Three Ukrainian soldiers, who participated in a botched attempt to capture the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant on Thursday morning, have been taken alive, Vladimir Rogov, a council member in the Moscow-allied administration of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye Region, has claimed.
Of the three, two have been injured and are in serious condition, the official said in an interview with Russian television. Doctors are fighting to save them, he added. An estimated 12 Ukrainian troops are still fighting against Russian forces, he claimed.
The Russian Defense Ministry previously claimed that early in the morning, Kiev launched an operation apparently aimed at taking the nuclear site ahead of an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Some of the Ukrainian troops failed to reach the southern bank of the Dnepr when their vessels were hit and sank, the ministry stated. Up to 60 commandos used speedboats to make a landing, before Russian forces engaged them, the report said.
The power plant and the surrounding city of Energodar have been under Russian control since March. Throughout August, it came under regular fire, which Kiev and Moscow blamed on each other. Ukrainian officials also accused Russia of stationing heavy weapons at the nuclear facility.
The IAEA’s fact-finding mission is expected to arrive in Energodar later in the day, though there were reports that their progress was interrupted by military activity. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of attempting to derail the inspection.