Chernobyl Workers Are 'Blasting Ukraine’s National Anthem Every Day’ To Defy Their Russian Captors
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Ukrainians have repeatedly made headlines throughout the Russian invasion for their ballsy actions in defiance of troops and captors.
Their latest protest is no exception.
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers are reportedly downing tools at 9am to listen to the Ukrainian national anthem blasting through the plant's speaker systems, with hands over their chests.
On 24 February 2022 Russia attacked Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.— DATTALION (@dattalion) March 9, 2022
106 employees are held hostage and are working their shifts without a break. pic.twitter.com/3gvVnscJ7J
The Wall Street Journal reports more than 200 staffers are currently being held hostage at the plant by Russian forces to keep the reactors cool.
The Ukrainian workers have been held at gunpoint ever since enemy soldiers seized the nuclear power plant and the staff have been allowed to complete around-the-clock routine tasks.
Inside Chernobyl, 200 staff are now hostages: toiling round the clock at gunpoint on the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.— Joe Parkinson (@JoeWSJ) March 15, 2022
They are exhausted, hungry and want to go home. And they are starting to defy their Russian captors.
This is their storyhttps://t.co/13Q7dXJ4Sk pic.twitter.com/ucRgSRfalA
Despite their rebellious stand, technicians and support staff are reportedly poorly fed, living off canned food and porridge.
They've now spent roughly 500 hours at the plant since February 23 and have been forced to sleep on chairs amongst beeping equipment or on piles of clothes.
Despite living through grim conditions, other plant workers have now been heard arguing with their Russian captors over the invasion in yet another move of bold defiance.
The Wall Street Journal's report added that phones belonging to the workers have been confiscated, however Russian troops are permitting one-minute calls to their families.
This is how a cloud of radiation engulfed Europe during the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. It's a gentle reminder that say shelling, bombing, attacking nuclear reactors is a crazy undertaking! Source: https://t.co/L20Yqmn2BH pic.twitter.com/9a2q6c5roJ— Simon Kuestenmacher (@simongerman600) March 6, 2022
In those calls, staffers have spoken of 'extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and terrible headaches', according to the Journal.
"The psychological situation is deteriorating", said veteran shift supervisor Valentin Heiko, updating his managers via phone to their office nearly 50 kilometres away.
Some workers are threatening to down tools and attempt to get by the Russian tanks parked outside.
But Heiko, who celebrated his 60th birthday while in captivity last week, told bosses he will toil on until the end.
“Everyone wants to go home, but we know we need to stay," he said.
Russia took hold of Chernobyl more than three weeks ago, with those inside sharing videos to social media of Russian tanks and vehicles blockading them in.
Chernobyl was the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history.
In 1986, one of its reactors malfunctioned, resulting in an explosion and fire which spewed huge amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere.
Some 350,000 people were evacuated as a result of the catastrophic disaster.
Thirty-one people died as an immediate result of the disaster, with the actual death toll from radiation related deaths, cancers, and birth abnormalities unknown.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.