Ukraine. Concern surrounds Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant amid attack fears


Anxiety continued to surround the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine Saturday following stern warnings from both sides of a potential attack on the facility, fear spread through the region and rippling around the world.

The specter of a possible attack on the factory, Europe’s largest, hung over the bitter war, with Russian and Ukrainian officials accusing the other nation of courting calamity and risking a nuclear disaster.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “radiation blackmail” by an address to the nation. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, accused Ukraine of bombing the plant and risking a “full-scale disaster”, a claim unsupported by evidence.

What you need to know about the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia

Although the situation around the plant remained perilous, the Russian authorities also reportedly tightened their security in Crimea amid reports of drone attacks in the region, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

“Russian authorities are visibly tightening security measures in Crimea, indicating growing concern among Russian authorities and civilians about the threat of Ukrainian strikes on rear areas previously believed to be secure,” the statement said. Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based group. in an assessment on Friday.

The governor of Sevastopol said Russian forces shot down a drone approaching the headquarters of his Black Sea Fleet. The claim could not be independently verified.

The status of some Russian forces has also been called into question following a new report on damage caused by recent explosions at an air base on the Crimean peninsula. Ukrainian officials have previously said their special forces were behind multiple explosions strike targets in the Russian-occupied region.

A Washington Post analysis found that at least six explosions shook the Saki water basenear the western Black Sea coast in Crimea more than an hour earlier this month.

The press agency Reuters reported on Friday that an unnamed Western official said the explosions at the Saki base decommissioned more than half of the combat aircraft of the Naval Aviation of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Speaking on Friday, a senior US defense official said he had no “overall assessment” of the “full impact of recent attacks”.

“Certainly we see this overall picture of Russian forces being much more vulnerable than they thought, and we see movements of Russian forces accordingly to try to protect their capabilities,” said the official, who spoke with reporters on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon.

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The official said the US government was concerned about the situation around the Zaporizhzhia power plant and was monitoring it closely, saying any “combat near a nuclear power plant is dangerous”.

“We view Russia’s current actions in and around this plant as the height of irresponsibility,” the official said.

Zelensky, in his address to the nation, said Ukrainian officials and others were working out the details of sending a group – including representatives from the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA) – to visit the factory.

World leaders want UN experts to visit the factory. António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said that “any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide”.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said on August 18 that “any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide” and called for a demilitarized zone around the site. (Video: Reuters)

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the IAEA, call for restrained amid “this highly volatile and fragile situation”, saying tensions needed to be eased “to help ensure nuclear safety and security and prevent any radiological consequences for people and the environment”.

Putin backs sending IAEA officials to plant, says Kremlin Reading from a phone call he had with French President Emmanuel Macron, but finding an inspection formula acceptable to both sides in the war proved elusive.

While fears about the impact of a potential attack on Zaporizhzhia reverberated around the world, the threat also looms in the region surrounding the plant. Although many people left – some a few months after the start of the war, others since the beginning of the bombardments – others stayed putenduring the bombardments and waiting for the uncertainty to end.

Across the river from Ukraine’s nuclear power plant, shelling adds to fear

Officials from both countries threw accusations at each other on social media over the weekend. On Saturday, Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, tweeted a call to “the entire diplomatic community in Vienna” to boycott Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian ambassador there.

Ulyanov tweeted “No mercy for the Ukrainian people!” in response to a post about US aid to Ukraine. He said his words were misinterpreted and argued that he criticized “the policy of pumping Ukraine with guns combined with the rejection of diplomacy (leading to further suffering)”.

Nikolenko said Ulyanov used “genocidal language” and “called for the elimination of the Ukrainian nation”, while Ulyanov tweeted that efforts to link his remarks “to a call for genocide are outrageous and absolutely unacceptable.”

Russian spies misinterpreted Ukraine and misled the Kremlin as war approached

Meanwhile, on the ground in Ukraine, nine people in Mykolaiv were injured on Saturday, including four children, following Russian strikes on a tower, the regional governor said.

In the city of Kharkiv, the regional governor said, Russian rocket attacks hit “critical infrastructure” overnight, damaging homes and commercial buildings but killing no one.

Zelensky, in another address over the weekend, stressed that the war was far from over, saying, “We still have to fight.”

“We all have to be strong enough to endure and go to Ukrainian victory,” he said.

Ukraine is one of the largest grain exporters in the world, although huge quantities were trapped in the country since The invasion of Russia earlier this year.

On Friday, the head of the World Food Program told the Associated press that the United States was preparing to buy 150,000 metric tons of grain from Ukraine in the coming weeks for an upcoming food aid shipment, although the destinations were not confirmed.

Alex Horton in Washington, and Loveday Morris and Ievgeniia Sivorka in Nikopol, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

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