Ukraine targets Russian soldiers who threaten Europe’s largest nuclear power plant

  • Russians who threaten Zaporizhzhya “special targets”
  • The G7 countries demand that Moscow withdraw its forces from the factory
  • Fear of nuclear disaster unless the fighting stops
  • Russia warns that it may cut off bilateral relations with the United States
  • More grain ships leave Ukraine

Kyiv (Reuters) – Fearing nuclear disaster, Ukraine has been targeting Russian soldiers who fire on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant or using it as a firing base from the Group of Seven, calling for Moscow to withdraw its forces from the plant. .

Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over multiple incidents of bombing the Zaporizhzhya facility in southern Ukraine. Russian forces captured the station early in the war.

“Every Russian soldier who shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as a cover, must understand that it has become a special target of our intelligence agents, of our own services, of our army,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky in an evening speech. on Saturday.

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Zelensky, who did not give any details, repeated allegations that Russia is using the plant as a nuclear blackmail.

The plant controls the southern bank of a large reservoir on the Dnipro River. The Ukrainian forces that control the towns and cities on the opposite bank have come under intense bombardment from the Russian-controlled side. Read more

Adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mykhailo Podolyak, accused Russia of “hitting part of the nuclear power plant where energy is generated that supplies energy to southern Ukraine.”

“The goal is to separate us from (the factory) and blame the Ukrainian army for that,” 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 Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the creation of a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhya facility, which is still managed by Ukrainian technicians.

Kyiv has said for weeks that it plans to launch a counterattack to retake Zaporozhye and neighboring Kherson provinces, the largest part of the territory that Russia captured after its February 24 invasion and is still in Russia’s hands.

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

The depth of the diplomatic rift

The Russian invasion, which it called a “special military operation” to disarm and “disarm” its smaller neighbour, has pushed relations between Moscow and Washington to a low point, with Russia warning it could sever ties.

The United States led Ukraine’s Western allies in supplying arms for its own defense and imposing sanctions on Moscow.

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

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

“We warn Americans about the harmful consequences of such actions that will permanently damage bilateral relations, and this is neither in their interest nor in ours,” said Alexander Darshiev, head of the ministry’s North American Department. It was not clear which assets he was referring to.

Darshiev said that the influence of the United States on Ukraine had increased to the point that “the Americans are increasingly becoming a direct party to the conflict.”

The United States and Europe, afraid of being drawn directly into war, rejected Ukraine’s request to create a no-fly zone to help it protect its airspace from Russian missiles and warplanes.

Ukrainian grain ships

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said two more ships carrying grain left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Saturday, raising the number of ships to leave under a UN-brokered deal aimed at easing the global food crisis to 16.

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

The agreement, signed by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations in July amid warnings of a possible outbreak of famine, allowed for the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports after a five-month halt due to the war.

In less than two weeks, Zelensky said, Ukraine was able to export the same amount of grain from three ports as it did by land throughout July.

“This has already made it possible to reduce the severity of the food crisis,” he said on Saturday.

Ukraine hopes to increase its sea 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 closure of Ukrainian ports has trapped tens of millions of grain in the country, raising fears of severe food shortages and even outbreaks of famine in parts of the world. Read more

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Reporting by Natalia Zenets in the Kyiv and Reuters offices; writing by Michael Berry; Editing by William Mallard

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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