Petro Kotin, the President of EnergoAtom, the Ukrainian state-owned company which oversees the four nuclear facilities in Ukraine, announced that Russian forces have “kidnapped up to 100 people from the station’s employees and that only some of these people then return to work with a broken psyche, making a statement that they love the Russian world because of the tortures that are applied to them by the invaders.”
Just last week, Russian forces kidnapped two more employees of the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The captured specialists were both working in the sphere of decontamination. The hostages, Olena Riabtseva and Serhiy Pikhtin, have not been heard from since being taken by the Russian soldiers. Pikhtin is the Deputy Director of the “Department of Decontamination” at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
As reported by the Kyiv Post, Russia has stoked mass international criticism due to its flippant and reckless treatment of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. In a blatant disregard for public safety, Russia has taken nuclear facilities “as hostages” from where they shoot at Ukrainian positions.
News reports have indicated that Russia has used Ukrainian nuclear facilities, including those in Zaporizhia and Chernobyl, as camping grounds for their soldiers. The Russians’ gambit has been that Ukraine would be unwilling to return fire on a nuclear facility, which would then put the entire nation at risk.
In a move that shocked many observers, Russian troops took the famous Chernobyl power plant on the second day of the war. Despite the contamination in the area as a result of the April 1986 explosion, evidence uncovered once the Russians were forced to retreat, show that the Russian troops dug-in and lived in areas in the Exclusion Zone, thus exposing themselves to radioactive waste. At the time, stories appeared saying that Russian soldiers were receiving treatment for sickness stemming from this incident, in Belarus.
Given the complex situation now in Ukraine, Kotkin stated that though there are typically around 10,000 employees at the power plant in Energodar, currently far fewer are located on-site.
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