Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the government to take over the operations at the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe has become a major point of focus for both parties in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The government will ensure that the nuclear facilities at the plant… are integrated as federal property,” the executive order signed by Putin said according to AFP.
The power plant has been in the middle of a power struggle as the Russian military occupied the facility at the start of the invasion. In the next few months, Ukraine has regained a lot of areas around the nuclear plant, but it is still being operated by Russian forces.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday that he will be travelling to the Zaporizhzhia plant in the near future along with a delegation.
The IAEA also said that Grossi will be assisting with the formation of the “protection zone around the power station”. While the nuclear power plant has shut down most of its operations in the past few months, Ukrainian state nuclear agency Energoatom said that Russia was “creating pseudo-enterprises with the names of Ukrainian companies” to grab complete control of the plant.
“It’s just a pity that they are trying to involve Ukrainian nuclear professionals, who have been heroically working under… occupation for more than seven months” at the Zaporizhzhia plant, Energoatom said on social media.
The IAEA was extremely concerned with the shelling taking place near the facility but with the reactors shutting down, the fear of nuclear disaster has gone down significantly.