- Zelenskiy calls for new sanctions against Russian nuclear sector
- Ukraine and Russia take responsibility for bombing near factory
- The IAEA has warned of a disaster at the plant unless the fighting stops
KYIV, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Ukraine has called for new sanctions against Russia and highlighted the risks and consequences of a disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, where fresh shelling nearby has revived a blame game between the two parties.
Ukrainian and Russian officials have exchanged accusations about those responsible for the attacks near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned Russian soldiers that if they attack the site in the now Russian-controlled town of Enerhodar, or use it as a base for firing, then they will become a “special target”.
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“If by Russia’s actions a catastrophe occurs, the consequences could affect those who are silent for the moment,” he said in a late speech on Monday evening, calling for new sanctions against the Russian nuclear sector.
“If now the world does not show strength and determination to defend a nuclear power plant, it will mean that the world has lost.”
The world’s nuclear watchdog has warned of disaster if the fighting does not stop.
Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official at Enerhodar, said on Monday that about 25 heavy artillery strikes from US-made M777 howitzers struck near the nuclear power plant and residential areas over a two-hour period.
Russian news agency Interfax, citing the press service of Russia’s Enerhodar administration, said Ukrainian forces opened fire, with explosions near the power plant.
But according to the head of the Nikopol district administration, which is across the river from Enerhodar and remains under Ukrainian control, it was Russian forces that shelled the town in an attempt to make it appear that the Ukraine was attacking him.
“The Russians think they can force the world to comply with their terms by bombing the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential cabinet, wrote on Twitter.
Russian forces continued to shell towns and villages – Velika Kostryumka to the south and Marhanets – opposite the Zaporizhhia nuclear power plant, according to a report by the Ukrainian Armed Forces Southern District on Facebook.
Ukrainian forces killed 23 Russian soldiers and destroyed two reinforced positions, he added.
Reuters could not immediately verify reports from the battlefield.
The UN says it has the logistical and security capacity to support a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if Russia and Ukraine agree. Read more
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had a phone call with António Guterres to discuss conditions for the safe operation of the plant, the ministry said on Monday.
“In close cooperation with the agency and its leaders, we will do everything necessary to ensure that IAEA specialists are on the spot and give a faithful assessment of the destructive actions of the Ukrainian side,” the spokeswoman said. of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.
But Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s nuclear proliferation and arms control department, was later quoted as saying it would be too dangerous for any IAEA mission to cross the capital Kyiv to inspect factory. Read more
“Imagine what it means to go through Kyiv – it means that they arrive at the nuclear power plant from the front line,” RIA news agency quoted Vishnevetsky as saying.
Ukraine, where parliament on Monday extended martial law for another three months, said for weeks it was planning a counteroffensive to retake Zaporizhzhia and neighboring Kherson province, most of the territory that Russia seized after its February 24 invasion and still stands.
The conflict, which has driven millions and killed thousands, has strained relations between Moscow and the West.
A Russian-backed separatist court in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, charged five foreign nationals it said were captured fighting with Ukrainian forces of being mercenaries on Monday, the authorities reported. Russian media. Three of the men face the death penalty. Read more
Russia said on Monday evening that British reconnaissance planes violated its air border on a peninsula east of Finland between the Barents Sea and the White Sea, and that a fighter jet forced the British plane to leave Russian airspace.
The UK Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarize its neighbor and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and Western donors accuse Moscow of waging an imperial-style war of conquest.
Russian forces were engaged in shelling to advance on a wide variety of frontline positions to the east and south, the Ukrainian military reported late Monday.
Even as the biggest attack on a European state since 1945 continued, progress was made on a grain deal to ease a global food crisis created by the conflict, the most significant diplomatic breakthrough achieved since the start of the war. war.
The Joint Coordination Center, set up by the United Nations, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, said it had approved the departure of the Brave Commander, the first shipment of humanitarian food aid to Israel. Africa from Ukraine since the invasion. He must leave on Tuesday.
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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Costas Pitas and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Stephen Coates and Simon Cameron-Moore
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