In Ukraine, Russian troops occupying Europe's largest nuclear power plant have thrown its staff into the basement.
According to Newsweek, it is unclear who is currently operating the Zaporizhzhia plant, which has been in Russian control since March. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that until now, the usual Ukrainian staff had been operating the plant on rotation, albeit under extreme pressure.
But Dmytro Orlov, mayor of the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, where the plant is located, said, "People are being taken straight from the nuclear power plant ... and they're being thrown into basements." He estimated that more than a dozen of the plant's staff have been affected.
In April, at about the time of the 36th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the European Union demanded Russia withdraw its troops from the plant, stating they were "threatening nuclear security on our continent."
The EU released the following statement at the time, according to a translation provided by Radio Liberty: "Illegal occupation and disruptions in the normal operation of these facilities, such as preventing staff rotation, undermine the safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants in Ukraine and significantly increase the risk of accidents."
In March, a battle erupted near the plant between Russian and Ukrainian forces that caused panic due to potential damage to the plant's reactors. In one instance, a fire broke out in part of the plant, but it was later extinguished.
While the plant has averted any major accidents so far, IAEA Director Rafael Mariano Grossi said he's concerned that the situation there is worsening day by day. Grossi has since called for an IAEA-led international mission to carry out essential safety checks on the plant.
"This mission is not a matter of wanting or wishing, it is an obligation on the side of Ukraine and on the side of the IAEA," Grossi stated. "The IAEA will go to Zaporizhzhia under the legally binding safeguards agreement that Ukraine has with the IAEA."
Reportedly, Russia sent nuclear specialists from its state-owned nuclear company Rosatom to Zaporizhzhia. But no further details have been provided.
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