Unidentified white objects have been spotted on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s Reactor 4 in two recent satellite photographs.
On July 5, the day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky raised the prospect of bombs being installed at the site, these pictures were taken by Planet Labs, a satellite imagery business.
Five distinct white forms are plainly apparent in one of the photographs, which was captured at 7:51 UTC (8:51 BST).
Only three of the white entities are visible in the following photograph, which was taken at 10:16 UTC (11:16 BST).
There are no discernible white forms in a third photograph that was taken before the other two, tagged by Planet Labs as 05:27 UTC (06:27 BST).
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This discrepancy might be explained by changes in lighting, although the evidence is still ambiguous.
It is not possible to make a firm determination on the nature or identity of the observed shapes based only on satellite photos.
President Zelensky said the following in a video message on Tuesday: “Now we have information from our intelligence that the Russian troops have placed objects resembling explosives on the roof of several power units of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
“Perhaps to simulate an attack on the plant. Perhaps they have some other scenario.”
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Zelensky precisely identified the sites of these claimed devices as reactors three and four.
Using the footage at her disposal, Darya Dolzikova, a member of the Royal United Services Institute’s proliferation and nuclear policy team, reported difficulties determining the nature of the alterations seen on the roofs.
She said is still unclear whether these modifications have anything to do with the explosive devices that Ukrainian intelligence claimed would be located on the reactor roofs at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.
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Ms Dolzikova continued: “But the sourcing of independent, reliable imagery is important and can help in verifying claims of what is happening at the ZNPP.
“However, the images, including the challenges related to verifying what they actually show, also once again stress the importance of granting the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) all the access that it is asking for at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”
The organisation has formally asked for further permission to investigate the turbine halls, rooftops of two reactor units, and certain areas of the cooling system at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.
This request is used to check that there are no explosives present.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi, emphasised the value of having their experts on the scene to obtain accurate data.
He explained the current situation at the facility would be clarified with the help of independent and objective reports from these specialists, which is crucial at this time.
Mr Grossi said: “Our experts must be able to verify the facts on the ground. Their independent and objective reporting would help clarify the current situation at the site, which is crucial at a time like this.”
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