Russian forces, who are controlling Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant have killed at least two staff at the facility and captured and abused dozens of others, the head of Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency said.
The Zaporizhzhia plant, which is the largest in Europe, was captured by the Russian army in March. A recent spike in continuous fights around it has raised fears of nuclear disaster with both Moscow and Kyiv accusing each other for the escalation.
Following the Russian takeover, Petro Kotin said, “A regime of harassment of personnel was gradually established.”
While adding that around 200 people had been arrested, Kotin said that, “Two people were beaten to death. We do not know where about ten people are now, they were taken by the Russians and after that we have no information about their whereabouts.”
He has described the ongoing situation at the plant as “very difficult”, citing ‘torture’ of staff and ‘beatings of personnel.’
He further added, “The Russians look for pro-Ukrainian people and prosecute them. People are broken psychologically.”
Frequent shelling of the plant — including the town of Energodar where the facility is located — means staff have been trying to secure safe passage for family members to leave the area, Kotin said.
“Two people on the territory of the plant were wounded during shelling — a woman and a man — on separate occasions,” Kotin, clad in a military-style jacket, said.
“But people understand that the nuclear safety of the plant depends on them, so the employees return to Energodar and continue working at the facility,” he added.