Ukraine: 168th day of war, concerns over the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

On the 168th day of war in Ukraine, the bombardments continue on the front line in Ukraine, including not far from the nuclear power plant of Zaporijjia which will be on the menu of a meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations during the day.

In Nikopol (south-east), about 100 km from the Zaporijjia power plant, which is on the other side of the Dnieper River, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko reported on his Telegram account three dead and nine wounded in Russian bombardments nights with Grad multiple rocket launchers.

In Donbass (east), the head of the military administration of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, announced on Telegram Thursday morning that 11 civilians had been killed in the last 24 hours: six in Bakhmout, three in Soledar, one in Krasnogorivka and one in Avdiivka.

Russian forces, which are constantly shelling the town of Soledar, are trying to drive the Ukrainian army out of it in order to advance towards the nearby, larger town of Bakhmout.

The real Russian advance was very slow and the war turned into an artillery duel between two entrenched armies around a few localities.

In Latvia, the parliament on Wednesday adopted a declaration qualifying Russia as a “State sponsor of terrorism” and “Russian violence against Ukrainian civilians” as “targeted genocide”.

“Nuclear Safety”

The meeting convened Thursday afternoon at the UN at the request of Russia will examine the security situation of the nuclear site of Zaporijjia, the largest in Europe, which worries the international community.

Moscow and kyiv accuse each other of having bombed it last week, without it being possible to verify these statements from independent sources.

Deadly bombardments had taken place not far from the power station in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian authorities, who deplored 13 killed in the Dniepropetrovsk region and another in that of Zaporijjia.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement that its Director General, Rafael Grossi, would brief the UN Security Council “on the nuclear safety and security situation” at the plant. , as well as its “efforts to agree on an IAEA expert mission to the site as soon as possible”.

The IAEA said its report would detail how the bombings at the site last week “violated virtually all seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security” that Mr Grossi described at the start of the conflict.

On Wednesday, the group of seven most industrialized countries (G7) had demanded that “Russia immediately return to its legitimate sovereign owner, Ukraine, full control of the plant”. “It is Russia’s continued control of the plant that puts the region at risk,” he said.

On Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian operator Energoatom said that Russian forces were preparing to connect the plant to Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine annexed by Moscow in 2014 and on the front line in the Russian offensive against Ukraine triggered on February 24, and deliberately damaged it by carrying out this reorientation of electricity production.

Crimea in the sights

Crimea remains in the sights of the Ukrainians: Tuesday evening, President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that she was “Ukrainian” and that kyiv “will never abandon her”.

Powerful explosions on Tuesday ravaged an ammunition depot at a Russian military airfield in Crimea, killing at least one person and injuring several others and causing panic among thousands of Russian tourists vacationing in the peninsula. The Russian army claimed that no shooting or bombardment had been the cause of these explosions.

For its part, kyiv has not officially acknowledged its responsibility for the incident, but an adviser to the presidency, Mikhaïlo Podoliak, assured on Twitter Tuesday that “this is only the beginning”, because according to him “the Crimea’s future is to be a pearl of the Black Sea (…), not a military base for terrorists”.

On the financial level, Ukraine has obtained from its international creditors a two-year moratorium on its foreign debt, estimated at 20 billion dollars, announced its Prime Minister Denys Chmygal.

“This allows Ukraine to maintain macro-financial stability and strengthen economic viability,” he said Wednesday evening on Twitter.

Ukraine’s economy has collapsed since the start of the war with Russia launched on February 24, and could see its GDP plunge by 45% this year, according to the latest estimates from the World Bank.


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