Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces began raids on two major cities in the eastern Donetsk region on Saturday and continued rocket and artillery fire on other Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian military and local officials said. Including cities close to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. .
The cities of Bakhmut and Avdivka are both considered key targets for Russia’s continued offensive in eastern Ukraine, and analysts say Moscow will need to push ahead in the regional hubs of Slovensk and Kramatorsk. Need to capture Bahmut.
“In the direction of Donetsk, the enemy is conducting offensive operations, mainly in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdivka. It uses ground attacks and army aviation,” the Ukrainian General Staff said on Facebook.
Russia’s last strike against Slovensk was on July 30, but Ukrainian troops are strengthening their positions around the city in anticipation of new fighting.
“I don’t think it will be quiet for long. Eventually, there will be an attack,” Colonel Yuri Bereza, head of the Volunteer National Guard regiment, told The Associated Press.
Ukrainians dig as Russians prepare to attack key eastern city https://t.co/srY58wydVI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 6, 2022
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kirilenko wrote on Telegram on Saturday that five civilians were killed and 14 others were injured in the last day of Russian shelling in the Donetsk region, saying there were people in Populus. Two people were killed, one each in Avdivka, Soledad and Pervomayski.
Three civilians were injured after a Russian rocket landed on a residential area in Nikopol, a city across the Dnieper River from the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region said. The plant has been under Russian control since Moscow’s army captured it early in the war.
“After midnight, Russian troops attacked the Nikopol region [Soviet-era] Grad rockets, and the Kriveri area from barrel artillery,” Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.
Another Russian missile strike damaged unspecified infrastructure in the regional capital Zaporozhye overnight. Russia fired 60 rockets at Nikopol on Thursday, destroying 50 residential buildings in the city of 107,000 and leaving residents without power.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, warned this week that conditions at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant were increasingly dangerous.
He said the plant “violated every principle of nuclear safety”. “It’s a big deal.”
He expressed concern about the way the factory was run and the danger posed by the fighting around it. Experts from the American Institute of War Research said Russia was intentionally shelling the area, “putting Ukraine in a difficult position”.
The Ukrainian company that operates the plant said on Saturday that Russian troops were using the plant’s basement to escape Ukrainian shelling and barred its Ukrainian employees from going there.
“Ukrainian personnel do not yet have access to these sites, so in the event of new shelling, people will have nowhere to hide and are at risk,” Ukrainian state-run Enerhoatom said on its Telegram channel.
Enerhoatom said Friday that Russian rockets damaged the plant’s facilities, including nitrogen oxygen units and high-voltage power lines. Local Russian-appointed officials acknowledged the damage but blamed it on the Ukrainians.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Crimea hit by homemade drone improvised explosive device https://t.co/OJrwIU4eIg
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 31, 2022
In other developments:
- In southern Ukraine on Saturday, two civilians were seriously injured after Russian troops fired rockets at the Black Sea port of Nikolayev before dawn, according to regional authorities. This was followed by an attack on Mykolaiv on Friday afternoon, which left one dead and 21 injured.
- In the Kherson region, south of Nikolayev, the deputy mayor of the Russian-occupied city of Novakakhovka is in a critical state after an assassination attempt, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti quoted the deputy head of the Kherson region as saying . This is under Russian control.
- __On Saturday, three other ships carrying thousands of tons of corn from Ukraine were moored north of Istanbul awaiting inspections, the Turkish Defense Ministry said. The Panamanian-flagged Navi Star, carrying 33,000 tons of grain bound for Ireland, left Odessa on Friday. It was followed by Turkish-flagged Polarnet and Malta-flagged Rojen, with more than 25,000 tonnes of maize from Chernomorsk. The Joint Inspection Center was established to transport grains blocked by Ukraine due to the war to the world. On Friday, the center inspected its first northbound vessel to Chernomorsk.
- In the north, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, and its environs were also hit again overnight by Russian rockets, according to regional governor Oleh Syniehubov. An 18-year-old boy in Chuhuiv, a small town near Kharkov, had to be hospitalized on Saturday after picking up an unexploded shell. Both Chuhuiv and Kharkiv are near the Russian border and have been under constant Russian shelling in recent weeks.
- Near-constant artillery and missile strikes also occurred in the neighboring area of Sumy, which borders Russia. Its governor said Saturday that the area had been hit by more than 60 attacks on Russian territory the previous day, and an injured civilian had to be hospitalized.
- In terms of ammunition, Russia has begun using Iranian combat drones in the war, with Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksi Arestovich saying on YouTube that Tehran has handed over 46 drones to the Russian army.
Dozens of Azov prisoners of war killed in prison blast, Russia and Ukraine blame each other https://t.co/cjYvgERFwK
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 31, 2022
Joanna Kozlowska from London