- Footage shows Russian military vehicles at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility.
- The video was filmed inside a turbine hall connected to a nuclear reactor.
- Moscow has said its only presence at the facility is for guard duty, not nuclear-related operations.
At Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility, where intensified shelling has fanned fears of a nuclear disaster, new video has surfaced online showing Russian military vehicles inside a turbine hall connected to a nuclear reactor.
The video, which started going viral on social media on Thursday, has been geolocated and its veracity verified by CNN. The exact time the video was shot is unknown.
The video depicts one of the six turbine rooms on the western side of the nuclear power station, which is situated in the city of Enerhodar in the southeast. Each turbine hall is linked to the others and part of a sizable structure that contains a nuclear reactor.
Just over 400 feet (130 meters) from the reactor, the vehicles—which appear to be typical Russian military trucks—are parked on the ground level in the building’s extreme western corner.
The footage shows at least five vehicles, including one with the pro-war emblem “Z” clearly visible, as well as at least two tent-like structures close by. The cars are surrounded by a variety of pallets.
The pallets and tent-like buildings are seen in the footage, but it’s unclear whether they belong to the Russian military or have anything to do with power plant operations.
Moscow has asserted in the past that the only military hardware present at the facility is for guard tasks. According to a statement made by the Russian Ministry of Defense on Thursday, satellite photography “shows that armaments, notably heavy ones, are not stationed on the area of this station.”
The Russian Defense Ministry was contacted by CNN for comment regarding what is inside and around the military vehicles in the turbine room, but a response was not immediately received.
In especially surrounding the facility, Ukraine and Russia have each accused the other of threatening nuclear terrorism.
Russian soldiers are allegedly keeping heavy weapons inside the complex and using it as cover for strikes, knowing that Ukraine cannot retaliate without running the risk of damaging one of the plant’s reactors. This accusation has been made by Kyiv on numerous occasions. Meanwhile, Moscow has asserted that Ukrainian soldiers are aiming towards the location.
Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s state nuclear energy organization, claimed on Monday that Russia was keeping “six vehicles” in the “second engine room” and “14 units of heavy military equipment” in the “first power unit.”
According to satellite images of the complex provided to CNN by Planet Labs, Russian military vehicles have not been present at the site since July 24.
After a Ukrainian military strike on July 19, it is unknown if the Russian military trucks are being housed inside the turbine room or if they are using it as cover. Nearly 1,000 feet (more than 300 meters) from one of the nuclear reactors, in three tents, were Russian military men who were the target of the attack.
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