Russia allegedly orders personnel at Europe's largest nuclear power plant to stay home on Friday: report

Russia allegedly orders personnel at Europe's largest nuclear power plant to stay home on Friday: report
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Russian personnel working at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine have reportedly been ordered not to show up on Friday according to Ukrainian military intelligence officials who spoke exclusively with NBC News on Thursday.

"There is new information, it arrived about half an hour ago, that for tomorrow, August 19, there is an order for the majority of the staff not to go to work,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate's spokesperson Andriy Yusov explained to NBC. “This is what the Russians told their people, primarily the employees of [nuclear agency] Rosatom."

Yusov believes that the “large-scale provocations” harbinger an escalation of Russian hostilities. He added that “we do not rule out the possibility of massive Russian provocations on the territory of the ZNPP tomorrow. This is confirmed by their propaganda, information from our sources, and the behavior of the Russians at the station."

READ MORE: Fears grow over Russia planning a 'massive missile attack' on Ukrainian Independence Day: report

Concerns have been ballooning for weeks over the potential for a nuclear disaster as shelling peppers continential Europe's largest atomic energy station, which Russia captured shortly after commencing its unprovoked invasion on February 24th.

Russia and Ukraine have exchanged blame for the bombardments. Russia has also accused Ukraine and its allies of planning a false flag “minor accident" so they can pin it on Moscow.

But "NBC News has not verified the claims of either side," the outlet noted.

Earlier this month, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for international inspectors to be granted access to the facility and said that “any attack on a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing." Guterres shared his remarks at a ceremony in Tokyo on Monday, August 8th commemorating the 77th anniversary of the first atomic bomb that was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th, 1945.

READ MORE: UN chief warns of 'catastrophic consequences' as Russia shells nuclear power plant

This article has been updated to clarify the date of the Hiroshima bombing and Tokyo ceremony.

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