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Chernobyl workers are blasting Ukrainian national anthem every morning to defy Russian captors, report

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Maxar satellite imagery closeup of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on March 10, 2022. Maxar Technologies via Getty Images.
Maxar satellite imagery closeup of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on March 10, 2022. Maxar Technologies via Getty Images.
  • Workers held hostage by Russian forces at the Chernobyl power plant have been blaring the Ukrainian national anthem daily, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The exhausted and poorly-fed workers at the plant in Ukraine have done this out of defiance, the WSJ reported. 
  • Russian forces seized control of the plant on the first day of Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Workers being held hostage by Russian forces at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine have been blaring the Ukrainian national anthem every morning in defiance of their captors, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. 

More than 200 staffers at the plant have been held there at gunpoint to complete around-the-clock routine tasks since Russian forces seized control of the site on the first day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine nearly three weeks ago. 

The poorly-fed technicians and support staff — some of whom need medicine — are battling immense exhaustion after spending roughly 500 hours since February 23 on the job at the site of the world's worst nuclear-power disaster, according to the Journal. 

But workers have started to defy their captors.

Rebellious workers blast Ukraine's national anthem, "Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished," through loudspeakers at Chernobyl every morning at 9am, the Journal reported. 

And every morning, Ukrainian workers stand up with their hands over their chests as the anthem plays, according to the newspaper. 

Trapped staffers have even been arguing with their Russian captors over Russia's invasion, reported the Journal. 

The employees, who have been surviving off of porridge and canned food, sleep on chairs near beeping machinery and on mounds of clothes by the workstations, according to the Journal. 

Their phones have been confiscated, but in one-minute calls that the Russian troops permit the staffers to make to family members, they have spoken of "extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and terrible headaches," the Journal reported. 

"The psychological situation is deteriorating," shift supervisor Valentin Heiko, a veteran of the defunct plant, recently told managers in a phone call, according to the Journal, which cited two people on that call. 

"Everyone wants to go home, but we know we need to stay," Heiko said. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched Russia's war against Ukraine on February 24, attacking several cities with military strikes. But his advances have stalled in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Russian forces have now intensified bombing and shelling campaigns against Ukrainian cities, with civilian casualties continuing to rise.


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