Ukraine: Russia fires on towns near nuclear power plant
Kyiv, Ukraine –
Russian forces have fired missiles and artillery at Ukrainian-held areas across the river from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, authorities said on Saturday amid lingering safety concerns plant under Russian control after its temporary decommissioning.
Grad missiles and artillery shells hit the towns of Nikopol and Marhanets, each about 10 kilometers (6 miles) and across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, said Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Ukrainian region of Dnipropetrovsk.
Russian forces occupied the nuclear power plant complex at the start of the war in Ukraine, and Ukrainian workers kept it running. Each side has repeatedly accused the other of bombing the complex, raising fears that the fighting could trigger a disaster.
Authorities on Friday began distributing iodine tablets to residents who live near the plant in the event of a radioactive leak. The move came a day after the plant was temporarily taken offline due to what officials said was fire damage to a transmission line.
Recent satellite images from Planet Labs showed fires burning around the complex over the past few days.
The UN atomic energy agency tried to send a team to inspect and help secure the plant. Officials said preparations for the visit were underway, but it was still unclear when it might take place.
Ukraine claimed Russia was using the power plant as a shield by stockpiling weapons there and launching attacks around it. Moscow, for its part, accuses Ukraine of recklessly firing on the nuclear complex.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, one person was killed and another injured in Russian fire in the Mykolaiv region, local government officials said. The city of Mykolaiv is an important Black Sea port and shipbuilding center.
The governor of the eastern Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said on Saturday that two people were killed in Russian fire on the town of Bakhmut, a major target for Russian and separatist forces seeking to take control of parts of the region. that they do not already have. .