Ukraine on the brink after the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the region’s cities were shelled

  • Moscow reported more shelling near a Russian-controlled plant
  • There was no new information from the Ukrainian nuclear operator
  • Local officials say Russian bombs are hitting cities in the region
  • Zaporizhia is awaiting IAEA permission to visit the plant
  • Kuleba attends EU meeting on Russia visa ban

KYIV, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Russian artillery fired overnight on Ukrainian towns across the river from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, local officials said on Sunday.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said there had been more Ukrainian shelling of the plant in the past 24 hours, a day after Moscow and Kyiv traded accusations of targeting Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, sparking serious international concern. read more

Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom said it had no new information about the attacks on the plant.

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Captured by Russian troops in March but still run by Ukrainian staff, the compound on the war’s southern front line has been one of the main centers of the six-month conflict.

The US State Department said in a statement on Sunday that Moscow was unwilling to acknowledge a serious radiological risk at the Zaporizhia plant and that it had blocked a draft treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. read more

Regional governor Oleksandr Staruk said in a telegram on Sunday that Russian forces attacked residential buildings in the region’s main city of Zaporizhia, about a two-hour drive from the plant, and the city of Origiv further east.

Staruk told Ukrainian television on Saturday that residents were being taught how to use iodine in the event of a radiation leak.

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Ukraine’s military said in its daily report that it had shelled nine other towns in the region across the Dnipro River from the plant, with the Russian RIA news agency citing the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that its air force had struck a motorcade. (MSICH.UAX) Plant in the area where the helicopters were repaired.

According to RIA, Russian officials said they shot down a Ukrainian drone that planned to attack a nuclear-waste storage facility at the plant.

Reuters could not verify those reports.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said nine shells landed on the grounds of the nuclear power plant in two separate strikes by Ukrainian artillery.

“Currently full-time technical staff are monitoring the technical condition of the nuclear power plant and ensuring its operation. The radiation situation in the nuclear power plant area is normal,” he said in the statement.

The United Nations and Kiev have called for the withdrawal of military equipment and personnel from the plant, confirming it was not a target. read more

A continent in peril

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russian forces had turned the plant into a military base, putting the entire continent at risk, and there were no jobs there.

“Russian army must leave the plant,” he said on Twitter.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is awaiting permission for its officials to visit the plant, which the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said on Thursday should be “very, very close”. Last week, two of the plant’s nuclear reactors were de-energized due to shelling. read more

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Ukrainian forces have repelled a recent Russian attempt to advance on the city of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, the Kyiv military said in its daily report.

Ukrainian troops repulsed Russian attempts to attack in three directions, including the Bagmud region and the coal-producing town of Avdiivka.

Moscow’s forces, which captured the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysisansk a few weeks ago, have focused on Pakmut in an effort to expand control over the Donbass region. The city of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in Donetsk province came under shelling by Russian forces overnight, according to regional governors, but there were no reports of new casualties.

Reuters could not verify those accounts.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy noted in the past that both the Donbas region and the city of Donetsk celebrated annual holidays on the last weekend of August. “Ukraine will not forget anything,” he said in his nightly video address.

President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Russia’s neighbor on February 24, saying “special action” was needed to demilitarize the country and eliminate perceived security threats to Russia.

Ukraine and the West have dismissed it as a baseless pretext for an imperialist war of conquest that has killed thousands, displaced millions, reduced cities to rubble and threatened the global economy with energy and food supply crises, sending prices soaring.

Kuleba will travel to Sweden on Monday as part of Kevin’s efforts to bolster international support for Ukraine and press for more sanctions on Russia, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said.

In Prague, he will discuss new sanctions on Moscow and an EU-wide visa ban for Russians at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers. Zelenskiy called for such a ban earlier this month, but so far it has received support from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland, which share a border with Russia. read more

Reporting by Max Hunder and Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv and Reuters bureau; Written by Tomasz Janowski and Andy Sullivan; Editing by Nick MacPhee, Catherine Evans and Paul Simao

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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