On the 166th day of war, Moscow and kyiv exchange accusations

The armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine marks its 166th day on Tuesday, August 9. While the humanitarian situation is deteriorating, the fighting continues, arousing the concern of the international community.

On Monday, Moscow accused Ukrainian forces of bombing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia in Ukraine, occupied by the Russian army, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky raised the specter of the Chernobyl disaster.

In this context, Russia has suspended American inspections of its missile bases, as provided for in the New Start nuclear disarmament treaty signed with the United States in 2010.

At the same time, the regular rotations to supply world agricultural markets which began last week continued. A freighter loaded with 60,000 tons of grain left for the first time since the start of the war Pivdenny, one of the three Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea concerned by the agreement signed on July 22 by the belligerents.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure hopes to “reach a rate of three to five ships per day” leaving Ukraine within two weeks.

Global concern

Moscow stressed on Monday that the bombing of the Zaporizhia power plant “could have catastrophic consequences for a wide area, including European territory”, while President Zelensky warned of a repeat of the biggest nuclear disaster. civilian, which occurred in his country in 1986.

“The world must not forget Chernobyl (…) The Chernobyl disaster is the explosion of a reactor and the Zaporijjia power plant has six reactors”, he hammered into the evening.

The two belligerents have accused each other since Friday of bombing this power plant located in southern Ukraine, taken in early March by Russian soldiers, without any independent source being able to confirm.

“There should be a mission of peacekeepers which would also include experts from the IAEA”, the International Atomic Energy Agency, judged the boss of the Ukrainian company Energoatom, Petro Kotin, following the Friday and Saturday strikes for which Russia and Ukraine blame each other.

“Ukrainians control the reactor facilities” and “there is no information that they have been mined”, he however assured, but “the Russians mined the coast near the power plant and “there are probably cars loaded with explosives near the first and second reactors.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said the latest bombardment over the weekend damaged a high-voltage line supplying electricity to two Ukrainian regions.

“We continue to call on Russia to cease all military operations in and around Ukrainian nuclear power plants and to return control of them to Ukraine,” the White House urged on Monday, saying that “fortunately, we have no indication an abnormal increase in radioactivity levels”.

“Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing,” warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “I hope these attacks will end. At the same time, I hope that the IAEA will be able to access the plant”.

The IAEA had judged on Saturday “more and more alarming” the information coming from Zaporijjia, one of whose reactors had to be stopped after a bombardment the day before.

disarmament treaty undermined

In the midst of a Russian offensive in Ukraine, Moscow “officially informed” Washington on Monday that all Russian military sites subject to American inspections under the New Start disarmament treaty would be “temporarily exempt”. These include missile firing bases, as well as air and naval bases where nuclear devices are located.

“The Russian Federation is obliged to resort to this measure (…) because of the existing realities which (…) deprive Russia of its right to carry out inspections” in the United States, declared Russian diplomacy.

New Start, which limits the arsenals of the two main nuclear powers on the planet to a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads each, is the latest bilateral agreement of its kind binding them.

Washington, for its part, announced new military aid worth one billion dollars to Ukraine, including ammunition for the Himars precision artillery systems, short and medium-range missiles for the Nasams air defense systems, as well as than the fearsome Javelins, anti-tank weapons.

The World Bank will also provide 4.5 billion dollars to Ukraine thanks to funds provided by the United States, in order to help the government to meet “urgent needs caused by the war”.

80,000 Russian soldiers killed or wounded?

On the ground, the Ukrainian army claimed to have struck again in the night from Sunday to Monday the strategic Antonivski bridge spanning the Dnieper in Kherson, a southern city taken on March 3 by the Russian army.

The Ukrainian General Staff also reported repelled attacks “in the direction of Sloviansk” and against Bakhmout, in the East, while “the Russians continued to bombard” in several other regions, including those of Kharkiv (north- east) and Zaporizhia.

In the latter partly occupied province, the authorities appointed by Moscow officially announced on Monday that they were starting preparations for the organization of a referendum on its attachment to Russia.

The day before, Volodymyr Zelensky had warned the Russians against such “referendums”, warning them that if they persist in this way, “they will close to themselves all possibility of negotiations with Ukraine and the free world, which they will certainly need at some point”.

Separately, Himar missiles hit Russian forces in Melitopol, another city they conquered in southern Ukraine, according to its mayor Ivan Fedorov.

In total, according to the Pentagon, “70,000 to 80,000 Russian soldiers” have been killed or injured since the start of the conflict on February 24.

In Cherniguiv, in the North, a court sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison a Russian tanker accused of having fired on an apartment building.

The Ukrainian security services have also claimed to have thwarted an assassination attempt on the Minister of Defense and the head of military intelligence.


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