Ukraine's President Zelensky has once again been warning the public and the West that Russia is planning to stage some kind of disastrous nuclear fallout event centered on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe's largest. The claims from Ukrainian top officials have been persisting for weeks at this point, but have grown louder in the last several days, as Americans are busy with July 4th festivities.
"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," Zelensky claimed days ago at a joint news conference in Kyiv. Ukrainian intelligence is at the same time this week saying Russia's military is reducing its presence there and has told staff to relocate to Crimea.
The Guardian on Saturday cited Ukraine's intelligence arm, the GUR, to say that "several representatives of Russia’s state nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, have already left" and further that "Ukrainian employees who stayed at the plant and signed contracts with Rosatom had been told to evacuate by Monday, preferably to Crimea, it said."
All of this is of course impossible to confirm, and such allegations centered on Zaporizhzhia have been consistent throughout much of the war, at times coming from both sides.
"On Thursday Ukraine conducted nuclear disaster response drills in the vicinity of the power station, regional officials said," The Guardian wrote further.
The Kremlin has expressly denied the Ukrainian allegations:
Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, replied saying that he had written to the UN security council and secretary general, António Guterres, to state: "We do not intend to blow up this NPP [nuclear power plant], we have no intention of doing so."
All this has resulted in heightened international scrutiny over operations at the plant. Ukraine says "the world is watching."
The Ukrainian government has actually been making these claims for weeks, with some independent observers such as David Sachs saying this could set the stage for a "Gulf of Tonkin moment".
Below is what Sachs wrote last month when Ukrainian claims regarding Zaporizhzhia plant grew louder and louder...
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Is a Gulf of Tonkin moment at hand? Shortly after returning from his latest trip to Kyiv, Senator Graham along with Blumenthal introduced his resolution providing Article 5 guarantees to Ukraine in the event that, among other things, a nuclear facility is destroyed in Ukraine.
Just coincidentally, the Ukrainian government including Zelensky and intel chief Budanov started issuing warnings about Russian plans to blow up the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, even though the plant is under Russian control and blowing it up would have no strategic value.
Ukrainian propaganda channels keep pumping this claim without evidence. Of course, a compliant media has not pressed them for any, simply repeating the claims as if they come from an unbiased source. If ZNPP gets destroyed, we won’t know for sure who did it, but we can be sure that the media will reflexively blame it on Russia, as they ludicrously did with the destruction of Nord Stream.
Ukraine is losing the war like South Viet Nam, a "Gulf of Tonkin Moment" is necessary to put NATO soldiers in Ukraine pic.twitter.com/o59hlxqAJs— Juan Luis Tostado (@JuanLuisTostad1) July 3, 2023
This press dynamic combined with the Graham-Blumenthal resolution actually creates a perverse incentive for *someone* to destroy ZNPP if they want to draw America deeper into the conflict. Biden has previously sworn that America will not get directly involved, on the grounds that would start World War III, but he also promised not to provide F-16s for the same reason.
We know what happened with that promise. In 1965, LBJ committed large numbers of American troops to the Vietnam War after previously stating "We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."
The outrage over the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which we now know to be a lie, created the pretext for that involvement. If ZNPP is destroyed, look for howls of outrage from the War Party seeking the "Americanization" of the Ukraine war to begin.