RUSSIA/UKRAINE: Russia plans to relocate 2,700 Ukrainian staff from Europe’s largest nuclear plant, Ukraine’s atomic energy company claimed Wednesday, warning of a potential “catastrophic lack of qualified personnel” at the Zaporizhzhia facility in Russia-occupied southern Ukraine.
The overwhelming majority of the people who will be transferred to Russia with their families, as reported by Energoatom, are employees who signed employment contracts with various subsidiaries of Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom after Moscow took charge of the Zaporizhzhia plant early in the war.
A representative from Energoatom, in a telephone conversation, stated that the evacuation plan of the plant led to 50% of the plant’s employees being stricken by fears of a counteroffensive launched by Ukraine in the area.
The Institute for the Study of War mentioned, “Russian forces may be attempting to conduct an almost daily series of missile strikes to portray themselves as constraining potential upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.”
On condition of confidentiality due to fears regarding their safety, the person claimed that some plant employees have already been relocated farther into Russia-controlled areas and are now staying in the resort towns of Berdiansk and Kyrylivka on the Azov Sea coast.
The facility had about 11,000 workers before the war. According to the Ergoatom spokesman, at least 1,500 extra troops are stationed in the nearby city of Enerhodar, while about 500 Russian soldiers are stationed at the plant.
Energoatom did not say whether employees would be expelled from the plant. Furthermore, Energoatom’s claims concerning Moscow’s policy took time to be verified. According to Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukrainian ground forces commander, Ukrainian troops have progressed nearly two kilometres close to Bakhmut. This city has been the hotspot of intense battles for approximately eight months.
Despite the assertion that couldn’t be immediately confirmed, the head of the command of the Russian private army, Wagner, who had been in control of the gruelling assault on Bakhmut, alleged that his soldiers were considering withdrawing due to a dearth of weaponry. Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s head, mentioned in Telegram on Wednesday, “I demand ammunition to save the lives of the fighters and put the squeeze on.”