UKRAINE: Russian military maintained their relentless attacks on Ukrainian communities across the river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor throughout the weekend, according to reports
Reports of shelling near the plant site have fuelled concerns and fears of a nuclear “catastrophe”.
Annexed and now monitored by Russian troops since March but operated by Ukrainian staff, Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, remains a crucial hotspot in the conflict as both sides have continued to trade blame for the attacks.
This time, Russian forces fired at Enerhodar, the city where the plant is located, the chief of staff of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said late on Sunday on his Telegram channel alongside a video of firefighters dousing burning cars.
“They provoke and try to blackmail the world,” chief of staff Andriy Yermak said.
Russian forces also kept up their shelling in the Donbas, the industrial heartland of Ukraine, officials there said.
In his nightly address late on Sunday, Zelenskyy vowed “the occupiers will feel their consequences – in the further actions of our defenders”.
“No terrorist will be left without an answer for attacks on our cities. Zaporizhzhia, Orykhiv, Kharkiv, Donbas – they will receive an answer for all of them,” he said.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the conflict has settled into a full-blown war, with both sides fighting near a sensitive and volatile locale as the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
The U.S. State DepartmentDepartments said on Sunday that Russia did not want to acknowledge the grave radiological risk at the south Ukraine plant and had blocked a draft agreement on nuclear non-proliferation because it mentioned such risk.
The United Nations and Ukraine have called for an urgent withdrawal of troops and artillery from the plant site to ensure it is not a target.
Russia has said that warnings and sanctions will not change its mind on Ukraine. On the contrary, US Interference and Western arms supplies will only drag out the entire conflict.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will travel to Sweden and Czech Republic this week and push for more sanctions on Russia, including an EU-wide visa ban for Russians.
European Union foreign ministers meeting this week are unlikely to unanimously back a visa ban on all Russians, the EU foreign policy chief told Austria’s ORF TV.