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The site of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, was the target of strikes for the second time in just over 24 hours this weekend, while four new cargo ships loaded with grain left Ukrainian ports.
As following Friday’s previous bombardments on these installations located in southern Ukraine and which fell into the hands of Russian soldiers in early March, the two belligerents accused each other on Sunday of having attacked them.
The occupation authorities of the city of Energodar, where the Zaporizhzhia power plant is located, thus affirmed that the Ukrainian army had fired a cluster bombardment with a « multiple rocket launcher » during the night from Saturday to Sunday. Hurricane ».
Storage area affected
« The shrapnel and rocket engine fell 400 meters from a working reactor, » they continued, adding that the strike had « damaged » administrative buildings and hit « a spent nuclear fuel storage area. » .
At the same time, the Ukrainian state company Energoatom announced that one of the employees on site had to be hospitalized for « wounds caused by the explosion » of one of the rockets fired « Saturday evening » by the Russians.
« Three radiation monitoring detectors around the plant site have been damaged (…). Consequently, it is currently impossible to detect » a possible increase in radioactivity and therefore to « intervene in good time », a she added.
« More and more alarming »
« Russian nuclear terrorism demands a stronger response from the international community – sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry and its nuclear fuel », reacted the Ukrainian head of state Volodymyr Zelensky, after discussing the latest events with the president of the European Council Charles Michel.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for its part judged on Saturday « more and more alarming » the information coming from the Zaporizhia power plant, one of whose reactors had to be shut down after the attack on the day before.
The Ukrainian authorities had accused the Russians of carrying out three strikes on this site on Friday.
Moscow had for its part assured that Ukrainian shells had hit it.
« Any bombardment of this site is a shameless crime, an act of terror », had hammered Friday evening the president Zelensky.
When the plant was taken over, the Russian military had opened fire on buildings there, at the risk of a major nuclear accident.
Four more ships
As part of the regular rotations to supply agricultural markets started this week under agreements recently signed in Istanbul by the belligerents, four additional ships loaded with grain left southern Ukraine on Sunday.
This convoy, the second since Friday, “has just left the ports of Odessa and Chornomorsk”, with “about 170,000 tonnes of goods related to agriculture”, declared the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure.
The freighter carrying the first load of grain exported by Ukraine since the Russian invasion of February 24 – which had set sail on Monday – will not, however, dock in Lebanon on Sunday as planned.
The blockage of millions of tonnes of cereals due to the war has caused food prices to soar in the poorest countries and raised fears of a global food crisis.
At least five civilians killed
From eastern to southern Ukraine, military operations continued over the weekend, killing at least five Ukrainians.
Thus, on Saturday, « the Russians killed five civilians » in the eastern region of Donetsk, revealed its governor Pavlo Kirilenko.
Also in the east, « the Russian army tried to attack in the direction of Sloviansk, but retreated » and continues to attack in the direction of Bakhmout, according to the staff of the Ukrainian forces.
It « bombarded two districts of Kharkiv », in the northeast, destroying « industrial infrastructure » there, as well as, not far from there, the areas of Bogodoukhiv, Izium and Tchouguïv, Oleg said. Sinegoubov, the governor of the Kharkiv region.
« Two people were hospitalized, a 16-year-old boy and an 83-year-old man. Both were landmine victims, » he said.
Two others were injured in strikes on Marganets in central Ukraine, said Valentin Reznitchenko, governor of Dnipro province.
In the south, « the Russians attacked Ukrainian army positions in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions eight times » and « the Ukrainian army carried out nine airstrikes on Russian bases », the state pointed out. -major.
An official of the Russian occupation administration in the vicinity of the city of Kherson has also succumbed to his injuries after an attack, local authorities appointed by Russia announced on Sunday.
The same day, the NGO Amnesty International said it regretted the « anger » triggered in kyiv by one of its reports in which it accused the Ukrainian soldiers of endangering civilians, again maintaining its conclusions.
The Kremlin, for its part, welcomed a small symbolic « victory »: the re-election of former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkadi Dvorkovitch as head of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), after an election in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.
This article has been published automatically. Sources: ats / afp