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WAR PROPAGANDA: Russia attacked Chernobyl, Zaporizhzhya and Kharkiv in order to prevent Ukraine from manufacturing nuclear weapons.

A screen grab taken from a surveillance camera footage the Zaporizhzhya NPP published on YouTube shows a flare landing at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling, Ukraine, 04 March 2022.
©EPA-EFE/Zaporizhzhya NPP / HANDOUT  |   A screen grab taken from a surveillance camera footage the Zaporizhzhya NPP published on YouTube shows a flare landing at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling, Ukraine, 04 March 2022.

Russia reportedly attacked certain sites in Ukraine in order to prevent Ukraine from producing military weapons. This is how the Russian media describes the attacks on Kharkiv, the capturing of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the occupation of the disaffected nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, where the world’s biggest nuclear disaster occurred in 1986.

NEWS: “In recent years, Kyiv has expressed a keen interest for exploiting and enriching uranium, calling on foreign companies for support, a representative of the Russian line ministry has told RIA Novosti. According to the Russian official, Ukraine has amped up its efforts to exploit in-depth layers of uranium mines, and already starting developing new mining sites in the Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kirovohrad oblasts. Moreover, the authorities have used the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to reprocess plutonium and create a “dirty” bomb, the aforementioned source added.

[…]

Furthermore, there are reasons to believe the United States have transferred plutonium to Kyiv authorities at one point in time, which was used to build a nuclear charge. Kyiv is now very close to creating a nuclear plutonium-based charge. The process would have been completed over the next few months. The Institute for Physics and Technology in Kharkiv was reportedly instrumental in devising this explosive nuclear device.

As the Russian official also pointed out, the armed clashes close to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant occurred because the plant was home to key documents regarding the manufacturing of nuclear weapons by Kyiv.”

NARRATIVE: Ukraine wants to obtain nuclear weapons, posing an existential risk to Russia, thus forcing it to launch a military operation.

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: Right now, Ukraine has no nuclear weapons and there is no evidence confirming it ever tried to manufacture such weapons. This propaganda narrative about preparations to reprocess plutonium and uranium, as well as about classified documents in Chernobyl, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhya, are merely a pretext to justify an invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, public opinion in Russia has been fed such narratives for a while now. In February, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, said that Russia cannot afford to remain idle to a possible nuclear threat coming from Ukraine.

The power plant in Chernobyl is disaffected, and is now under the control of Russian troops advancing towards Kyiv from Belarus. The heavy military equipment brought over by the Russians have stirred up radioactive dust, which led to an increase in radiation levels.

In the wake of armed clashes, the Russian forces also captured the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhya, also causing a fire. This prompted the international community to condemn Russia’s actions. Previously, the Russian forces violated safety protocols by imposing a military command of the power station.

In order to provide additional layers of legitimacy to this piece of news for the Russians back home, who are fed fears about “American imperialism”, the article also recalls the USA’s “support”. In fact, Ukraine purchases nuclear fuel from Westinghouse (USA) in order to supplement its own reserve, required to ensure the stability and functionality of its nuclear power plants.

Ukraine used to own nuclear weapons, inherited from the USSR, which it gave up in exchange for pledges made by the USA, the United Kingdom and Russia that its sovereignty and territorial integrity will remain intact. Russia is the one that encroached on its commitments ever since 2014, when it invaded and occupied the Crimean Peninsula and supplied military equipment and manpower to pro-Russian insurgents in Donbas. Moscow has violated its own commitment again in 2022.

Tags: Ukraine , Russia , Ukraine crisis , War in Ukraine
Propaganda de Razboi - Razboi in UCRAINA
  • Publication / Media:
    NEWS.RU
  • Date of publication:
    06/03/2022
  • Target audience:
    Russian speakers in Russia, Ukraine and ex-Soviet republics
  • Amplification:
    RIA Novosti, RT, Interfax, Russia 24
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Ukraine is seeking nuclear weapons, and that poses an existential risk to Russia, forcing it to launch a military operation.
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