Ukraine: Zaporizhia nuclear plant staff 'kept at gunpoint'
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The Kremlin’s foot soldiers have even been accused of stealing Ukraine’s grain, manufacturing equipment and the country’s citizens who have been forced to evacuate to Russia and have been sent to horrific filtration camps. Now, an expert told Express.co.uk, the Kremlin is coming for Ukraine’s energy.
Olga Kosharna is an expert in nuclear energy and nuclear safety, who previously worked at the State Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Ukraine.
She warned Russian forces were exploiting a highly vulnerable situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) in order to take over the plant for themselves.
She said: “So this country that calls itself Russia is really just a big thief, a robber. Their main export is corruption.
“They have been robbing and thieving grain from us, water, ships, factories – in the Donbas whole factories were dismantled and moved to Russia.
“Now, they are stealing our nuclear assets – the first time this has happened in the history of nuclear industry.”
She added: “The employees who work at the power station say the Russian’s use coercion to try to force them to get Russian passports. They force them to sign documents that they work for Rosatom [Russia’s state nuclear energy company].”
Ms Kosharna claimed Russia needed the Ukrainian workers at Zapporzhzhia due to its own lack of experienced personnel who knew how to run and maintain a nuclear power plant.
She said that the Ukrainian staff were “highly specialised, thoroughly trained and licensed experts”.
One of the main reasons Moscow wants to take ZNPP is that the occupied peninsula of Crimea has an energy deficit and requires more energy than Russia can currently provide, according Ms Kosharna.
She said: “The entire [output] of ZNPP – the whole 6000 megawatts of capacity – is way too much for Crimea alone, but Russia has Krasnodar which is also a deficient region in terms of energy.
“They were planning to lay the [power] lines through the occupied land corridor from Krasnodar to Crimea to feed that energy from ZNPP to Krasnodar.”
Krasnodar is a region of Russia connected to the Crimean peninsula by a bridge.
Following the Kremlin’s announcement that there would be an incident at the power plant on August 19, Ukraine has raised the alarm that Russia could shut off the power there to switch ZNPP onto the Russia grid.
However, experts have warned that shutting down a nuclear power plant is not an easy task, particularly in a war zone.
Ukrainian President Zelensky previously accused Moscow of conducting nuclear “terror”.
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He said on Telegram: “This deliberate terror on the part of the aggressor can have global catastrophic consequences for the whole world.”
Ms Kosharna warned that a “severe” catastrophe at ZNPP could affect large parts of Russia and the EU and could even reach as far as Turkey.
Moscow has been accused of using the power plant as a nuclear shield from which to launch strikes on Ukraine. Both sides have blamed each other for the shelling there.
On Thursday (August 18) NBC news reported that Russian authorities had warned Rosatom employees to stay away from the facility, sparking fears about what might happen there.
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