Ukraine’s state nuclear energy agency on Tuesday, Oct.18, accused Russia of detaining two senior employees at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.

In a statement on social media, Energoatom said Russian forces on Monday “kidnapped” the head of information technology Oleh Kostyukov and the plant’s assistant general director Oleh Osheka and “took them to an unknown destination”.

Energoatom called on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi “to make every effort” to secure their release.

Russian troops captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant at the beginning of March, in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine has recently accused Russia of detaining several of the plant’s employees.

Last week Energoatom said Russia detained and mistreated the plant’s deputy director general for human resources, Valeriy Martyniuk.

The energy agency has not released updates on Martyniuk’s situation since then.

In late September, the agency said Russia detained the chief of the power station, Ihor Murashov, for several days before releasing him on October 3.

The nuclear plant — Europe’s largest atomic facility — is located in Russian-held territory of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, which Moscow claims to have annexed together with three other territories in Ukraine: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson.

EXPLAINED: How Ukraine Could Soon Achieve a ‘Significant Breakthrough’ in the South
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EXPLAINED: How Ukraine Could Soon Achieve a ‘Significant Breakthrough’ in the South

Western analysts have outlined three factors that need to hold true for Ukraine’s troops to make further progress in the south. Meanwhile, Russian sources sound more than a bit flustered.

Moscow and Kyiv have traded blame for months over shelling near the Russian-held facility, sparking fears of a nuclear disaster and spurring calls to de-militarise areas around atomic facilities in Ukraine.

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