Ukrainian commandos have failed on three occasions to gain a foothold in Energodar, the city in Russia’s Zaporozhye Region where Europe’s largest nuclear plant is located, Kiev’s military intelligence head has admitted.
Kirill Budanov, chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, and others involved in the botched operations, were cited in an article publshed on Sunday by the news outlet NV.
- The first attempt to seize control of territory in Energodar, which took place in August 2022 according to the outlet, involved commandos crossing the Kakhovka water reservoir on civilian speedboats. The most recent effort was a major operation involving hundreds of troops, including foreign fighters.
Budanov and his subordinates explained that the GUR troops had been repelled by Russian forces on each occasion, but claimed that the failures had some value. Surviving troops and planners gained experience in amphibious operations, which has since been used to attack Crimea, they said.
Meanwhile, Kiev’s overarching goal of preventing Russia from supplying electricity generated by the Zaporozhye plant to the region was achieved thanks to moles, according to Ukrainian sources.
Russian officials reported several Ukrainian attempts to seize Energodar last year, the largest of which took place in mid-October.
- Kiev deployed 37 speedboats for the amphibious assault and lost some 90 troops to Russian retaliation, they said at the time. People in Zaporozhye Region, formerly a part of Ukraine, voted to join Russia in September 2022.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, has repeatedly warned about the risks that hostilities near the Zaporozhye plant may pose to its safety. It has failed to mediate an agreement between Russia and Ukraine for a no-fighting zone around Energodar.
Last week, Ukrainian commandos were killed or captured during a landing in Crimea after their watercraft were attacked by Russian warplanes.
The Russian security service, the FSB, claimed that survivors had said the goal of the operation was to film troops holding a Ukrainian flag on Russian soil.