The Ukrainian nuclear power operator has accused the Russian military of deploying missile launchers at the site of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine to fire particularly in the Dnipro and Nikopol regions, where deadly strikes were reported overnight and on Saturday morning.
“The Russian occupiers have installed missile firing systems on the territory of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant,” Petro Kotin, president of Energoatom, said on Telegram, after a television interview on the Ukrainian channel United News.
“The situation (at the plant) is extremely tense and the tension is increasing day by day. The occupiers are bringing their machinery there, including missile systems with which they have already struck across “the Dnieper” and into Nikopol territory, 80 kilometers southwest of Zaporizhia, he said. he said.
Up to 500 Russian soldiers are still on the site of the plant and they “control” it, according to him.
Ukraine's most important power station fell to Russian forces in early March, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The governor of the Dnipro region, Valentyn Reznichenko, denounced on Saturday “a deluge of fire in the morning” in the territory of Nikopol, with the firing of “Grad missiles at residential areas”, and 12 buildings, a school and a university damaged.
In Nikopol, “ rescuers found two people dead in the ruins,” he said.
On Friday evening, the Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian Kh-101 missiles had been fired around 10:00 p.m. from the Caspian Sea at Dnipro, four of which were destroyed.
The southern region command center said at dawn on Saturday that the situation was “tense, but under control”.
“The enemy continues to carry out offensives on formerly occupied territories, but, for lack of success on the ground, it intensifies missile and air strikes”, he reported on Facebook, citing Russian actions in the regions of Kherson (south) and Odessa (south) in particular.
Further north, near Kharkiv, the country's second largest city, the city of Chugiv was hit Friday evening by Russian missiles which killed three people, announced Oleg Sinegoubov, the governor of the region.
These are “two men aged 60 and 68, and a woman aged 70”, he said.
The Ukrainian military command for the Sumy region, in some 200 km northwest of there, had reported mortar fire and shelling throughout the day in the evening, which left a total of one dead and seven wounded.
On Friday evening, Kramatorsk, the main city of the Donbass basin still under Ukrainian control, in the Donetsk region, also suffered several bombardments.
A strike on its central square, named Peace Square , left a two-meter crater and shattered the windows of surrounding buildings, but did not cause any casualties, as it intervened after curfew, according to an air defense official of the Ukrainian 81st brigade, under cover anonymity.
Previously, at least three strikes had hit south of Kramatorsk, towards the airport, where AFP reporters saw a large plume of smoke. From a height, they saw another above Sloviansk, a nearby town also coveted by the Russians.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has accused Ukrainian forces of bombing Sloviansk by making believe Russian strikes “in order to instill anti-Russian sentiments among the civilian population.”
24th dead in Vinnytsia
But Ukraine and the international community remain reeling from the cruise missile strikes that devastated the center of Vinnytsia on Thursday, hundreds of kilometers away the west.
The death toll from the attack was 24 on Saturday. “Unfortunately, a woman died in hospital today, she was 85% burned,” announced the governor of the Vinnytsia region, Serguiï Borzov, adding that 68 people continued to receive treatment, including four children.
“The identification of all those guilty” of this attack “has already begun,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Friday evening.
“Russian society, with so many murderers and executioners, will remain annihilated for generations, and this by its own fault,” he said.
Faced with international condemnation, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed to have targeted in Vinnytsia a meeting of the “command of the Ukrainian air forces with representatives of foreign arms suppliers”.
A senior American official in the Defense observed, however, on condition of anonymity, that it had “no indication of the presence of a military target nearby”.
Russia has never acknowledged any blunder or crime of its armed forces in Ukraine and systematically ensures that it only hits military targets.
Shoigu with Russian soldiers
In Donbass, separatist forces said they were continuing to advance and were in the process of taking complete control of the town of Siversk, which came under attack after taking Lysychansk further east earlier this month.
< p>Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a press briefing that the “115th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Army, which operated in Siversk, was destroyed”. < /p>
According to the British Ministry of Defence, “Russian forces are slowly advancing west after shelling and assaulting Siversk from Lysychansk, to open a path to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk”.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited soldiers involved in the offensive in Ukraine, the ministry announced on Saturday, without specifying the date of this visit, the second after a first in June – or if it had taken place in Ukraine or Russia.
He “gave the necessary instructions to further increase” the measures in order “to exclude the possibility of the kyiv regime launching massive strikes (.. .) on civilian infrastructure and housing in the Donbass and other regions,” the ministry added. of the planet, US President Joe Biden announced on Saturday di billion dollar aid for the Middle East and North Africa.