A nuclear power plant in Ukraine is bombed; Growing dangers feared
Russia and Ukraine traded accusations on Monday that each side is bombing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Russia claimed Ukrainian bombing caused a power surge and fire and forced personnel to cut production at two reactors, while Ukraine blamed Russian troops for stockpiling weapons there.
Nuclear experts have warned that further bombing of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which was captured by Russia at the start of the war, is fraught with pitfalls. The Kremlin echoed that statement on Monday, saying the Ukrainian bombings could have “catastrophic” consequences for Europe.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned that the way the plant was run by Russian forces and the fighting going on around it posed serious threats to health and environment.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Andriy Yusov has responded to Russian statements by saying his organization has received credible information from multiple sources that Russian forces planted explosives at the Zaporizhzhia plant to prevent a Ukrainian counteroffensive. expected in the region. Previously, Ukrainian officials said Russia was launching attacks from the factory and using its Ukrainian workers as human shields.
Ahead of Sunday’s bombing, the nuclear plant came under fire last week and each side blamed the other for the attack.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Monday that the Ukrainian attack a day earlier at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant caused a power surge and smoke erupted at his facility. switch, triggering an emergency stop. Firefighters extinguished the blaze and plant personnel lowered the power of reactors No. 5 and No. 6 to 500 megawatts, he said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov urged Western powers to force Kyiv to stop attacking the plant.
“The shelling of the territory of the nuclear power plant by the Ukrainian armed forces is very dangerous,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “It is fraught with catastrophic consequences for vast territories, for all of Europe.”
But Yusov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, said on Monday: “We saw the Russian bombing of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant.”
He added that “if this is not the case, if it is not in line with reality, the Russians can make a gesture of goodwill and hand over control of the factory to an international commission and the IAEA, if not to the Ukrainian army”.
Yusov said the Russians used similar tactics at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant when they occupied it early in the war.
“This is a strategy of terror and scorched earth used by the Russians before an inevitable Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the high seas, the first of the ships to leave Ukraine under a deal to unlock grain supplies and avert a global food crisis has arrived in Turkey. The Polarnet, flying the Turkish flag, docked at the port of Derince in the Gulf of Izmit after leaving the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk on Friday loaded with 12,000 tons of corn.
“This sends a message of hope to all families in the Middle East, Africa and Asia: Ukraine will not abandon you,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted. “If Russia fulfills its obligations, the ‘grain corridor’ will continue to maintain global food security.”
Still, Polarnet captain Ahmet Yucel Alibeyler pointed to the risks faced by grain-carrying ships attempting to cross the Black Sea.
“These were of course dangerous areas, corridors that had been cleared, demined,” he said.
On the front line of the war, the Kremlin reaffirmed on Monday that Russia will continue its military attacks against Ukraine until it achieves its objectives.
Ukraine’s presidential office said on Monday that the Russian army had shelled seven Ukrainian regions in the past 24 hours, killing five people and injuring 20 others.
Ukrainian forces struck Russian-held areas in the south of the country overnight, local officials said, again striking a strategic bridge in the southern city of Kherson.
The Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, a Russian-held town in neighboring Zaporizhzhia region, said Ukrainian forces used US HIMARS rocket launchers to bomb several facilities where the Russian military was stationed. Mayor Ivan Fyodorov said on Telegram that around 100 Russian soldiers had been killed. His claims could not be independently verified and the Russian military did not immediately comment.
Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Moscow-appointed Kherson region administration, said Monday morning that Ukrainian shelling had again damaged the Antonivskiy Bridge over the Dnieper.
The bridge, a key artery for Russian military supplies, has been closed in recent weeks due to previous bombings and plans to reopen it on Wednesday have been scrapped due to the latest attack, Stremousov said.
Russian forces also continued to shell Nikopol, a town just opposite the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on the Dnieper River, Ukraine’s presidential office said. Gas pipelines, plumbing and power lines in Nikopol are no longer working and thousands of people are left without electricity.
A total of 12 ships have now been cleared to sail under the Ukraine-Russia grain deal, which was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations – ten outbound and two bound for Turkey. ‘Ukraine. Some 322,000 tonnes of agricultural products left Ukrainian ports, mostly corn but also sunflower oil and soybeans.
Four ships that left Ukraine on Sunday are expected to anchor near Istanbul on Monday evening and be inspected on Tuesday to ensure they are carrying only food south and no weapons to Ukraine.
But the grain deal remains far from straightforward. The first cargo ship to leave Ukraine, the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, left Odessa on August 1 for Lebanon with 26,000 tonnes of maize for chicken feed. But it ran into a commercial dispute and will no longer dock in Lebanon, the head of Tripoli’s port told The Associated Press on Monday.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Beirut tweeted on Monday that the end buyer of the corn in Lebanon had refused to accept the shipment due to the delay in delivery beyond a contractual limit and that the shipper was now looking for another buyer for corn.
Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut, Mehmet Guzel in Derince, Turkey, and Andrew Wilks in Istanbul contributed.
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine