Russia believes it can blackmail the West by attacking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to one Ukrainian military volunteer.
The plant has been frequently shelled in recent weeks, with Ukraine accusing Russia of using it as a deadly strategic pawn, in a move that could lead to nuclear disaster.
Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for the attacks.
Speaking to the latest episode of the Sky News’ Ukraine War Diaries podcast, Seva – a 40-year-old military volunteer from Dnipro – offers an insight into the feeling on the ground on the Ukrainian side.
“They [Russia] just think that Europe, Ukraine, United States, Great Britain – all the civilised countries, they are very weak, they are too humanitarian, they are too soft and blackmailing them will bring some results.
“As far as I know from our guys, from soldiers and news as well, Russians have put a lot of weapon and military equipment and trucks exactly in the station in order to avoid some hits from our forces.
“And actually, in my opinion and the opinion of many people, just nuclear blackmailing of Europe and Ukraine and – no one could ever predict such kind of things.”
This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency sent inspectors to Ukraine, who concluded that the physical integrity of the plant had been “violated”.
Inspectors remain at the plant.
“Most of our thoughts are with the Zaporizhzhia power plant and what is happening there,” Seva said.
“A few years ago I was passing by the plant. It’s really huge. It’s enormous. You know it’s the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe and it really impresses by its size and by its power.”
From the creators of Sky News’ award-winning StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast following those living on Europe’s new frontline, and those who have escaped it.
Producer: Robert Mulhern
Digital promotion and additional writing: David Chipakupaku