The statement joins other Russian officials in recent weeks to suggest that Russia is preparing for a long-term occupation or even annexing the regions of southern Ukraine it controls, A significant part of the Kherson region and Zaporizhia. ,
“If Ukraine’s energy system is ready to take over and pay, then (the plant) can turn to Ukraine. If (Ukraine) does not accept, then (the plant) will turn to Russia”, Mr. Khausnoulin said. , during a visit to the site of the nuclear installation on Wednesday, Russian agencies reported.
“We have a lot of experience with nuclear power plants, we have companies in Russia that have this experience, no doubt that (the one in Zaporizhia) will continue to operate,” he said.
Ukraine’s nuclear agency Energoatom assured on Thursday morning that the plant was still supplying electricity to Ukraine.
In 2021, that is, before the start of the Russian offensive against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the plant represented 20% of Ukraine’s annual electricity generation and 47% of that produced by the Ukrainian nuclear fleet.
Moscow forces took control of the plant in the southern Ukraine city of Energodar in early March, separated from the regional capital Zaporizhia by waters from the Dnieper, which is still under Ukrainian control.
The clashes there in the early days of the conflict raised fears of a possible nuclear disaster in the country, where a reactor at Chernobyl exploded in 1986.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnulin further said that Russia was here to stay, indicating that merger was an option.
“I believe that the future of the region lies in working within a friendly Russian family. That’s why I have come here to help integrate as much as possible,” he said.
Russian officials and pro-Russian officials set up by Moscow also said last week that the Ukrainian territory of Kherson was most likely to be annexed by Russia.
Russia’s control of the Sea of Azov coastline (Khersan, Zaporizhia and Donestk), including the port of Mariupol, provides a land bridge connecting Russian territory with the Crimean peninsula it annexed in 2014.
By launching his offensive, Vladimir Putin had assured that Russia was not going to occupy Ukrainian territories.
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