Ukraine has accused Russia of kidnapping the head of Europe's largest nuclear power plant on Friday (30 September) evening.
The director-general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ihor Murashov, was allegedly seized by Russian forces at around 4pm local time yesterday, according to Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom (via Reuters).
That came just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed treaties to take Moscow-controlled Ukrainian territory into Russia.
Energoatom say that Russian troops stopped the director-general's car, blindfolded him and then escorted him to an undisclosed location.
Company President Petro Kotin said: "His detention by [Russia] jeopardises the safety of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant."
Kotin has demanded that Russia immediately releases Murashov, with them not immediately acknowledging that they had kidnapped the boss of Zaporizhzhia.
Also, The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has staff at the plant, didn't acknowledge the kidnapping straight way either.
Europe's biggest nuclear power plant has been caught in the crossfire of the war in Ukraine.
Russian troops currently hold the power station after seizing control in March, but Ukrainian technicians continue to run it.
The plant's last reactor was closed in September as a result of ongoing shelling near the big facility.
On Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the war in Ukraine was at 'a pivotal moment'.
He added: "We call on President Putin to end the war. He is responsible for starting the war and he has the responsibility to end the war. Because if Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. If Zelenskyy and Ukrainians stop fighting, Ukraine will cease to exist as an independent nation. So we are not speaking about in a way to equals.
September 30 around 16:00 our employee, Director General of the Zaporizhzhya NPP Ihor Murashov, was detained by the russian patrol on his way from the plant to the town of Energodar.— Energoatom (@energoatom_ua) October 1, 2022
⚠️ https://t.co/PvzIQzm0K4@iaeaorg @rafaelmgrossi @WANOComms pic.twitter.com/Abxcam2HxP
"We have an aggressor, Russia and we have a country which is the victim of aggression, Ukraine. And that's also the reason why we are so clearly supporting Ukraine. With the illegal annexations of Ukrainian territory, it doesn't change the nature of this war. It remains a war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine."
He continued: "And of course, what we've seen over the last weeks or days is the most serious escalation of this conflict since the invasion on the 24th of February, because we have the combination of the mobilisation in Russia, combined with the reckless dangerous nuclear rhetoric, and then today's illegal annexation or attempt to annex parts of Ukraine."