War in Ukraine: what to remember on the 169th day of the Russian invasion
“The situation is getting worse, radioactive substances are located nearby and several radiation sensors have been damaged,” noted the Ukrainian state company Energoatom following the attacks on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. “At present, no contamination has been detected at the station and the level of radioactivity is normal”, however affirmed Evguéni Balitski, the head of the civil and military administration set up in this region of the south-west. east of Russian-occupied Ukraine, pointing out that “several tons” of radioactive waste are stored there.
Information to remember:
– kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of having bombed the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
– The UN considers the situation worrying and meets Thursday evening
– The Russians shell an industrial city
“Five new strikes were reported in the direct vicinity of a depot of radioactive substances,” Energoatom said, pointing to Russian forces, which seized the Zaporizhia power plant on March 4, just days after the start – February 24- of their offensive in Ukraine.
The accusation of the Russians against the Ukrainians
A pro-Russian official, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the regional administration installed by Moscow, for his part blamed “the fighters (of Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky”, evoking five shots of multiple rocket launchers and artillery pieces heavy on the right bank of the Dnieper, the great river that crosses the region, in the same place and in identical terms.
“The grass caught fire in a small area, but no one was injured,” read the Russian and Ukrainian statements, which report five other projectiles falling near a fire station located not far from there. Several bombings for which the two parties also reject responsibility, without it being possible to verify these statements from independent sources, had already occurred on the territory of the plant at the end of last week, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. .
The strikes had also continued overnight from Wednesday to Thursday on the front line, including in the vicinity of these highly sensitive installations.
Washington says it supports a demilitarized zone around Zaporizhia
The United States on Thursday called on Russia to cease all military operations in and around nuclear power plants in Ukraine and said it supports kyiv’s call for a “demilitarized zone” in Zaporizhia.
“Fighting near a nuclear power plant is dangerous and irresponsible,” a State Department spokesperson said, adding that “the United States continues to call on Russia to cease all military operations in and around nuclear power plants. nuclear power plants and return full control to Ukraine, and support Ukrainian calls for a demilitarized zone in and around the nuclear power plant.”
Zelensky calls on the world to ‘respond immediately’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on the international community to “react immediately” to remove the Russians from the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and target of bombings. “The whole world must react immediately to drive out the occupants of the Zaporizhia power plant,” the largest in Europe located in southern Ukraine and occupied by Russian troops since March 4, said the Ukrainian president in his daily video address. “Only the total withdrawal of the Russians (…) would guarantee nuclear security for all of Europe”.
“The time is serious”, says the head of the IAEA to the UN Security Council
“The situation is serious,” the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the UN Security Council on Thursday, demanding access to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant that Moscow and kyiv accuse each other of having bombed. “The situation is serious and the IAEA must be authorized to carry out its mission in Zaporijjia as quickly as possible”, declared Rafael Grossi, speaking on video during this emergency meeting of the Security Council. The Zaporijjia plant, the largest in Ukraine, has been under Russian control since early March.
A risk of “catastrophic consequences”
“Unfortunately, instead of a de-escalation, even more disturbing incidents have been reported in recent days, incidents which if continued could lead to a catastrophe,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, saying to himself. “gravely concerned about the situation in and around the plant”. “It must be clear, any damage to Zaporizhia or any other nuclear site in Ukraine, or anywhere else, could cause catastrophic consequences not only around but for the region and beyond. This is totally unacceptable.” , he insisted.
“I asked everyone to use common sense and reason,” added Antonio Guterres, urging to “immediately cease” all military activity near the plant, not to “target” it and not to use its territory “in the context of military operations” and speaking out in favor of the creation of a “demilitarized perimeter to ensure the security of the area”.
Several Russian shellings recorded
In Nikopol, in the south-east of Ukraine, about a hundred kilometers from Zaporijjia, on the other side of the Dnieper, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko reported three dead and nine wounded in nighttime launches. Russian Grad multiple rockets. In the east, in the Donbass mining basin, the head of the military administration of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, announced in the morning that 11 civilians had been killed in the past 24 hours.
And the Russians relentlessly shell Soledar, an industrial city of 11,000 inhabitants before the war, thus trying to drive out the Ukrainian army in order to advance towards the neighboring, larger city of Bakhmout.
The main objective of the Donbass for Russia
Since Russian troops ended their operation in kyiv at the end of March and withdrew from the outskirts of the capital, the Kremlin has made Donbass, partly controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists, its main objective. The real Russian advance is very slow and the war has turned into artillery duels between two entrenched armies around a few localities. “We are waiting for the armed forces to liberate the south of our country, including Mariupol. We are waiting for it and it will happen soon”, nevertheless released the mayor of this city-martyr, Vadim Boïtchenko.
In Belarus, the army on Thursday denied reports of explosions that occurred overnight near a military airfield in the Gomel region, near the border with Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense only spoke of a vehicle having “caught fire”. In Crimea, strong explosions devastated an ammunition depot on a Russian military airfield on Tuesday, causing at least one death and several injuries, but Moscow assured that no strike or shot had caused them.
Kyiv has not admitted responsibility for either incident, but an adviser to the presidency, Mikhailo Podoliak, wrote on Twitter: “The epidemic of technical accidents at airbases in Crimea and Belarus should be considered by the Russian army as a warning: forget Ukraine, take off the uniform and go. Neither in occupied Crimea nor in occupied Belarus will you be safe”.
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