Russian President Vladimir Putin is using Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia as a base for storing weapons, including “missile systems,” in his war against Ukraine.
Located in southeastern Ukraine on the Dnipro river, the nuclear plant has been under the control of Russian forces since they invaded Ukraine. However, it is still being operated by the Ukrainian people.
The situation is “extremely tense,” with up to 500 Russian soldiers controlling the plant, the president of the Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom, Pedro Kotin, said in a televised interview, according to AFP.
“The occupiers bring their machinery there, including missile systems, from which they already shell the other side of the river Dnipro and the territory of Nikopol,” Kotin said, referring to the city across the water.
“They physically control the perimeter. The occupiers’ heavy machinery and trucks with weapons and explosives remain on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” he said.
Kotin accused the International Atomic Energy Agency of failing to put enough pressure on Russia; he said, “the pressure on the occupiers to leave the territory of the plant is insufficient.”
“(The IAEA) is playing some political games, balancing between Russia and Ukraine,” he said.
Although IAEA has said it needs to visit the nuclear plant to conduct essential maintenance work, Ukraine has opposed the visit and said that the trip to the plant would only legitimize its occupation by “nuclear terrorists.”