Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

Ukraine tells people near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to evacuate, says Russia holding citizens ‘hostage’

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One day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEI) concluded its fact-finding mission at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), top Ukrainian officials urged its citizens Wednesday to evacuate the area amid renewed shelling.

The mayor of Enerhodar, the city closest to the nuclear plant, took to Telegram to say his city had once again lost power and accused Russia of firing on the power station.

“The intervals between attacks are becoming shorter and shorter. It is the second time in a day that the electricity supply has gone off throughout the city,” he said in a post translated by Pravda, noting it was not possible to determine when repair crews would be able to get the power back on.

UN vehicles transport members of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection mission after their visit to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Sept. 1, 2022. 

UN vehicles transport members of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection mission after their visit to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Sept. 1, 2022. 
(GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)

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Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged all Ukrainians still in the Zaporizhzhia region to evacuate as soon as possible and said calls for a humanitarian corridor were met with “cynical silence” from Russia.

“I appeal to the residents of the districts temporarily not under the control of the Government of Ukraine, adjacent to the ZNPP: evacuate! Find a way to get to the controlled territory,” she said in a Telegram post.

Vereshchuk accused Russia of holding ZNPP staff and “tens of thousands” of surrounding citizens “hostage” as they allegedly continue to strike the power plant. 

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi on Tuesday warned in an address to the United Nations Security Council that “something very, very catastrophic could take place” if actions aren’t taken to protect the plant.

Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of carrying out attacks on or near the power station. Grossi did not shed light on who was responsible for the shelling, but instead urged the UN to take action to prevent a nuclear disaster. 

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuers attend an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Aug. 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the nuclear power plant located near the city.

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuers attend an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Aug. 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the nuclear power plant located near the city.
(DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

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It is unclear if staff at the ZNPP are being held hostage at this time.

Fox News Digital was told late last month by a former plant employee, who left in August, that staff were not being forced to stay at their posts. 

Grossi, however, noted the extreme conditions Ukrainian staff members are facing at the plant, along with the long hours they are required to work due to staffing shortages. 

“This is not sustainable and could lead to increased human error with implications for nuclear safety,” he warned.

The UN has repeatedly called for Russia to demilitarize the plant and allow Ukrainian staff to return to their work and secure not only Ukraine’s but Europe’s nuclear safety. 

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres speaks during a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. 

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres speaks during a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. 
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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“Common sense and cooperation must guide the way forward. Any action that might endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant is unacceptable,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday.

Guterres called on Russia to remove its troops and military equipment from the nuclear power plant and for Ukraine to commit not to move its troops in after. 

Two IAEA officials have remained at the Zaporizhzhia site following the historic mission there this week. 



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