Russia wants full operational control of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant - Energoatom chief

A general view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine in this June 12, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

March 11 (Reuters) - Russian officials have attempted to enter and take full operational control of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the head of Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom said on Friday.

Energoatom chief Petro Kotin said Russian forces had told the plant’s Ukrainian staff that the plant now belonged to Russian state nuclear company Rosatom after its capture last week. Ten officials from Rosatom, including two senior engineers, then unsuccessfully attempted to enter the plant and take control of operations, he said in a televised interview.

"On the territory (of the plant) there are around 500 Russian soldiers with automatic weapons … our staff are in an extremely bad psychological state," Kotin said.

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Reporting by Max Hunder, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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