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The slow haemorrhage of Ukrainians in Enerhodar, a nuclear city taken hostage by the Russians
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The slow haemorrhage of Ukrainians in Enerhodar, a nuclear city taken hostage by the Russians

Enerhodar is empty of its inhabitants. A slow haemorrhage of Ukrainians exhausted by the bombardments of recent weeks, by the harassment of the Russian occupation troops. And by the atomic threat of the Zaporijia nuclear power plant, both foster mother and sword of Damocles of this austere city on the banks of the Dnieper, a succession of blocks of buildings dating from the Soviet era.

“Looks like Enerhodar is dying”breathes Olena, a 21-year-old young woman, who herself left there at the beginning of September, met in Zaporijia, 120 kilometers from Enerhodar, the first town beyond the demarcation line.

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It is in Enerhodar, in the south-east of Ukraine, that the site of the nuclear power plant of Zaporijia, occupied by the Russians since the beginning of March, is located. A plant that has become sadly famous throughout the world since the beginning of August, when the bombardments began on this city which had 53,000 inhabitants before the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, and would only have half of them. Bombings that arouse the fear of a nuclear catastrophe with unknown consequences.

Olena gave up working in the store because she couldn’t stand seeing the Russian soldiers in the store anymore. “They didn’t come at first, maybe they were scared. Then we saw them start patrolling the city, finger on the trigger, it’s scary. And in the streets, Russians in civilian clothes walk around to listen to our conversations and if they hear us speaking Ukrainian, they ask why we are doing this, they say that people who are patriotic can be agents of kyiv. »

“The city is constantly bombarded”

Olena has many friends who work at the plant. “They saw that the Russians who came there did not respect the safety instructions, did not dress in protective suits. On the other hand, they assiduously frequented the restaurant of the plant, renowned for its quality. »

Among the residents fleeing are technicians from the nuclear power plant. “We are very afraid, the city is constantly bombed, said Andryi, who had left Enerhodar two days earlier with his wife and children. He worked at the nuclear power plant as a reactor repair technician. I regularly heard where the shots were coming from, and it was on our side, occupied by the Russians. » His daily life became untenable, that of his children too, while the Russians want to force them to integrate the Russian education system. “I secretly left the plant because they don’t let employees leave. They may have a list with the main persons responsible, but in any case, on the checkpoints that I crossed, I did not see that the Russian soldiers used such a list. They didn’t check my story and I was able to pass. » When asked if as a technician of the plant, his expertise will not be lacking in the safety of the site, he hesitates for a moment. “I still asked my boss for permission to leave, he breathes, he signed me off. »

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