Ukraine says its troops are advancing towards Izium as fighting rages in Donbass
- Heavy Russian shelling reported along Donbass front
- New Ukrainian attacks damage key bridge in Kherson
- Both sides accuse the other of bombing a nuclear power plant
KYIV, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Ukraine reported heavy Russian bombardment on the front lines on Tuesday, with both sides blaming each other for the weekend strike on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex, which sparked international concerns about a possible atomic disaster.
Heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk, where Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks as they tried to take control of the industrialized region of Donbass.
“The situation in the region is tense – the shelling is constant along the entire front line… The enemy also uses airstrikes a lot,” Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television.
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“The enemy has no success. The Donetsk region is holding.”
Around Kharkiv in the northeast, Ukrainian troops captured the town of Dovhenke from the Russian occupiers and were advancing towards Izium, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video posted on YouTube.
“The situation is very interesting. Ukrainian forces are moving very successfully. Russian attempts to regain lost ground have not been successful. Ukraine may end up encircling them,” he said.
In the southeast, the Antonovskyi Key Bridge over the Dnipro River in the Kherson region was again targeted by Ukrainian forces attempting to disrupt Russian supply lines.
Yuri Sobolevsky, deputy head of the Kherson regional council ousted by Russian occupation forces, said on Telegram that the bridge was badly damaged after “night actions”.
Reuters was unable to verify the information.
US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said on Monday that Russia had suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties, killed or injured, since its invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. Russia calls the war a “special military operation”.
UN chief Antonio Guterres on Monday called any attack on a nuclear power plant “suicidal” and demanded that UN nuclear inspectors be granted access to Zaporizhzhia, the largest such nuclear complex in Europe.
Invading Russian forces seized the region of southern Ukraine containing Zaporizhzhia in March, when the site was struck without damaging its reactors. The area, including the city of Kherson, is now the target of a Ukrainian counter-offensive. Read more
Ukraine has called for the area around the complex to be demilitarized and for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, to be allowed entry. Russia has said it also welcomes a visit from the IAEA, which it accused Ukraine of blocking. Read more
Both sides blamed the other for the weekend attacks around the complex, which is still run by Ukrainian technicians. Ukraine said three radiation sensors were damaged and two workers injured by shrapnel.
Petro Kotin, head of Ukraine’s nuclear energy company Energoatom, said 500 Russian troops and 50 pieces of heavy machinery, including tanks, trucks and armored infantry vehicles, were at the site. Read more
He called on peacekeepers to run the plant and warned of the risk of shells hitting the plant’s six containers of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Ukrainian attacks damaged power lines serving the plant and forced it to cut output at two of its six reactors to “avoid disruption”. Read more
Reuters could not independently verify either party’s account.
In an evening video shared online, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for new Western sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry “for creating the threat of nuclear catastrophe”.
Dr Mark Wenman, a nuclear expert at Imperial College London, played down the risk of a major incident, saying the Zaporizhzhia reactors were relatively robust and the spent fuel was well protected.
Increasing its budgetary aid and military spending to Ukraine, Washington announced that it would send $4.5 billion in budgetary aid and $1 billion in weapons, including long-range missiles and armored personnel carriers. medical transportation.
Overall, the United States has paid more than $18 billion to Ukraine this year. Read more
While pouring arms and money into Ukraine, the United States was also applying financial sanctions against the Kremlin and the wealthy elites who support President Vladimir Putin.
A U.S. judge has allowed prosecutors to seize a $90 million Airbus (AIR.PA) plane belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch, prosecutors said on Monday. Read more
Skoch, a member of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, was originally sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in 2018 for alleged ties to Russian organized crime groups. He was hit with new sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The plane is now in Kazakhstan, according to court documents. The Kazakh Embassy in the United States did not respond to a request for comment.
Russia says it is carrying out a “special military operation” in Ukraine to rid it of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.
The conflict has displaced millions of people, killed thousands of civilians and left towns, villages and villages in ruins.
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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Stephen Coates; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
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