US and NATO against their potential involvement in the conflict.

“[The Kremlin] could raise the specter of radioactive catastrophe without introducing nuclear weapons. Putin is a calculating man and he realizes that we are very concerned whenever a nuclear plant is threatened. The world has seen Chernobyl, the world has seen Fukushima, and we don’t want to see that again.”

Kempfer likened Ukraine’s pursuit of nuclear plants to Rome’s tactic of sewing salt into Cartheginian soil at the end of the Punic War, so that nothing would grow there. “They are talking […] we can irradiate a large part of Ukraine so that it is dead earth and you can never use it again. That’s an implied threat. That they can turn the whole of Ukraine into a big Chernobyl.”

Taking a risk that could lead to a catastrophic crash may be intended to show Russia’s disregard for the fallout’s consequences, but Bunker thinks there could be an even darker motive. more, more intentional to track down the reactors.

“If the Putin regime wants to play ‘dictatorship hardball,’ it could threaten to release radioactive material into the atmosphere from the Zaporizhzhia facility under its control,” Bunker said. Such a move could be used to force Kyiv to accept Russian rule or “as a deterrent to prevent Ukrainian forces from retaking the facility”.

Marine Colonel Wilson called such behavior “Russian skill” designed “to give the impression of turning the game around in a very high-stakes encounter” in which “everything are all targetable and nothing is safe.”

“Fear,” Wilson said, “is a very powerful weapon in war.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-vladimir-putin-is-hell-bent-on-taking-ukraines-nuclear-reactors?source=articles&via=rss Why is Vladimir Putin upset about using Ukraine’s nuclear reactors?

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: russellfalcon@interreviewed.com.

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