When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Did Putin Tip Off Dam Attack With A Veiled Nuclear Threat Last Week?

After significant sections of the Nova Kakhovka dam were destroyed in a Russian-controlled part of southern Ukraine, independent Russian media Agents.Media has pieced together Vladimir Putin declarations on May 30 that may have been a warning of a false-flag attack.

Image of ​Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in Moscow

The torrent of water unleashed after the attack of the Nova Kakhovka dam has flooded several nearby villages and sparked widespread evacuations. But it has also prompted fears for the security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which depends on water from the river for cooling.

The proximity to the plant is, however, not the only link to a possible nuclear risk. After the breach of the dam, the Russian secret service FSB claimed to have thwarted a planned dirty bomb attack on Russian soil. The FSB claim comes exactly a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the specter of a dirty bomb attack and threats to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is just upstream from the Nova Kakhovka dam.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Commentators have interpreted Putin’s statements as a veiled threat directed towards Ukraine, and the latest allusion to a possible Russian "false flag" operation that is used as a pretext for a major attack in response.

“Citizens of Ukraine, who, of course, do not have any say right now as total terror has been unleashed against them (by the Kyiv government), should at least know what the current leadership of their country is pushing for,” Putin said on May 30. “They must understand that there are other threats. For example, attempts to disrupt the operation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant or to use some dirty devices linked to nuclear technology. We have talked about this more than once. We know what they have in mind.”

Dirty bomb?

Following a comment on an apparent Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow on May 30, Putin accused Kyiv of plotting to disrupt the functioning of the Zaporizhzhia plant and of planning to use dirty bombs. Is it a coincidence that just a week later, on Tuesday morning, a significant breach in the Nova Kakhovka dam occurred, threatening water supplies to the nuclear plant’s cooling systems?

It was shortly after the incident, that the FSB made their claim about the would-be Ukrainian strike on Russian territory with a dirty bomb, a conventional explosive combined with radioactive material.

The FSB reported the detention of two people who it claimed were pilots who confessed to plotting the delivery of dirty bombs to an unspecified location. These devices were allegedly equipped with delay timers, intended to detonate simultaneously and render the targeted area uninhabitable, the secret service claimed.

Image of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

© Michael Brochstein / ZUMA

Shoigu's claims

Ukrainian nuclear energy operator, Energoatom, warned that the destruction of the dam could result in a significant decrease in water levels. But according to the operator, the current water supply is sufficient to maintain the safety of the nuclear plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also stated that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety yet.

Russian authorities talked about the threat of a dirty bomb last fall. In October, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called his counterparts from the United States, Britain, France and Turkey and claimed that Ukraine was preparing for a provocation using a dirty bomb.

Kyiv has denied Moscow's assertions, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in October that Russia was planning a "false flag" operation at the Kakhovka dam.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Piercing The "Surovikin Line" — Inside The Biggest Win Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the centre of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

photo of two soldiers advancing at daybreak

A new dawn across the front line?

Kyrylo Danylchenko

ROBOTYNE — Since the fall of 2022, Russian forces have been building a series of formidable defensive lines in Ukrainian territory, from Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region to the front in Vremivka in the Donetsk region.

These defenses combined high-density minefields, redoubts (fortified structures like wooden bunkers, concrete fortifications and buried granite blocks), as well as anti-tank ditches and pillboxes. Such an extensive and intricate defensive network had not been seen in Europe since World War II.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest