Russia's Latest Move In The Ongoing War With Ukraine Is Mind-Boggling

Since February 24, 2022, Russian military forces have been leading major assaults on Ukrainian soil, and so far, an end to the conflict doesn't appear to be in sight. Despite the rising death toll on both sides and suspicions that Vladimir Putin's health is deteriorating, the war wages on, with Russia illegally annexing four Ukrainian regions on Friday (per AP News).

Besides the casualties and displacement of Ukrainian families from their homes, the ongoing war has led some experts to sound the alarm on possible nuclear dangers. In August 2022, the European Union along with several other countries around the world released a joint statement condemning Russian control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, located in Ukraine. The statement notes that the Russian presence at the plant has prevented the original Ukrainian staff from following safety protocols. BBC reports that Russia seized the power plant at the start of the war, though the original Ukrainian staff remain on site. Despite requests to demilitarize the area, fighting regularly happens near the site, and the plant has been shelled multiple times already.

Now, new developments place the Zaporizhzhia plant in even greater danger.

Russia allegedly kidnapped an employee from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

On September 30, Ihor Murashov, the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, was detained by Russian authorities, AP News reports. Russian forces stopped Murashov in his car, blindfolded him, and allegedly kidnapped him, taking him to an unknown location. The director-general had previously been against handing the power plant over to Rosatom, Russia's nuclear energy plant operator. Now, Russia's detainment of Murashov may be a startling sign that they're planning an aggressive takeover of the power plant.

According to Reuters, Moscow hasn't officially commented on the matter, but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was told that Murashov is in temporary custody for questioning. Other Ukrainian workers at the power plant had previously expressed their fear of being kidnapped to the BBC, and arrests in Ukraine and Russia have been common since the start of the war (per NPR).

The kidnapping of Murashov is especially concerning, given his role at the Zaporizhzhia plant. Petro Kotin, the president of Ukraine's Energoatom, posted a statement on Telegram, saying, "Director General of the ZNPP Ihor Murashov is a licensed person and bears main and exclusive responsibility for the nuclear and radiation safety of the Zaporizhzhya NPP." Kotin went on to warn that the detention of Murashov "jeopardizes the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe's largest nuclear power plant."