Ukraine-Zaporizhia plant director arrested by soldiers

(With new IAEA statement)

KYIV, Oct 1 (Reuters) – A Russian patrol arrested the director of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Energoatom, the state-owned company operating the site, said on Saturday, a report confirmed by the International Energy Agency. atomic energy (IAEA).

Igor Murachov was arrested on his way from the power plant to the city of Enerhodar around 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Friday, Energoatom chairman Petro Kotin said in a statement.

“He was taken out of the car, blindfolded and taken by car to an unknown destination,” he said on Telegram messaging, adding that he had no immediate information about his fate.

Russia has made no public statement on the subject.

Petro Kotin said he had called on the Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, to take “all possible immediate measures to obtain the urgent release” of Igor Murachov.

Asked by Reuters, an IAEA spokesman said: “We have contacted the Russian authorities and asked them for an explanation.” A few hours later, the IAEA announced that it had been informed by the Russian authorities that Igor Murachov was being held for questioning.

“The IAEA has sought clarification from the Russian authorities and has been informed that the director of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is temporarily detained to answer questions,” a spokesperson said, without giving further details. .

The Zaporijjia power plant has become one of the key issues in the conflict in Ukraine, with Kyiv and Moscow accusing each other of bombing the site at the risk of triggering a nuclear disaster. Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has called for the site, which is operated by Ukrainians, to be made a demilitarized zone.

In his statement on Telegram, Petro Kotin assures that Igor Murachov “assumes exclusive responsibility for the nuclear and radioactive safety” of the site and that his arrest “compromises the safety of the activities of the largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine and Europe “.

He called on Russian troops to “immediately cease acts of nuclear terrorism targeting the management and staff” of the site and to release Igor Murachov. (Report Pavel Polityuk, French version Marc Angrand)

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