Ukraine’s state-owned energy company says the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has been shelled again and blames Russian forces, while the Russian-backed local administration says Ukrainian forces are to blame.
Enerhoatom said in an Aug. 11 statement that the factory site was hit five times, including near radioactive material storage sites. The shelling was followed by five more strikes, which struck an area of a fire station not far from the plant, the company said.
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There were no injuries and the situation at the plant was under control. Added Enerhoatom in his expression Posted on Telegram that reports of workers fleeing the plant in panic were “fake and manipulative”.
On August 11, the Russian-backed local administration said it was Ukrainian rocket fire that hit the plant.
“Zelensky’s militants have again attacked the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the area near the nuclear facility,” said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Moscow-based regional administration, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The claims of both sides could not be verified independently.
The Zaporizhzhya plant, which was captured by Russian forces in the early stages of the war, was hit by shells last weekend, also leading to both sides exchanging blame.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres again called for an immediate end to military activities near the plant.
“Regrettably, there has been no de-escalation in recent days, but reports of further deeply worrying incidents which, if sustained, could lead to disaster,” Guterres said in a statement Aug. 11.
“At a technical level, agreement on a secure demilitarization perimeter is urgently needed to ensure the security of the area,” Guterres said.
The statement comes ahead of an emergency UN Security Council meeting convened by Russia to address the crisis at the plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Director-General Rafael Grossi will update the Security Council meeting “on the nuclear safety situation” at the facility, as well as his “efforts to agree and lead an IAEA expert mission to the site, as soon as possible.”
As early as August 11, heavy fighting was reported around the eastern Ukrainian town of Pisky, about 10 kilometers northwest of the city of Donetsk.
“It’s hot in Pisky,” wrote Danil Bezsonov, a member of a Russian-backed separatist group calling itself the Donetsk People’s Republic, on Telegram early Aug. 11. “The city is ours, but there are still pockets of resistance to the north and west.”
Ukrainian officials said their troops still controlled the city. Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in an interview that Russian forces tried to enter Pisky “unsuccessfully”.
None of the reports could be independently verified.
After forcibly annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014, Moscow fomented separatist movements in parts of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, collectively known as Donbass.
Kyiv-backed Luhansk region governor Serhiy Hayday said in an August 10 interview that Russia had bolstered its armed forces in the region, including by deploying large numbers of mercenaries from the Vagner Group, a private security firm with close Contact Links to the Kremlin.
That’s what Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk predicted on August 11 Further mandatory evacuations would be ordered for a number of areas affected by fighting.
Vereshchuk reported that as of August 11, 3,908 people had been evacuated from the Donetsk region, including 777 children.
She said forced evacuations had been carried out for the first time and it was likely that they would take place in other regions.
“We are now seeing the worsening of the situation. And with the onset of the fall-winter heating season, it will definitely get worse,” as heating becomes more difficult to provide, she said during a briefing.
Zelenskyy said last month that hundreds of thousands of people still lived in areas of Donbass where there was intense fighting.