Russian forces and “collaborators” have begun a census in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, according to Ukrainian authorities.
For the second day running, Russian forces “along with collaborators with the so-called police are doing the door-to-door tours and intercepting people in the courtyards,” said Dmytro Orlov, the displaced mayor of Enerhodar.
“This was reported by local residents who had to participate in the ‘census.'”
“In many cases the census ends up with a rummage and browsing through the apps of mobile phones. Please be aware!” he added.
Before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, the population of Enerhodar was about 50,000. The city has been under Russian occupation since early March.
It is adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which was disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid due to shelling from Moscow earlier this week as the Kremlin ramped up strikes targeting critical energy infrastructure.
Russian bombardments some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the plant had disabled two high voltage transmission lines, according to state nuclear energy company Energoatom.
The plant had gone to “full black-out mode. All 20 diesel generators started operating,” Energoatom said.
“Power units 5 and 6 are being transferred to a cold shutdown mode,” it added. The other four units were already shut down.
The plant is run by Ukrainian technicians but is under the control of the Russian state nuclear energy operator Rusatom.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that power had been cut late Wednesday evening and was “now receiving back-up power from its emergency diesel generators, further underlining the extremely precarious nuclear safety and security situation at the facility.”
IAEA Director General Mariano Grossi said the cut-off underlined “the urgent need to establish a protection zone” around the plant.
“Despite the best efforts of the plant’s courageous staff to stabilize the external power situation in recent weeks, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant has again lost all access to off-site electricity,” Grossi said.
“For now, it receives the power it needs from the on-site diesel generators. But this is clearly not a sustainable way to operate a major nuclear facility. Measures are needed to prevent a nuclear accident at the site. The establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone is urgently needed.”