- Russian ambassador warns of nuclear disaster!
- Zelensky demands that Russia return the plant to Ukraine
- Satellite images show damage to Russian air base in Crimea
KYIV/NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Ukraine has demanded a demilitarized zone and the withdrawal of Russian forces after accusing Russia and Ukraine of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, raising fears of a catastrophe. . That.
Ukraine’s Energodom said the Zaporizhia complex in south-central Ukraine had been hit five times on Thursday, including where radioactive material is stored. Russia’s TASS news agency reported that Russian-appointed officials had shelled the Ukrainian plant twice, disrupting the transition.
UN The Security Council met on Thursday to discuss the situation, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling on both sides to cease all fighting near the plant.
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“The facility should not be used as part of any military operation. Rather, an urgent agreement at the technical level is needed for a secure perimeter of demilitarization to ensure the security of the area,” Guterres said in a statement.
Russia seized Zaporizhia in March after invading Ukraine on February 24. The plant, near the front lines of the fighting, is manned by Russian troops and operated by Ukrainian workers.
At the Security Council meeting, the US supported the call for a demilitarized zone and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the site. read more
Russia’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said the world was “being pushed to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe, comparable to Chornobyl”. He said IAEA officials could visit the site as soon as this month.
Reuters could not independently verify reports from either side about the conditions at the plant.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded that Russia return the plant to Ukrainian control.
“Only the full withdrawal of the Russians … and the restoration of full Ukrainian control of the situation around the station can guarantee the resumption of nuclear security across Europe,” he said in a video address.
France echoed Zelensky’s demand and said Russia’s occupation of the base would endanger the world.
“The presence and activities of the Russian armed forces near the plant significantly increase the risk of an accident with catastrophic consequences,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the attacks on the base. Ukraine has also accused Russia of firing rockets at Ukrainian towns surrounding a captured nuclear power plant.
Ukraine’s civil service on Friday reported widespread shelling and airstrikes by Russian forces on numerous towns and military bases, particularly in the east.
Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of Dnipropetovsk region, said three civilians, including a boy, were wounded in overnight shelling in the town of Marhanets.
The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrilenko, said in a telegram that seven civilians had been killed and 14 wounded in the past 24 hours.
Russian base in Crimea
Separately, satellite images released on Thursday showed devastation at an air base in Russia-linked Crimea. Western military experts said Ukraine could have a new long-range strike capability capable of turning the tide of the war.
Images from independent satellite company Planet Labs showed three nearly identical craters that hit buildings at Russia’s Sagi Air Base with apparent precision. The base, on Crimea’s southwest coast, suffered extensive fire damage with at least eight destroyed fighter jets visible.
Russia, which has denied the plane was damaged, said the explosions at the base on Tuesday were accidental. Ukraine is not responsible.
Referring to the damage, Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, told Reuters in a message: “Officially, we do not confirm or deny anything … Note that there were several explosion centers at the same time.”
Zelensky told officials to stop talking to reporters about military tactics, saying such comments were “obviously irresponsible.” The New York Times and Washington Post newspapers cited unidentified officials as blaming Ukrainian forces for the Crimea offensive. read more
Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, uses the peninsula as a base for its Black Sea fleet and a key supply route for its invasion forces occupying southern Ukraine.
The Institute for War Studies said Ukrainian officials were framing the Crimea strike as the start of a counteroffensive by Ukraine in the south, suggesting intense fighting in the coming weeks.
How the attack on the base was carried out remains a mystery, but impact craters and simultaneous explosions indicate it was hit by a barrage of weapons capable of evading Russian defenses.
Ukraine is beyond the range of advanced rockets the West has agreed to send, although Kiev is within range of more powerful versions. Ukraine has anti-ship missiles that can hit targets on land.
Meanwhile, the US State Department said Russian officials had trained in Iran in recent weeks as part of an agreement between the two countries to exchange drones. read more
US officials said last month that Iran was preparing to deliver several hundred drones to Russia. read more
Russia says it is planning its “special military operation” to protect Russian-speakers and separatists in the south and east. Ukraine and its Western allies say Moscow aims to strengthen its grip as much as possible.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions have been displaced from their homes and cities have been destroyed.
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Report by Reuters Bureau; Written by Cynthia Osterman and Michael Perry; Editing by Stephen Coates, Robert Birzel
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