Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant director general detained by Russians - Energoatom

The Zaporizhzhia plant has been a focal point of Russia's seven-month invasion of Ukraine.

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, August 4, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)
A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, August 4, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

The director general of Ukraine's Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was detained by a Russian patrol, Energoatom, the state-owned company in charge of the plant, said on Saturday.

Ihor Murashov was detained on his way from Europe's largest nuclear plant to the town of Enerhodar around 4 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Friday, company chief Petro Kotin said in a statement.

"He was taken out of the car, and with his eyes blindfolded he was driven in an unknown direction," Kotin wrote on the Telegram messaging app, adding there was no immediate word on Murashov's fate.

What is the Zaporizhzhia plant?

The Zaporizhzhia plant has been a focal point of Russia's seven-month invasion of Ukraine, as Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of shelling the facility, risking a nuclear disaster.

 A service member stands guard near the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant following the arrival of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, September 1, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO) A service member stands guard near the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant following the arrival of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, September 1, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

"He was taken out of the car, and with his eyes blindfolded he was driven in an unknown direction."

Petro Kotin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for area around the plant, which is staffed by Ukrainians, to be demilitarized.

Murashov "bears main and exclusive responsibility for the nuclear and radiation safety" of the plant and his detention "jeopardizes the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant," Kotin said.

He called on Russian forces to "stop immediately the acts of nuclear terrorism towards the management and personnel" of the plant and release Murashov.