RUSSIA/UKRAINE: The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces reported that Russian troops have continued to launch heavy shelling and attempts to march on several towns in the eastern region of Donetsk which has become a key region in the conflict but assured that they had repelled most of the attacks.
The General Staff also mentioned Russian shelling of more than a dozen towns on the southern front- particularly the Kherson region, which is maintained by the Russian forces, but where Ukrainian troops are slowly advancing and gathering momentum.
Much attention has been focused on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that has sparked global concern and outrage over its nuclear ramifications if the plant is shelled and destroyed amid fears of a new catastrophe now that both factions are engaged in a deadly duel, swapping blames for the continued attacks.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone at the plant while Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has threatened Russian soldiers that they will be “special targets” of a fatal offensive who shoot at Europe’s largest nuclear power station or use it as a military base to shoot from.
The Zaporizhzhia plant dominates the south bank of a vast reservoir on the Dnipro River. Ukrainian troops controlling the towns and cities on the other side of the bank have come under intense bombardment in the last few weeks from the Russian-occupied side.
On another note, Ukraine seems to be gaining military mileage in its fight against Russian aggression as reports suggest New Zealand is sending 120 military personnel to Britain to help train Ukrainians in front-line combat, the government said on Monday. The deployment will allow two infantry training teams to equip Ukrainian personnel with core skills needed in combat including first aid, weapon handling, operational law and other skills.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Adern told reporters at a news conference to announce the deployment and said, “We have been clear that a blatant attack on a country’s sovereignty and the subsequent loss of innocent lives is wrong and intolerable. Our condemnation will continue to extend beyond words and include critical support.”
However, it is to be emphasized that the troops supplied by New Zealand will be exclusively trained at one of four locations in Britain, not Ukraine, the government said in a statement.
The training deployments issued include part of a series of relief programmes launched by New Zealand to lend a helping hand to the Ukrainian cause, including more than NZ $40 million ($25.70 million) in financial aid plus the sanctioning of 840 individuals and entities.