The director of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has been detained by Russian troops, according to Ukraine’s state nuclear regulator Energoatom.
Friday at approximately 16:00 local time (13:30 GMT), Ihor Murashov’s vehicle was stopped as it traveled from the facility to the nearby city of Enerhodar, Enerhoatom’s president told that he was then blindfolded and believed to have been taken to a prison facility in Enerhodar.
In March, Moscow seized Europe’s largest nuclear plant and retained its Ukrainian staff, Both Ukraine and Russia accuse one another of repeatedly shelling the nuclear power plant, amid global concerns that this could result in a major radiation incident in Europe.
In a statement released on Saturday, the president of Energoatom, Petro Kotin, stated that Mr. Murashov “has primary and sole responsibility for the nuclear and radiation safety” of the nuclear plant.
He stated that Friday’s arrest “threatens the operation of Ukraine’s and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant”
Moreover, he said that the arrest occurred as Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, including Zaporizhzhia.
Mr. Kontin stated that representatives of the Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom had visited the facility “just two days ago.” In accordance with the annexation of the region, the power plant will be transferred from Ukrainian control to Rosatom control, they said.
Mr. Kontin believes the kidnapping of Mr. Musharov was an attempt to convince him to accept the transfer of the Ukrainian power plant to Russia.
“They are attempting to convince him to approve of the transfer of [the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant] from Ukraine to Rosatom. But I am certain he opposes it. Previously, he had repeatedly refused to accept the Russian world, etc “
Mr Kontin said.
The president of the plant accused Russia of “nuclear terrorism” and called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to demand the immediate release of the plant’s director, the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is situated near Enerhodar in the occupied southern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine.
According to Ukraine, Russian troops are using the station as a military base, and employees are effectively being held at gunpoint.
Moscow refutes the accusation
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin formally annexed the Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk, a move widely condemned by Ukraine and the West, Moscow does not fully control any of Ukraine’s four eastern and southern regions.