On Friday, Kiev and Moscow accused one other of hitting Europe’s largest nuclear site, prompting a reactor shutdown as three grain cargoes left Ukraine under a pact to avoid food shortages.
Russian troops have controlled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station in southern Ukraine since the beginning of their invasion, and Kiev accuses them of stockpiling heavy weapons there. Moscow, for its part, has accused Ukrainian forces of attacking the plant.
“There is a risk of hydrogen leakage and radioactive spraying. The fire risk is substantial “Energoatom said. It did not record any casualties.
It said Rosatom employees had fled the plant in haste before the attacks, which destroyed a power connection and forced one of the reactors to shut down.
In his daily video message, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia should “own responsibility for the sheer reality of creating a threat to a nuclear plant.”
“Today, the occupiers created another incredibly dangerous situation for all of Europe by striking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility twice. Any bombing of this site is a heinous crime, an act of terror “he stated.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry has stated that the “potential repercussions of attacking a running reactor are similar to launching an atomic bomb.”
Moscow’s defence ministry refuted the reports.
“Ukrainian armed units carried out three artillery strikes on the grounds of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility and the city of Energodar,” it claimed.
The current flare-up occurred as Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Putin thanked Erdogan for his assistance in resuming Ukrainian grain supplies, the first of which is expected to arrive in Lebanon on Sunday, according to Ukraine’s embassy in Beirut.
The Sierra Leone-flagged bulk carrier Razoni sailed from the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Monday, carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn, the first departure under a UN-backed pact struck with Turkish assistance to alleviate the world food crisis.
According to Kyiv, three more grain-laden ships left Ukraine on Friday, bound for Turkey and markets in Ireland and Britain. A additional 13 passengers are awaiting departure.
“The deliveries have already started. I’d want to thank you for this, as well as for making an associated decision to ensure continuous supplies of Russian food and fertiliser to global markets “In Sochi, Putin informed Erdogan.
According to Asli Aydintasbas, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, the war in Ukraine has “restored Turkey’s self-image as a significant geopolitical player” and given Erdogan a bigger prominence than at any time in recent years.
The Turkish leader hopes that the result would lead to peace negotiations between Putin and Zelensky in Istanbul.
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Meanwhile, Moscow stated on Friday that it has imposed entry bans on 62 Canadian citizens, including government personnel.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the list includes individuals renowned for “their harmful conduct in the struggle against the ‘Russian world’ and our traditional values.”
In Ukraine, a dispute has erupted over allegations that the country is breaking international law and harming civilians in its struggle against the Russian invasion.
Amnesty International issued a report on Thursday detailing events in 19 cities and towns where Ukrainian soldiers appeared to have put people in danger by establishing outposts in residential areas.
President Zelensky equated the claims with victim-blaming. In his evening address on Thursday, he said the rights group sought “amnesty (for) the terrorist state and shifting blame from the attacker to the victim.”
On Friday, Zelensky’s office and local authorities stated that overnight Russian bombardments using widely prohibited cluster bombs and heavy artillery targeted the southern city of Mykolaiv, injuring 20 people, including a 14-year-old kid.
Mykolaiv is the nearest city to the southern front and is on the major route to Odessa, Ukraine’s largest Black Sea port.
Several missiles targeted the city of Zaporizhzhia overnight, while Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, in the northeast, was heavily bombarded.
Ukrainian forces are waging a counter-offensive in the south, claiming to have retaken more than 50 settlements previously held by Moscow.