Ukraine targets Russian soldiers threatening nuclear power plant


A Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Energodar on May 1, 2022. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, seized by Russian forces in March, is in southeastern Ukraine and is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world.

Andrei Borodulin | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine targets Russian soldiers who fire on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant or use it as a base to fire on, as G-7 nations, fearing a nuclear catastrophe, have called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the central.

Ukraine and Russia have swapped charges over multiple bombing incidents at the Zaporizhzhia facility in southern Ukraine. Russian troops captured the station early in the war.

“Every Russian soldier who shoots at the factory, or shoots using the factory as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army,” the president said. Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an evening speech. Saturday.

Zelenskyy, who gave no details, repeated that Russia was using the plant as nuclear blackmail.

The plant dominates the southern bank of a vast reservoir on the Dnipro River. Ukrainian forces controlling towns and cities on the opposite bank came under intense Russian bombardment.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak accused Russia of “hitting the part of the nuclear power plant where the energy that supplies southern Ukraine is generated”.

“The goal is to disconnect us from (the factory) and blame the Ukrainian military for this,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is seeking to inspect the plant, has warned of a nuclear disaster unless the fighting stops. Nuclear experts fear the fighting could damage the plant’s spent fuel pools or reactors.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for the creation of a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia facility, which is still run by Ukrainian technicians.

Kyiv has said for weeks that it is planning a counteroffensive to retake Zaporizhzhia and neighboring Kherson provinces, most of the territory seized by Russia after its Feb. 24 invasion and still in Russian hands.

Russian and Ukrainian forces earlier battled for control of Chernobyl, the still-radioactive site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, also raising fears of disaster.

Russia strengthens its southern forces

Russia’s priority over the past week has likely been to reorient its units to bolster its campaign in southern Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Sunday.

Russian-backed forces from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic in the eastern Donbass region continued their assault north of the city of Donetsk, the British Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter.

Particularly intense fighting was concentrated in the village of Pisky, near Donetsk airport, he added. Ukraine’s military command said on Saturday that “heavy fighting” continued in Pisky, a village in the east that Russia had previously claimed full control over.

The British military said the Russian assault was likely aimed at securing the M04 highway, the main approach to Donetsk from the west.

Ukrainian grain ships

Two more ships carrying grain left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Saturday, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said, bringing to 16 the number of ships due to leave under an agreement brokered in late July between the UN and Turkey aimed in part to alleviate a global food crisis.

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry said on Saturday that 16 ships carrying 450,000 tonnes of agricultural products had left Ukrainian seaports since early August under the agreement, which guaranteed safe passage for ships.

The UN-chartered ship, the MV Brave Commander, will leave Ukraine for Africa in the coming days after finishing loading more than 23,000 tons of wheat in the port of Pivdennyi, an official said. UN.

The ship, destined for Ethiopia, will be the first humanitarian food aid cargo ship bound for Africa since the start of the war, amid fears that the loss of grain supplies from Ukraine could cause epidemics of famine .

Zelenskyy said that in less than two weeks, Ukraine managed to export the same amount of grain from three ports as it did by road for the whole of July.

Ukraine hopes to increase its maritime exports to more than 3 million tons of grain and other agricultural products per month in the near future.

Ukraine and Russia are major grain exporters. The blockade of Ukrainian ports has trapped tens of millions of grain in the country, raising fears of severe food shortages and even epidemics of famine in some parts of the world.

The diplomatic divide deepens

Russia’s invasion, which it calls a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its smaller neighbor, has pushed Moscow-Washington relations to a low point, with Russia warning it could sever ties.

The United States led Ukraine’s Western allies to provide it with weapons to defend itself and punitive sanctions against Moscow.

A senior Russian official said on Friday that Moscow had told Washington that if the US Senate passes legislation designating Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, diplomatic relations would be severely damaged and could even be severed.

On Saturday, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official warned that any US seizure of Russian assets would completely destroy bilateral relations, TASS reported.

Alexander Darchiev, head of the ministry’s North American department, reportedly said that American influence over Ukraine had grown to the point that “the Americans are increasingly becoming a direct party to the conflict”.

The United States and Europe, fearing being drawn directly into war, have refused Ukraine’s request to establish a no-fly zone to help protect its skies from missiles and warplanes. Russian fights.

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