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The explosion shook the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine


A woman walks past a house badly damaged by Russian shelling in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, November 19, 2022.
A woman walks past a house badly damaged by Russian shelling in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, November 19, 2022.

On Saturday and Sunday morning, powerful explosions shook the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The head of the UN Atomic Energy Agency called the fighting between Russia and Ukraine in the region “extremely disturbing.”

The explosion abruptly ended a period of relative calm at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said, “Whoever did it must stop immediately.” As I’ve said many times before, you’re playing with fire! ”

Grossi called on Russia and Ukraine to urgently agree to create a nuclear safety and security zone around nuclear facilities. However, his earlier call did not lead to any new controls on fighting in the area.

The IAEA said the attack on Zaporizhzhia damaged some buildings, systems, and equipment but did not threaten nuclear safety. No casualties were reported.

As the cold winter hit Ukraine, Russia has been attacking Ukraine’s power grid and other critical infrastructure from the air, causing widespread power outages for millions of Ukrainians. The Ukrainian president said that in the Zaporizhzhia region alone, Russian troops shelled the civilian infrastructure of about a dozen communities, destroying 30 houses.

According to the report, one person was injured and 20 buildings were damaged in the shelling of the city of Nikopol, which is across the river from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear facility.

Russian artillery fire hit three regions north of Kharkiv — Kupyansk, Chujiv, and Izyum — in the past day, while in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Russian shelling killed one person and damaged power lines in the Donetsk region, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office.

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Meanwhile, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a daily intelligence update on Sunday that Russia’s recent withdrawal from the southern city of Kherson was “in relatively good order” and that its success “may be due in part to a more effective, single operational command under Gen. Sergei Surovikin.” ”

The British Ministry of Defense said that the loss of Russian vehicles could be dozens, not hundreds and that any equipment left “was successfully destroyed by Russian forces and left not left to Ukraine.” ”

However, the report warns that the Russian military “remains torn apart by poor junior and middle leadership and a culture of cover-up.” ”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday that Ukraine’s defense has global implications. Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, Austin said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine heralded a world where nuclear-weapon states could threaten other countries.

Austin said: “Putin’s dictator friends are watching from the sidelines. “They will likely conclude that acquiring nuclear weapons will give them their own hunting license.” This could lead to a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation. ”

Austin also said Moscow’s efforts to win support from countries like Iran and North Korea pose new security challenges for the United States and its allies.

Earlier, Colin Carr, a senior policy adviser at the Pentagon, said that Russia is trying to deplete Ukraine’s air defense systems and dominate the Ukrainian sky.

Russia has been attacking Ukraine with missiles for the past week, the worst since Moscow’s invasion nine months ago.

In Kiev, people woke up Saturday covered in inches of snow. Authorities in the Ukrainian capital warned that the city would be “completely closed” due to temperatures below freezing.

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmehal said that Russian airstrikes have wreaked havoc on the energy grid in the Ukrainian capital, while continuing to bomb Ukraine, from Kiev in the north to Odessa in the south, destroying nearly half of Ukraine’s energy system.

“They are determined to destroy our power grid,” Andrei Yemak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said in a speech at the Halifax forum.

Yermak said: “This is a humanitarian disaster. Moscow has always regarded cold and darkness as allies. It has always used the deprivation of basic necessities as a tool of war. It has always flouted humanitarian law. Russia is a terrorist state. ”

In a nightly video address on Saturday, Zelensky said there are still difficulties in the energy supply across Ukraine in freezing temperatures.

“Energy workers are doing everything possible to get people to live normal lives,” he said. ”

He added that Kherson is restoring transport links.

Zelensky said: “This is the first train from Kiev. We create new opportunities for people every day. ”

Earlier Saturday, Zelenskiy also addressed the annual meeting in Halifax. “The end of the war does not guarantee peace,” he said. Russia is now seeking a short truce, a respite to restore strength … Such a respite period will only worsen the situation. ”

(Some of the information in this article comes from AFP, Reuters, and The Associated Press.) )

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