War in Ukraine: drone strikes in Kursk, explosion near Zelensky, head of the IAEA in Russia… update on the situation

War in Ukraine: drone strikes in Kursk, explosion near Zelensky, head of the IAEA in Russia... update on the situation

Volodymyr Zelensky et Kyriakos Mitsotakis en visite à Odessa. MAXPPP – PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT

Tous les jours, Midi Libre fait le point sur la situation en Ukraine. Ce mercredi 6 mars 2024, découvrez les dernières actualités autour de ce conflit.

The head of the IAEA in Russia to discuss the situation in Zaporizhia

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Wednesday to discuss the safety of the plant Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, occupied by Moscow for two years.

The Kremlin broadcast the two men's preliminary remarks but revealed nothing of the closed-door meeting that followed in the southern Russian resort town. Vladimir Putin said he was ready to discuss "particularly sensitive and important issues on the agenda" and "do everything possible to ensure safety wherever we are involved in nuclear energy".

The boss of the Russian public nuclear group Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, was present alongside Vladimir Putin. Rafael Grossi also spoke at the start of the day with officials from Rosatom and the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, according to the RIA agency. He said he had "tense" discussions and was able to take stock of the situation, without further details.

Located in southern Ukraine, occupied by Russian forces since the first days of the February 2022 invasion, the Zaporizhia power plant, the largest in Europe, was damaged by a fire at the start of the war and its perimeter continues to be the scene of clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces, for which both camps blame each other. The IAEA is seeking to establish a safety mechanism to prevent an accident.

Over the past eighteen months, the plant has been deprived of all electrical connections eight times, forcing engineers to hook up diesel generators to ensure essential operations such as cooling nuclear fuel . An electrical line currently supplies the power plant and the six reactors of the complex are shut down, which limits the risks, but the situation remains precarious according to the IAEA.

Ukraine said it feared last year that the plant would face a water shortage, which poses a danger even when the reactors are inactive.

Drone strikes against steel plant in Kursk region

Two drones struck fuel tanks at one of Russia's largest steel plants on Wednesday, causing no injuries, Russian officials and the owner of the plant said. factory.

"Today, as a result of a drone attack in the Zheleznogorsk district, a fuel tank (.. .) of the Mikhailovsky mining and processing plant caught fire", Metalloinvest, Russia's largest iron ore producer, said, in a press release. "There were no casualties. Necessary measures are currently being taken to extinguish the fire, the group added.

Later, Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit said that a second drone had struck the Mikhailovsky factory. Unverified videos posted on Russian Telegram channels showed clouds of black smoke rising into the sky and damage to the factory, apparently after the first strike. The region's governor accused Kiev of being behind the attack in this district, known for its iron mines and located about 90 km from the Ukrainian border.

Mikhailovsky exploits an iron ore deposit whose reserves amount to 10.4 billion tonnes, according to Metalloinvest. In recent weeks, drone attacks carried out by Ukraine have repeatedly targeted Russian refineries and other economic infrastructure. The Kursk region has been regularly hit by Ukraine since February 2022.

Explosion in Odessa during a visit by the Greek Prime Minister, who reaffirms his support for Kiev

Greece will continue to stand alongside Ukraine, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared this Wednesday March 6, 2024 after speaking with Ukrainian President Voloymyr Zelensky in the port city of Odessa, where an explosion occurred near their meeting place.

"My presence here reflects the respect of the entire free world for your people and underlines Greece's commitment to remain by your side", the Greek leader told his interlocutor during what constituted his first visit to Ukraine since the launch of the Russian offensive in February 2022.

Volodymyr Zelensky and Kyriakos Mitsotakis went to a residential building targeted on Saturday by a Russian drone attack which killed 12 people including five children. During that visit, the Greek prime minister said, sirens sounded and both leaders heard a heavy explosion as they returned to their vehicles.

"We confirm the attack on the port infrastructure of the city of Odessa and the death of five people. There are also injured", lamented spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk, quoted by RFI. The attack would have taken place just a few hundred meters from the Ukrainian head of state and the Greek delegation, reports the media of the country in conflict with Russia.

"This is, I think, the starkest reminder that a real war is raging here", a said Kyriakis Mitsotakis, urging other European Union leaders to visit Ukraine to fully appreciate the impact of the war on civilians. "We realize who we are dealing with", said Volodymyr Zelensky in reference to Russia. & quot;They don't care where they hit. I know there are victims today, I don't know all the details yet. There are killed, wounded", he added.

Via the social network quot; during the visit of the Ukrainian and Greek leaders. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Moscow has intensified its strikes against Ukrainian port infrastructure since last summer, following its decision to abandon an agreement overseen by the United Nations which was intended to protect grain exports in the Black Sea. Since then, Kiev has set up its own "humanitarian corridor" in an attempt to circumvent the blockade imposed de facto by the Russian navy.

A Ukrainian navy commander said separately on Wednesday that Russia had launched some 880 drone attacks and more than 170 missiles against port facilities in the Odessa region since last July.

Greece, a member of NATO and long-time supporter of Ukraine's entry into the Transatlantic Alliance as well as the European Union #39;EU, offered Kiev military aid. "We discussed additional ways we can implement to strengthen security in the Black Sea. About how we can further protect our people – both soldiers and civilians. We need additional air defenses", Volodymyr Zelensky said.

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