Russia-Ukraine updates: Parts of nuclear plant ‘seriously damaged’

Russia-Ukraine updates: Parts of nuclear plant ‘seriously damaged’

Ukraine’s state nuclear agency, Enerhoatom, said parts of the captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant were “seriously damaged” after a station containing oxygen and nitrogen and an “auxiliary building” were struck by shelling. There is now an increased risk of fire and radiation.

On Telegram, the agency said Saturday: “The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is operating at risk of violating the norms of radiation and fire protection.”

“There remains a risk of hydrogen leaking and radioactive particles dispersing, and the risk of fire is also high,” Enerhoatom added.

Moscow and Kyiv have traded accusations about who is responsible for the attacks on the plant. The state energy company said Ukrainian power plant personnel were working to maintain safety levels but they remain under threat as Russian forces occupy the plant.

On Friday, shelling hit a high-voltage power line at the plant. Technicians disconnected a reactor as a precaution even though no radioactive leak was detected.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has called for access to the facility for weeks and has described the situation there in extremely precarious terms. Ukraine has rejected those requests out of concern that it legitimizes Russia’s occupation of the plant.

Grossi said Saturday that the shelling at the plant “underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.”

Ukraine said employees of Russian state atomic energy agency Rosatom left the site before shelling began while Ukrainian workers had stayed on. Ukraine added the plant continues to generate electricity.

On Twitter, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell “condemns” military activity around the plant. He called it “a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms.” 

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on August 6.

Amnesty International Ukraine head leaves after controversial report

Oksana Pokalchuk, the director of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office, quit the organization following accusations that Amnesty made against the Ukrainian army in a report.

The rights group accused the Ukrainian army of endangering civilians by using residential neighborhoods as a base for military operations in several towns following Russia’s February 24 invasion.

Kyiv has reacted to the report by likening the report to Russian propaganda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Amnesty International was shifting the blame to the victim and aiding in Russia’s unprovoked attack on his country.

On Friday, Pokalchuk wrote on Facebook that local Amnesty officials have consistently noted that their organization should take into account information provided by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense before issuing similar reports.

“As a result of this, unwittingly, the organization created material that sounded like support for Russian narratives. In an effort to protect civilians, this study became a tool of Russian propaganda,” Pokalchuk said.

“It pains me to admit it, but we disagreed with the leadership of Amnesty International on values,” she added.

“That’s why I decided to leave the organization.”

Russian offensive in Donetsk continues around Bakhmut

Ukraine’s General Staff said in its morning situation report that Russia is pushing ahead with its offensive in Donetsk and that fierce fighting has erupted in Bakhmut. The town of Bakhmut is the linchpin of Ukraine’s defense in the eastern Donbas region.

“The Russian occupiers continue to carry out air and missile strikes on military and civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine,” military officials said.

Ukrainian troops in the Donbas region are headquartered around Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, in an area that before the war was home to half a million people. The Donbas consists of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and is currently about 60% occupied by Russian forces or forces backed by Russia.

In the east, the Ukrainian line of defense is secured along the towns of Siversk, Soledar and Bakhmut, but that line is now coming under attack as Russian troops are on the outskirts of Siversk and Soledar. The Bakhmut traffic junction has seen the heaviest fighting with shelling and artillery pounding the area.

There is also fighting on the outskirts of Donetsk, where the Russians hope to push the Ukrainian positions back. Ukraine’s General Staff said it had repelled several Russian attacks on the tiny town of Avdiivka.

UK intelligence expects war to enter new phase

UK intelligence expects the war to shift to a new phase with the heaviest fighting set to occur along the southwest from near Zaporizhzhia to Kherson along a front line paralleling the Dnieper River.

Russian forces are amassing in the south in anticipation of Ukraine’s possible effort to retake Kherson. The UK reports observing Russian materiel and equipment moving from the Donbass region toward the Russian-occupied cities of Berdiansk, Mariupol and Melitopol as well as Crimea.

Ukrainian attacks on Russian military infrastructure targets such as bridges, ammunitions depots and rail links are having an effect and doing great damage to Russia’s logistical resupply efforts.

Hiroshima mayor condemns Russia’s invasion on anniversary of atomic bomb

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui condemned Russia for invading Ukraine during his remarks at a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on his city by the Americans to force Japan’s unconditional surrender in World War II.

“In invading Ukraine, the Russian leader, elected to protect the lives and property of his people, is using them as instruments of war, stealing the lives and livelihoods of civilians in a different country,” Matsui said.

“Around the world,” Matsui said, “the notion that peace depends on nuclear deterrence gains momentum.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida were also in attendance at the ceremony in Peace Park.

Russia’s ambassador was not invited to participate alongside other diplomats and dignitaries. Earlier in the week, though, Russia’s ambassador to Japan, Mikhail Galuzin, left flowers at a memorial stone in the park.  

More on the war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met for four hours in Sochi Friday with Ukraine among their agenda items.

In Germany, the commissioner against anti-Roma discrimination urged more aid for Roma people in Ukraine. 

DW also takes a closer look at how the tourism sector in Odesa, a popular beach resort city with Ukrainians and foreigners alike, is staying afloat through the conflict. 

ar/dj (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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Last Update: Sat, 06 Aug 22 13:27:46