An engineer at the plant claims that the Russian security forces are carrying out acts of torture so that the employees do not speak in front of the team from the International Atomic Energy Agency expected on Thursday, September 1.
Thursday, September 1, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, in the south-east of Ukraine, where it wants a permanent presence to avoid a possible catastrophe, in the midst of the war between Ukraine and Russia. In an article published on August 25the Telegram uncovers testimonies from plant personnel – on duty or who have escaped – who claim that Russian security forces torture them to prevent them from speaking in front of members of the United Nations.
They described, on condition of anonymity, an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, which includes several arrests. “We are all worried about the possible visit of representatives of the IAEA. They (the Russians, Editor’s note) could organize provocations and then blame them on Ukraine. Looks like that’s exactly what they plan to doan 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“.
According to this engineer, several employees of the plant were arrested at home or on the way to work: “Now I understand that their army is weak, but their FSB service is working. One of their methods here is to take control room workers to the basement.l,” he said, “using a Russian colloquialism to refer to secret police detention and torture“, specifies the Telegram. The engineer continues:Our management keeps quiet about this, so as not to create panic, but people who return after these ‘conversations’ in the basement remain silent. It will not be surprising if during the mission, they suddenly start saying what they have been asked to say.»
Three witnesses, who work at the plant or who have recently left it, also told the Telegram that the Russian forces had reduced manpower to dangerously low levels and imposed movement restrictions that make it difficult to do their jobs.
More than 11,000 people worked 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 carrying out bombardments near the complex, near the town of Energodar, on the Dnieper River, and thus putting the site in danger. Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned on Saturday of the risk of radioactive leaks and fires after new strikes. In recent weeks, Zaporijjia crystallizes 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 the Russian occupation of the site in the eyes of the international community before finally supporting the idea of an IAEA mission. Before this “dangeroussituation, President Volodymyr Zelensky had urged the UN nuclear police on Friday to send a team as soon as possible. This team of 14 people arrived Wednesday in the city of the same name, about 50 kilometers as the crow flies from this complex occupied since the beginning of March by the Russians and the subject of serious concern from the international community.