WARSAW: Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant no longer produces electricity and serves solely as a military base for Moscow’s troops, the exiled mayor of the city of Energodar, which houses the facility, told the Media.
Moscow’s troops seized the plant in the southern Zaporizhzhia region on March 4 last year, just days after the start of Russia’s invasion.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has raised concerns about shelling near the plant, calling for a demilitarized zone around it.
“During a year under occupation, (Russians) have turned Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a military base,” 37-year-old Energodar mayor Dmytro Orlov said in an interview.
The plant has repeatedly made headlines and revived fears of nuclear catastrophes similar to the deadly Chernobyl disaster that shook Ukraine in 1986.
Orlov said Russian troops take advantage of the fact that Ukraine “will not fire” at the site to avoid such an incident.
Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for shelling around the plant.
1,000 Russian soldiers are currently stationed at the power plant and in Energodar.
The city on the banks of the Dnipro river saw its population drop from 53,000 to about 15,000 following the invasion.