- Heavy Russian shelling was reported on the Donbas front
- The latest Ukrainian attacks damaged an important bridge in Kherson
- Both sides are accusing each other of firing on the nuclear plant
KYIV, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Ukraine reported intense Russian fire across the front line on Tuesday as both sides blamed a weekend strike on the Zaporizhia nuclear complex that raised international concerns about a possible nuclear disaster.
Heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk, where Ukrainian officials said Russian forces had launched offensives in an attempt to seize control of the industrialized Donbass region.
“The situation in the region is tense – shelling continues along the entire front … the enemy is also using massive airstrikes,” Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko told Ukrainian television.
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“The enemy is not succeeding. The Donetsk region is occupied.”
Around Kharkiv in the northeast, Ukrainian forces captured the town of Dovenke from Russian occupiers and were advancing towards Izium, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said in a video posted on YouTube.
“The situation is very interesting. Ukraine’s army is advancing very successfully. Russia’s attempts to regain lost ground have not been successful. Ukraine is likely to encircle them,” he said.
In the southeast, the main Antonovsky Bridge over the Dnipro River in Kherson region was again targeted by Ukrainian forces in an attempt to disrupt Russian supply lines.
Yuriy Sobolevsky, deputy head of the Kherson regional council, ousted by Russian occupiers, said on Telegram that the bridge had been severely damaged “after overnight operations”.
Reuters could not verify the reports.
Between 70,000 and 80,000 Russians have been killed or wounded since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, US Undersecretary for Defense Policy Colin Kahl said on Monday. Russia calls the war a “special military operation”.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Monday called any attack on the nuclear power plant “suicide” and called for UN nuclear inspectors to enter Zaporizhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power complex of its kind.
Russia’s invading forces occupied the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia in March, after the site had not damaged its nuclear reactors. The area, including the city of Kherson, is now the target of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Read on
Ukraine called for demilitarization of the area around the complex and called for access to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Russia said it favored the IAEA visit, which it accused Ukraine of blocking. Read on
Both sides blamed each other for weekend attacks around the complex, which is still being operated by Ukrainian technicians. Ukraine said three radiation sensors were damaged and two workers were injured by shrapnel.
Petro Kotin, head of Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom, said 500 Russian soldiers and 50 pieces of heavy equipment, including tanks, trucks and armored personnel carriers. Read on
They called in peacekeepers to man the plant and warned of the danger of shells falling on six containers of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.
Russia’s defense ministry said the Ukrainian strikes had damaged power lines serving the plant and forced it to reduce output at two of the six reactors “to avoid disruption”. Read on
Reuters could not independently verify either side’s account.
In an evening video shared online, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for new Western sanctions on Russia’s nuclear industry for “creating the threat of a nuclear catastrophe.”
Atomic expert Dr. Imperial College London. Mark Weinman downplayed the risk of a major incident, saying the Zaporizhia reactors are relatively robust and the spent fuel is well protected.
Increasing its financial aid and military spending on Ukraine, Washington announced that it would send $4.5 billion in budget support and $1 billion in weapons, including long-range rocket munitions and armored medical transport vehicles.
In total, the United States has contributed more than $18 billion to Ukraine this year. Read on
While arms and money poured into Ukraine, the United States was imposing economic sanctions on wealthy elites who support the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.
A US judge authorized prosecutors to seize $90 million from Airbus (AIR.PA) The plane belonged to sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch, prosecutors said Monday. Read on
Skoch, a member of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, was initially sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in 2018 for alleged ties to Russian organized crime groups. It was hit by further sanctions in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
The plane is now in Kazakhstan, court documents show. The Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United States did not respond to a request for comment.
Russia says it is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine to rid it of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the West are described as a war of aggression.
The conflict has displaced millions of people, killed thousands of civilians and destroyed cities, towns and villages.
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Report by Reuters Bureau; Writing by Stephen Coates; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore
Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.