The UN’s atomic watchdog chief on Sunday denounced “targeted” strikes at Ukraine’s Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, calling for a “stop to this madness”, as Kyiv and Moscow traded blame.
Ukraine in the meantime dismissed Russian accusations that it had executed surrendering troopers.
“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing,” stated a press release Sunday from Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable.
“Whoever is behind this, it should cease instantly,” he added.
“As I’ve stated many instances earlier than, you are taking part in with hearth!”
There were more than a dozen blasts overnight Saturday to Sunday, some of which a team of experts from the agency on site had themselves seen, the IAEA said in a statement.
Speaking to French broadcaster BFMTV later Sunday, Grossi was clear that the strikes on the plant were no accident.
“The people who find themselves doing this know the place they’re hitting. It is completely deliberate, focused.”
The IAEA is to send a team of experts to the plant — the biggest nuclear facility in Europe — and which is currently controlled by Russian troops.
– ‘Staged surrender’ –
Ukraine meanwhile dismissed Russian accusations that its soldiers had killed Russian troops as they were surrendering, in what Moscow has described as a “conflict crime”.
Extracts from the video footage in question showed that in fact, Russian forces had used a “staged give up” to open fire on Ukrainian soldiers, Dmytro Lubinets, the parliament’s commissioner for human rights said Sunday.
“In this case, individuals among the many Russian servicemen can’t be thought of prisoners of conflict, however are those that are combating and committing treachery,” he added.
“Returning hearth just isn’t a conflict crime. On the opposite, those that wish to use the safety of worldwide regulation to kill should be punished.”
Video footage circulated on Russian social media last week purported to show the bodies of Russian servicemen killed after surrendering to Ukrainian troops.
AFP has not independently confirmed the videos.
A UN spokesperson told AFP on Friday it was “conscious of the movies” and “wanting into them”.
– Russian shelling –
Meanwhile In the southern city of Kherson, which Ukrainian troops recently recaptured, residents were facing a fresh challenge after eight months of occupation by Moscow’s troops — Russian artillery attacks.
After Russian shells pounded the industrial area next to their home, setting fire to an oil depot there, Yuri Mosolov and his wife decided it was time to leave.
“After yesterday’s shelling, my spouse stated: let’s not take too many dangers and go,” Mosolov told AFP.
A carefully planned campaign by Kyiv targeting logistics networks, bridges and pontoon crossings battered Russian supply lines and forced their troops to abandon the city and retreat to the Dnipro’s eastern bank.
Now the armies are increasingly engaging in heavy artillery exchanges across the river.
“Artillery duels are nonetheless occurring. The fight continues,” said Dmytro Pletenchuk, the Ukrainian military’s spokesman in the area. “Kherson is now on the frontline.”
Elsewhere near Kherson, Russian strikes hit near a humanitarian distribution area in the village of Bilozerka, sending residents fleeing on Saturday.
– Terms for peace –
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his daily address, said there had been nearly 400 Russian attacks in the east of the country alone on Sunday.
The toughest battles, he said, were in the eastern Donetsk region — one of those Russian now claims as its own. Fighting was also continuing in neighbouring Lugansk.
Teams were working around the clock to repair damage to the energy infrastructure wrought by Russia’s artillery bombardments — but “stabilisation blackouts” were nevertheless necessary in 15 regions, including Kyiv, he added.
And he once again set out Kyiv’s terms for peace, which include food and energy security, the release of all prisoners and deportees and the withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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