Russia thinks it can blackmail the West by attacking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to a Ukrainian military volunteer.

The plant has been bombed frequently in recent weeks, with Ukraine accusing Russia of using it as a deadly strategic pawn, which could lead to a nuclear disaster.

Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for the attacks.

Speaking to the latest episode of Sky News’ Ukraine War Diaries podcast, Seva – a 40-year-old military volunteer from Dnipro – offers insight into the sentiment on the ground on the Ukrainian side.

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A motorcade carrying the mission of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), escorted by the Russian military, arrives at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

“They [Russia] just think Europe, Ukraine, USA, Britain – all civilized countries, they are very weak, they are too humanitarian, they are too soft and blackmailing them will bring results.

“As far as I know from our guys, soldiers and news as well, the Russians put a lot of weapons and military equipment and trucks exactly in the station in order to avoid some hits from our forces.

“And actually, in my opinion and in the opinion of a lot of people, just nuclear blackmail to Europe and Ukraine and – no one could ever predict that kind of stuff.”

This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency sent inspectors to Ukraine, who concluded that the physical integrity of the plant had been “violated”.

The inspectors stay at the factory.

Seva is a volunteer who works with the Ukrainian army

“Most of our thoughts are with the Zaporizhzhia power station and what’s going on there,” Seva said.

“A few years ago I was walking past the plant. It’s really huge. It’s huge. You know, it’s the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe and it really impresses with its size and power. “

From the makers of Sky News’ award-winning StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast that follows those living on Europe’s new frontline and those who have escaped it.

Producer: Robert Mulhern

Digital Promotion and Additional Writing: David Chipakupaku