The saboteurs tried to destroy power lines at two nuclear power stations in the country, the security service says
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has said it intercepted a Ukrainian saboteur group that was planning a terrorist attack against two nuclear power plants in the country ahead of May 9, when Russians celebrate the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany.
The suspects were aiming to blow up more than 30 pylons of high-voltage lines linking to the nuclear power plants, but were unable to fulfill their task, the FSB announced in a statement on Thursday.
Before being detained, the Ukrainian agents were able to blow up one and mine four other transmission towers on power lines leading to the Leningrad nuclear plant near St Petersburg, and placed improvised explosive devices at pylons connected to the Kalinin nuclear power plant in Tver Region, 350km northwest of Moscow, according to the statement.
Ukraine's Foreign Intelligence Service, which according to FSB was behind the plot, hoped that the sabotage "would cause the shutdown of nuclear reactors, disruption of routine operations of the nuclear power plants, and deliver serious economic and reputational damage to Russia," the statement claimed.
The FSB said two Ukrainian citizens were arrested, while another, who is believed to be in Belgium, was placed on the wanted list.
The three men were recruited by Ukrainian intelligence in September last year and underwent training at camps in the Kiev and Nikolaev Regions of Ukraine. They illegally crossed into Russia in Pskov Region from Belarus, which they had entered from Poland, the agency said.
Russian operatives discovered caches prepared by the suspects, containing 36.5kg of C-4 plastic explosives, 61 foreign-made electric detonators, 38 electronic timers and two Makarov pistols with ammunition, the statement read.
Two Russian citizens, accused of providing means of communication and vehicles with fake license plates to the Ukrainian saboteurs, were also detained, the FBS added.