Bombing Hits Power Lines At Ukraine Nuclear Plant, Both Sides Trade Blame

  • Technicians shut down reactor at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant
  • Three grain ships leave Ukrainian Black Sea ports
  • Turkey’s Erdogan meets Putin in Russia
  • Fighting in the east centers on a fortified village

Kyiv, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Shelling hit a high-voltage power line at a major Ukrainian nuclear power plant captured by Russia on Friday, prompting plant operators to take a reactor offline even though no one was detected. radioactive leak.

Ukraine’s state nuclear power company, Energoatom, blamed Russia for damage to the Zaporizhzhia power plant, Europe’s largest. Earlier this week, the United Nations nuclear watchdog requested access to the plant, which Washington says Russia is using as a shield on the battlefield. read more

The Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukrainian forces of bombing the plant, which was seized by Russian forces in early March at the initial stage of the war, saying a radiation leak was prevented only by luck.

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He said that as a result, the generating capacity of one unit had been reduced and the power supply to another had been cut off. In addition, the nearby city of Enerhodar had water and electricity supply problems, according to a ministry statement.

It was not the first time that military action had caused alarm in Zaporizhzhia, where the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency had reported at times the loss of connection with surveillance systems that track nuclear material.

The Russian-installed Enerhodar administration said in a statement that a fire had broken out and power necessary for the safe operation of the reactors had been cut. The plant is still run by its Ukrainian technicians.

Energoatom said the plant, about 200 km (160 miles) northwest of the Russian port of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine, was still operational and no radioactive discharges had been detected.

A decision was made to disconnect one reactor from the grid due to damage to a 330-kilowatt high-voltage power distribution line connecting the plant to the thermal power station, it said.

Further east, both sides claimed small gains as Russian artillery shelled towns and villages over a wide area in a now-familiar tactic.

US WEAPONS PACK

The next arms package to Ukraine from the United States was expected to be $1 billion, one of the largest yet, three sources briefed on the matter told Reuters. read more

If signed in its current form, it will include ammunition for long-range weapons and armored medical transport vehicles, the sources said.

The package is expected to be announced on Monday and would add about $8.8 billion in aid the United States has provided to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on February 24.

In other developments, three grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday and the first incoming cargo ship since the Russian invasion was due to load in Ukraine, marking new steps in the Kyiv government’s efforts to revive its economy after five months of war. .

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is cultivating a role as mediator in the war, in the Russian city of Sochi.

“The international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Russia,” said Fahrettin Altun, one of Erdogan’s top advisers.

Turkey helped broker the deal that saw the first grain ship leave a Ukrainian port for foreign markets on Monday since the invasion.

On Friday, two bulk carriers left Chornomorsk and one from Odessa with a total of some 58,000 tons of corn, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said.

The Turkish bulk carrier Osprey S, flying the Liberian flag, was expected to arrive in Chornomorsk on Friday to load grain, the Odessa regional administration said.

Russia and Ukraine normally produce about a third of the world’s wheat, and the United Nations has warned that disruption to grain shipments through the Russian-dominated Black Sea could lead to famine in other countries, particularly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. .

“We hope that security guarantees from our UN partners and Turkey will continue to work, and food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market participants,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said. .

The Ukrainian Port Authority said on Monday that 68 ships were docked in Ukrainian ports with 1.2 million tons of cargo on board, two-thirds of it food.

BATTLE FOR THE FORTRESS

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in what Putin called a “special military operation,” the conflict has turned into a war of attrition fought mainly in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Moscow is trying to gain control of the largely Russian-speaking Donbas, made up of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, where pro-Moscow separatists seized territory after the Kremlin annexed Crimea from the south in 2014.

Russia’s TASS news agency on Friday quoted separatist forces as saying they and Russian troops had taken full control of Pisky in the Donetsk region, a fortified village held by Ukrainian troops and near the city of Donetsk. , which is in the hands of Russian-backed separatist forces.

But Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said: “There is very little evidence of any movement here. They (the Russians) tried to move forward, but they were unsuccessful.”

Ukraine has turned the town into a stronghold, seeing it as a buffer against Russian-backed forces that control the city of Donetsk some 10km to the southeast.

TASS also said fighting was taking place in the town of Bakhmut, north of Donetsk and Russia’s next main target.

Arestovych said Ukrainian forces had recaptured two villages near Izyum in the Kharkiv region, which borders Russia, and were advancing on a third.

Reuters was unable to verify either side’s claims about the battlefield developments.

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Reuters bureau reports; Written by Nick Macfie, Angus MacSwan, and Daphne Psaledakis; Edited by Mark Heinrich and Grant McCool

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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