HomeWorldRussia blindfolds and arrests the head of the Ukrainian nuclear plant

Russia blindfolds and arrests the head of the Ukrainian nuclear plant


Russian forces have blindfolded and detained the head of Europe’s largest nuclear plant, Ukraine’s nuclear power supplier said on Saturday, reigniting simmering fears about the safety of the plant.

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Friday’s alleged kidnapping apparently took place shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated his war in Ukraine and took it into a dangerous new phase by annexing four Ukrainian regions that Moscow controls in whole or in part and increasing threats of force. nuclear.

In a possible attempt to secure Moscow’s control over the newly annexed territory, Russian forces seized the general director of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ihor Murashov, around 4 p.m. on Friday, the Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom said. .

This handout photo, taken from a video and released by the Press Service of the Russian Defense Ministry on August 7, 2022, shows a general view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in territory under Russian military control, in southeastern Ukraine.
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Putin on Friday signed treaties to absorb the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, including the area around the nuclear plant.

Energoatom said Russian troops stopped Murashov’s car, blindfolded him and then took him to an undisclosed location.

“His detention by (Russia) endangers the security of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant,” said Energoatom president Petro Kotin, demanding the director’s immediate release.

Russia did not immediately acknowledge the capture of the plant director.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday that Russia told it that “the director general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was temporarily detained to answer questions.”

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at the 66th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, September 26, 2022.

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at the 66th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, September 26, 2022.
(AP Photo/Theresa Wey)

The Vienna-based IAEA said “in line with its nuclear safety mandate” it “has been actively seeking clarification and looks forward to a speedy and satisfactory resolution of this matter.”

The power plant has repeatedly been caught in the crossfire of the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian technicians continued to operate the power plant after it was seized by Russian troops. Its last reactor was shut down in September as a precautionary measure because constant shelling nearby damaged power transmission lines to the plant.

The plant is a strategic trophy for Russia and has raised global concern as the only nuclear plant caught up in modern warfare. Active fighting nearby means it is unlikely to produce electricity again any time soon, even if Russia installs its own management.

It is like a town in itself, with about 11,000 workers before the war. While many have fled amid the fighting, others have stayed behind to ensure the safety of their radioactive materials and structures.

The Russian ship Mikhail Dudin docks at the port of Dunkirk in northern France on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. As Europe cracks down on Russia's oil and gas, it continues to import and export nuclear fuel to and from the country, since the sector is not under sanctions caused by the war in Ukraine.

The Russian ship Mikhail Dudin docks at the port of Dunkirk in northern France on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. As Europe cracks down on Russia’s oil and gas, it continues to import and export nuclear fuel to and from the country, since the sector is not under sanctions caused by the war in Ukraine.
(AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)

Energoatom spokesmen told The Associated Press on Saturday that employees at the Zaporizhzhia power plant are being forced to submit requests to report to Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear power giant that operates Russian nuclear plants.

Murashov was against handing over the Zaporizhzhia plant to Rosatom, but Energoatom spokesmen could not confirm that this was the reason for his kidnapping.

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Murashov had access to security codes, coordinated all work at the plant, made sure protocols were followed and reported to Kyiv, according to Energoatom spokesmen. Ukrainian authorities appointed him to head the plant several days before Russian troops entered Ukraine.

However, Energoatom said that it has not lost connections with the plant and all important parameters of its work are still being reported to Kyiv.



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