Ukraine accuses Russia of using nuclear power plant for deadly rocket attack

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  • Ukraine announces 13 dead in Russian attack
  • Russia denies targeting civilians
  • China accuses the United States of being responsible for the conflict

KYIV, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Ukraine on Wednesday accused Russia of firing rockets around a captured nuclear power plant, killing at least 13 people and injuring 10, knowing it would be risky for Ukraine to retaliate.

The town Ukraine says is targeted by Russia – Marhanets – is one Moscow says its enemies have used in the past to bomb Russian soldiers at the Zaporizhzhia factory, which they seized in March.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces would respond to the shelling of Marhanets. The Ukrainian military said Russia also shelled several other areas in the Zaporizhzhia region, including the mining town of Vuhledar.

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Calling on foreign allies to send more powerful weapons, Zelenskiy said in a late-night video address that Kyiv “will not leave today’s Russian bombardment of the Dnipropetrovsk region unanswered.”

Ukrainians and the country’s allies must consider “how to inflict the greatest possible losses on the occupiers in order to shorten the war”, he said.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of endangering the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear complex, with nearby attacks.

After the United Nations atomic energy watchdog sounded the alarm over a possible nuclear disaster, the major industrialized nations of the Group of Seven on Wednesday called on Russia to return the plant to Ukraine .

There is no indication that their request will sway Moscow, which on Wednesday received China‘s powerful endorsement of its justification for invading Ukraine on February 24.

Beijing’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, has accused Washington of cornering Russia with repeated expansions of the Western-led NATO military alliance and its support for Ukraine’s alignment. on the European Union.

Washington’s “ultimate goal is to wear down and crush Russia with protracted war and the cudgel of sanctions,” Zhang said.

Beijing is also embroiled in a standoff with the United States over Taiwan: since the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China has conducted extensive military exercises around the self-governing island that she claims as her own.

Russia has not commented on Ukrainian claims of an attack on Marhanets and Reuters could not independently verify Kyiv’s version. Moscow says it is not deliberately targeting civilians in what it calls its “special military operation” aimed at safeguarding its security against NATO expansion.

Ukraine and the West accuse Moscow of waging an imperial-style war of aggression without provocation.

NEW RUSSIAN GROUND FORCE?

Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, said Russia was launching attacks with impunity from Zaporizhzhia, knowing it was risky for Ukraine to retaliate.

“Russian cowards can’t do anything more so they are hitting towns that are vilely hiding in the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant,” he said on social media.

According to Ukraine, about 500 Russian soldiers equipped with heavy vehicles and weapons are at the plant, where Ukrainian technicians continue to work.

Ukraine’s nuclear energy company warned containers with radioactive material could be bombed and said it was vital that Kyiv resumed the plant by winter. She accuses Russia of wanting to connect the facility to its power grid.

Russia says its forces are behaving responsibly and ensuring the security of the complex.

Valentyn Reznychenko, governor of Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region, said more than 20 buildings were damaged in the city across the Dnipro river from the power plant.

Footage provided by Ukrainian officials showed the rubble-strewn hallway of a school whose windows had been blown out and a residential building pierced by a rocket.

Moscow pushed its campaign on several fronts on Wednesday. The Ukrainian military reported that Russian forces shelled some 28 towns in the northeast, southwest and south, including Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson regions. The Ukrainian General Staff said in an unverified statement that Ukrainian counterattacks had forced Russian troops to retreat in most of them.

BOOST FOR THE ECONOMY

The war has crushed Ukraine’s economy, but there was some relief on Wednesday when foreign creditors backed Kyiv’s demand for a two-year freeze on payments on nearly $20 billion in international bonds. This should avoid a messy default.

While Kyiv hailed the move as a sign of solidarity from private investors abroad, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the deal would save his country nearly $6 billion.

“These funds will help us maintain macro-financial stability, strengthen the sustainability of the Ukrainian economy and improve the strength of our military,” he said. Read more

In another rare positive for Ukraine, the United Nations said it expected to see a surge in requests from ships to export its grain under a mediated deal designed to unblock exports and mitigate global shortages and price spikes. Read more

Britain, which is helping Ukraine with arms, intelligence and training, said Wednesday it believed Russia had “almost certainly” established a major new ground force to support its war.

The new 3rd Army Corps was based in the town of Mulino, east of Moscow, the British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence bulletin. However, Russia would struggle to build up the necessary manpower and the new force is unlikely to influence the war, he added.

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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Andrew Osborn, Andrew Cawthorne and Cynthia Osterman; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, John Stonestreet, Alexandra Hudson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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