Zaporizhia nuclear power plant staff testified

A view shows the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, August 30, 2022. ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO / REUTERS

An engineer at the plant claimed that the Russian security forces were carrying out acts of torture so that the employees could not speak before the group from the International Atomic Energy Agency expected on Thursday, September 1.

Thursday, September 1, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was expected at the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, where it wants a permanent presence to prevent a possible disaster, amid the war between Ukraine and Russia. . In an article published on August 25, the wire uncovered testimonies from plant staff – who were on duty or escaped – who claimed that Russian security forces tortured them to prevent them from speaking before members of the United Nations.

They described, on condition of anonymity, a situation of fear and intimidation, which included many arrests. “We are all concerned about the possible visit of IAEA representatives. they (the Russians, Editor’s Note) can organize provocations and then blame them on Ukraine. Looks like that’s exactly their planan engineer told the newspaper. For the duration of the visit, they plan to keep the presence of our staff to a minimum and place two or three of their representatives in each control room.“.

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According to this engineer, many plant employees were arrested at home or on their way to work: “Now I understand that their army is weak, but their FSB service is working. One of their methods here is to bring the workers to the control room in the basement.l,” he said, “used a Russian colloquialism referring to secret police detention and torture“, determines the wire. The engineer continued:Our management kept quiet about it, so as not to create panic, but the people who come back after these ‘conversations’ in the basement keep quiet. It is not surprising if during the mission, they suddenly say what they are asked to say.»

Three witnesses, who worked at the plant or who recently left it, also spoke wire that Russian forces have reduced manpower to dangerously low levels and imposed movement restrictions that make it difficult to do their jobs.

More than 11,000 people work at the Zaporizhia power plant, one of four nuclear power plants that supplied about half of Ukraine’s electricity before the war. Since then, kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of bombing near the complex, near the town of Energodar, on the Dnieper River, and thus putting the site at risk. Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned on Saturday of the risk of radioactive leaks and fires after new strikes. In recent weeks, Zaporijjia has crystallized the concerns of Westerners. The UN has called for an end to all military activity in the surrounding area.

Initially, Ukraine feared that such a visit would legitimize Russia’s occupation of the site in the eyes of the international community before eventually supporting the idea of ​​an IAEA mission. Before this”dangerousPresident Volodymyr Zelensky urged the UN nuclear police on Friday to send a team as soon as possible. This group of 14 people arrived on Wednesday in the city of the same name, about 50 kilometers as the crow flies from this complex that has been occupied since the beginning of March by the Russians and the subject of serious concern from the international community .


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