Monday, July 15, 2024

Zelensky warns of “ugly” Russian attack ahead of Independence Day


  • Ukraine warns Russia could do something ‘especially ugly’
  • Zelensky urges battle against despair and fear
  • The August 24 event also marks six months since the Russian invasion
  • new eruptions in the Crimea; Missile near nuclear plant wounds 12

Kyiv (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Ukrainians to be vigilant ahead of celebrations on Wednesday to commemorate 31 years of independence from Soviet rule as new explosions hit Crimea and injured 12 civilians near a nuclear power plant.

Zelensky said on Saturday that Ukrainians should not allow Moscow to “spread despair and fear” before the events of August 24, which also come six months after Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“We should all be aware that this week Russia may try to do something especially ugly, something especially sinister,” Zelensky said in a videotaped nightly remarks.

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The curfew in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is scheduled to be extended for a full day on Wednesday, regional governor Oleh Sinihub said. The curfew usually lasts from ten in the evening until six in the morning in the northeast of the city, which is regularly exposed to Russian bombardment.

“Stay home and heed the warnings!” Synehub wrote for residents of the Telegram messaging app.

On Saturday, Russian and Ukrainian officials said a Russian missile hit a residential area in a southern Ukrainian town not far from a nuclear power plant, wounding 14 civilians.

Ukrainian officials have said that the blow to the Pevdenoukrainsk nuclear plant (southern Ukraine) and the new bombing near the Zaporizhzhya plant, the largest in Europe, have revived fears of a nuclear accident.

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In his speech, Zelensky also indirectly referred to the recent series of explosions in Crimea, the Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia in 2014.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attacks, but analysts said at least some of them were made possible by new equipment used by its forces.

“You can literally feel Crimea in the air this year, that the occupation there is only temporary and Ukraine is coming back,” Zelensky said.

In the latest attack in Crimea, the Russia-appointed governor, which has not been acknowledged by the West, said a drone bombed a building near the headquarters of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea on Saturday morning.

“A drone flew over the roof. It was flying at a low altitude,” Mikhail Razvogayev said on Telegram. “It fell right above the fleet headquarters. It fell on the roof and burned. The attack failed.”

Razvogayev said that the anti-aircraft system in the area had been activated again and asked residents to stop filming and posting pictures of how it worked.

Ukrainian media reported explosions in neighboring towns, among which were the resorts of Yevpatoria, Olynyivka and Zazornoy.

Children are among the injured

In the aftermath of the raid near a power plant in southern Ukraine, Vitaly Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv region, said on Telegram that four children were among the wounded.

Private houses and a five-storey apartment building were damaged in Voznesensk, 30 km from the plant, Ukraine’s second largest.

In updating the death toll, authorities in the southern district of the Ukrainian army said 14 civilians were wounded.

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The state-run Energoatom, which operates four nuclear power generators in Ukraine, said the attack on Voznesensk was “another act of Russian nuclear terrorism”.

“It is probable that this missile was directed specifically at the Pevdnokrainsk station, which the Russian army tried to take over at the beginning of March,” it said in a statement.

Russia did not immediately respond to the accusation. Reuters was unable to verify the situation in Voznesensk. There were no reports of damage to the plant in southern Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine traded new accusations of bombing the Zaporizhia station, which Russia has controlled since March.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-appointed official in the nearby town of Enerhodar, said Ukrainian forces had launched at least four raids on the plant.

Yevvin Yutushenko, mayor of the Ukrainian-controlled city of Nikopol on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River, said Russian forces had repeatedly bombed the town.

Talks about arranging a visit to the Zaporizhzhya plant by the United Nations nuclear agency stretched for more than a week. Ukrainian authorities have urged the United Nations and other world bodies to force Russian forces to leave the plant. Read more

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(Reporting by Ron Popesky and Natalia Zenets) Written by Simon Lewis and Clarence Fernandez; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and William Mallard

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Rainerio Manuel
Rainerio Manuel

"Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst."