December 9, 2022

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Russian patrol arrests head of Ukraine's Zaporizhia nuclear plant

Russian patrol arrests head of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear plant

Kyiv (Reuters) – The state-owned company in charge of the state-owned plant said on Saturday that a Russian patrol had detained the general manager of the Russian-occupied Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said Russia confirmed. is moving.

Petro Cotten, head of state-owned Energoatum, said in a statement that Ihor Murashov was arrested on his way from the nuclear reactor, the largest in Europe, to the town of Ennerhodar around 4 pm (1300 GMT) on Friday.

“He was taken out of the car, blindfolded, and taken in an unknown direction,” Kotin wrote on the Telegram messaging app, adding that there was no immediate news of Murashov’s fate.

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Russia has not commented publicly on the issue.

Cotten said he had appealed to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, to take “all possible immediate measures to release Murashov as a matter of urgency.”

Asked by Reuters for comment, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said, “We have contacted the Russian authorities and are asking for clarifications.” The International Atomic Energy Agency said later on Saturday that it had been informed by Russian authorities that Murashov was being held for questioning.

“The agency has requested clarifications from the Russian authorities and has been informed that the director general of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has been temporarily detained for answering questions,” an IAEA spokesman said, without elaborating.

The Zaporizhzhia plant was a focal point in Russia’s seven-month invasion of Ukraine, with Moscow and Kiev accusing each other of bombing the facility, which could lead to a nuclear catastrophe.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the demilitarization of the area around the plant, in which Ukrainians still work.

In his Telegram statement, Kotin said that Murashov “bears primary and exclusive responsibility for the nuclear and radiological safety” of the plant and that his detention “endangers the safety of the operation of Ukraine and the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.”

Kotin called on the Russian forces to “immediately stop acts of nuclear terrorism against the management and personnel” of the station and release Murashov.

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(Pavel Politiuk reports in Kyiv) Additional reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich. Written by William Mallard. Editing by Gareth Jones and David Holmes

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