Russia ‘stockpiling bodies of Ukrainian soldiers’ to use in ‘false flag’ attack on Chernobyl

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine, March 10 - UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT /AFP
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine, March 10 - UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT /AFP

Russia is stockpiling corpses of dead Ukrainian soldiers to plant as evidence in a false flag operation at Chernobyl, Ukrainian officials have warned.

Kyiv's Military Intelligence Directorate said Vladimir Putin planned to release radioactive waste in what would amount to a “terrorist attack”.

In a statement, it said Kremlin forces had been seen laying the groundwork by collecting “fake evidence” to blame Ukraine for a nuclear leak.

“Russian car refrigerators collecting the bodies of dead Ukrainian defenders were spotted near the Antonov airport in Hostomel,” it said. “There is a possibility that they will be presented as killed saboteurs in the Chernobyl zone.”

Russian forces have been in charge of the disused power plant since capturing it in the first few days of the war.

Ukrainian officials say the occupiers have refused to let the facility's repairmen and engineers back on to the site. They warned there was now just 48 hours' worth of diesel left with which to power its emergency generators.

Kyiv says saboteurs posing as Belarusian nuclear experts have been brought in to prepare a “man-made catastrophe for which the occupiers will try to shift responsibility to Ukraine”.

But the Kremlin claims they are technicians who were sent in to restore power to the derelict plant.

Russia argues it is Ukraine and the US which are preparing to trigger biological warfare through the use of chemical weapons.

Moscow's foreign ministry said “radical Ukrainian groups under the control of the representatives of American special services” were plotting atrocities.

It said they were planning multiple attacks including “the destruction of containers with toxic chemicals in highly populated areas”.

“The objective of such actions is to accuse Russia of the use of chemical weapons against the civil population and violating its obligations,” it added.

There is no evidence the claims are anything other than pure fabrication.

Boris Johnson has raised concerns that disinformation is being sown by the Kremlin so it can deflect blame for its own atrocities.

“They start saying that there are chemical weapons that have been stored by their opponents or by the Americans,” the Prime Minister told Sky News.

“And so when they themselves deploy chemical weapons, as I fear they may, they have as a sort of a maskirovka, a fake story ready to go.”

US President Joe Biden vowed that Russia “would pay a severe price if it used chemical weapons” in Ukraine.

But speaking at the White House he ruled out any direct military invention as it would spark “World War Three”.

“We will not fight a war against Russia in Ukraine”, he told reporters.

Russian soldier at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant - Russian Defense Ministry
Russian soldier at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant - Russian Defense Ministry

UK technology minister Chris Philp said the use of chemical weapons would “trigger a dramatic increased response” from the West.

Kyiv says that the aim of any false flag operation at Chernobyl would be to undermine Western support for its defensive efforts.

In an intelligence update posted to social media, Kyiv’s Military Intelligence Directorate said the Kremlin faces having to resort to such tactics because the invasion has stalled.

It wrote: “According to available information Vladimir Putin has ordered the preparation of a terrorist attack at the Chernobyl nuclear station.

“Without getting the desired result from the ground military operation and direct negotiations, Putin is ready to commit nuclear blackmail of the world community.

“Putin’s actions will have catastrophic consequences for the whole world. It looks like this is exactly what the Russian dictator is counting on.”

On Friday night, Mr Putin agreed to provide Belarus with up-to-date military equipment in a meeting with its leader Alexander Lukashenko at the Kremlin. It comes as Kyiv warned that Belarus could join the invasion imminently after Russian fighter jets fired into the country from Ukrainian air space in an apparent "false flag" attack.

The Pentagon said the US had not yet seen evidence that troops from Belarus were in Ukraine. "That's not to say that it couldn't happen or that it wouldn't happen," a Pentagon spokesman said.

Chernobyl has been designated as an exclusion zone since a meltdown at the Soviet-built plant in 1986.

Reactor 4 was covered with a giant steel and concrete sarcophagus in 2016 to prevent any future leaks.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been cut off from the site since Russian troops took it.

Last week, Kremlin forces shelled the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, causing a fire in a training building.

Yesterday they carried out an airstrike on the Kharkiv Physical and Technical Institute which contains a nuclear reactor for experiments.

Western leaders have branded such actions war crimes and raised fears Russia will try to exploit the threat of radioactive fallout spreading across Europe.

The Kremlin has denied indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities and has even claimed Kyiv is carrying out the attacks itself to gain sympathy.