War in Ukraine: the site of a nuclear power plant bombed for the second time in 24 hours

War in Ukraine: the site of a nuclear power plant bombed for the second time in 24 hours

The site of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, was bombed for the second time in just over 24 hours over the weekend, while four new cargo ships loaded with grain, crucial for global food security, left Ukrainian ports on Sunday.

The information to remember :

  • The site of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant was bombed twice in 24 hours
  • Four cargo ships loaded with grain left Ukraine

As after the previous bombings on Friday on these facilities located in the south of Ukraine and which fell into the hands of Russian soldiers at the beginning of March, the two belligerents accused each other on Sunday of having attacked them.

The occupation authorities of the city of Energodar, where the Zaporizhzhya power plant is located, thus claimed that the Ukrainian army fired a cluster munition device with a “Hurricane multiple rocket launcher” on the night of Saturday to Sunday. “The shrapnel and the rocket engine fell 400 meters from a working reactor,” they continued, adding that this strike had “damaged” administrative buildings and hit “a used 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 “injuries caused by the explosion” of one of the rockets fired “Saturday evening” by the Russians.

“Three radiation monitoring detectors around the plant site were damaged (…). Therefore, it is currently impossible to detect “a possible increase in radioactivity and therefore to “intervene in good time”, she added.

Attacks on nuclear power plants are “suicidal”

“There is not a single nation in the world that can feel safe when a terrorist state bombs a nuclear power plant,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted in his daily video. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had deemed on Saturday “increasingly alarming” the information coming from the Zaporizhzhya power plant, one of whose reactors had to be shut down after the attack the day before.

The Ukrainian authorities had accused the Russians of carrying out three strikes on that site on Friday. Moscow, for its part, had assured that Ukrainian shells had hit it.

At the time of the seizure of the power plant, the Russian military had opened fire on buildings, at the risk of a major nuclear accident. “Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in Tokyo on Monday morning. “I hope that these attacks will end. At the same time, I hope that the IAEA will be able to access the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant”.

Four cargo ships loaded with grain left from Ukrainian ports

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 tons of goods related to agriculture”, said the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure.

The blocking of millions of tons of grain due to the war has caused food prices to soar in the poorest countries and sparked fears of a global food crisis.

The latest Russian attacks have left at least five civilians dead

From the east to the south of Ukraine, military operations continued over the weekend. Russian attacks have left at least five civilians dead in the eastern Donetsk region, its governor Pavlo Kirilenko said.

In the same province, near Virnopillia, “the occupiers tried to carry out an assault”, but were “repulsed”; they also “retreated” near Slovyansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and several other localities, announced Sunday evening the general staff of the Ukrainian army.

The Russians also “bombed two districts of Kharkiv” in the northeast, destroying “industrial infrastructure” there, as well as, not far away, the areas of Bogodukhiv, Izyum and Chuguiv, reported Oleg Sinegubov, governor of the Kharkiv region. “Two people were hospitalized, a 16-year-old boy and an 83-year-old man. Both were victims of mines,” he said again.

Two others were injured in strikes on Marganets in central Ukraine, said Valentin Reznichenko, the governor of Dnipro province. “We still have a very difficult situation in the (eastern) Donbass, in the Kharkiv region and in the south, where the occupiers are trying to concentrate their forces,” President Zelensky acknowledged.

He took the opportunity to warn the Russians against organizing “referendums” in the occupied territories of the south of his country with a view to their annexation, warning them that if they persist in this path, “they will close to themselves any possibility of negotiations with Ukraine and the free world, which they will certainly need at some point”.

On the same day, the NGO Amnesty International said it regretted the “anger” triggered in Kiev by one of its reports in which it reproaches the Ukrainian military for endangering civilians, but it once again maintained its conclusions.

The Kremlin, for its part, welcomed a small “victory”: the re-election of former Russian deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich as head of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), following a vote in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. Another symbolic image is that of the American actress Jessica Chastain in Kiev, where she met Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, who thanked her for her “support”.

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