Ukrainian forces reported heavy Russian shelling and attempts to advance on several towns in Donetsk’s eastern region, which have become a focus of the nearly six-month war, but said they repelled many of the attacks.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces also reported Russian shelling of more than a dozen towns on the southern front – particularly the Kherson region, which is mainly controlled by Russian forces but where Ukrainian troops are constantly seizing territory.
Much attention has been focused on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine amid fears of a renewed shelling catastrophe in recent days, for which Russia and Ukraine blame each other.
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned Russian soldiers firing on or using Europe’s largest nuclear power plant as a base would become a “point of interest”. of the Ukrainian armed forces.
The Zaporizhzhia plant dominates the southern bank of a huge reservoir on the Dnipro River. Ukrainian forces controlling the towns on the opposite bank came under intense bombardment from the Russian-held side.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which plans to inspect the facility, has warned of a nuclear catastrophe if fighting doesn’t stop. Nuclear experts fear the fighting could damage the spent fuel facility’s pools or reactors.
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Zelenskyy said Ukraine had often proposed various formats for peace talks to the Russian leadership without making any progress.
“So we have to defend ourselves, we have to answer every form of terror, every case of shelling – the heavy shelling that doesn’t let up a single day,” he said in a video address late Sunday.
Kyiv has for weeks said it was planning a counteroffensive to retake Zaporizhia and neighboring Kherson province, most of the territory Russia captured and still holds after its February 24 invasion.
Ukraine’s military command said early Sunday Russian soldiers had continued to unsuccessfully attack Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka, which since 2014 has become one of the outposts of Ukrainian forces near Donetsk.
Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov said the situation in Avdiivka and nearby towns like Pisky is particularly difficult.
“We do not have sufficient artillery strength and our forces are asking for more support to defend Pisky,” he said in a video posted online. “But the city is basically under Ukrainian control.”
In the neighboring Russian-held Luhansk region, on the grounds beneath an abandoned, charred block of flats, Lilia Ai-Talatini, 48, watched as her mother’s body was exhumed from a makeshift grave to be taken to a cemetery for a proper burial will .
Ai-Talatini told Reuters how it took her ten days to reach her parents’ home, which was on the Russian-held side of the town of Rubizhne, during heavy fighting in March.
“Mother was already dying… her hands were blue, her complexion was sallow, her eyes were dark,” she said. “The next day mother died.”
An official of the Luhansk People’s Republic, a small state founded by pro-Moscow separatists, said a team worked in Rubishne for 10 days and exhumed 104 remains.
“It’s clear that shrapnel wounds predominate, but there are also gunshot wounds,” Anna Soroka said, estimating that there were 500 unofficial graves in the city.
Russia says it supports calls for IAEA inspectors to carry out inspections in Zaporizhia and claims Ukraine is shelling the region
Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.
Russia is calling its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its smaller neighbor, while Ukraine and its Western allies view Moscow’s actions as a war of aggression.
The conflict has pushed relations between Moscow and Washington to a rock bottom, with Russia warning of cutting ties.
Having been largely isolated on the global diplomatic stage, Russia has gained more sympathy from China, whose own ties with Washington have soured over tensions over Taiwan.
And on Monday, North Korean state media said Russian President Vladimir Putin had told leader Kim Jong Un the two countries would develop “comprehensive and constructive” ties.
In July, North Korea recognized the Russian-backed breakaway “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, and officials promised its workers would be sent there to help with construction and other works.
Ukraine immediately severed ties with Pyongyang over the move.
Amid the fighting, more ships carrying Ukrainian grain left or were preparing to leave the country as part of a deal struck late last month to ease a global food crisis.
A cargo bound for Ethiopia, the first since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was preparing to depart over the next few days, while sources said the first grain ship to leave Ukraine under a UN deal is approaching Syria.
“The world needs Ukraine’s food,” Marianne Ward, deputy country director of the World Food Program, told reporters. “This is the beginning of hopefully normal operations for the starving people of the world.”
https://globalnews.ca/news/9060419/russia-ukraine-donetsk-bombings/ Russian forces continue barrage on Ukraine’s Donetsk region – National