Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday alleged that the UK was behind a foiled plot against a Russian nuclear power plant.
The Russian leader claimed that a group of “saboteurs” was captured by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). “During the questioning, they testified that they were trained under supervision of British instructors,” Putin said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Putin did not offer any evidence for the accusation and did not name what nuclear power plant the saboteurs planned to target but insisted he was telling the truth. “The leadership of British intelligence agencies knows that I am telling the truth,” he said.
The Russian leader questioned if Britain’s leadership was aware of the activities of their intelligence agencies. “Do they even understand what they are playing with? Do they provoke us to some response actions against Ukrainian nuclear facilities, power plants?” he said.
Putin’s accusation comes after Ukraine has significantly stepped up drone attacks inside Russian territory. Moscow has made clear it believes the US and its allies are involved in the attacks, and The Economist recently reported that the operations often use intelligence gathered by Kyiv’s Western backers.
Western involvement in attacks inside Russia, whether real or perceived, risks a major escalation as Moscow could retaliate by targeting NATO. The US shows little concern for the risk, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that “targeting decisions” are up to Ukraine even if they’re using US-provided missiles.