Mutual Russian-Ukrainian bombing… and a looming catastrophe near the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant

Today, Tuesday, marks a new day of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, where units of the Russian army are trying to establish control and strike the positions of the Ukrainian forces, while Kyiv is trying to regain its territory with military assistance from the West.

In the latest development, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today that Ukraine must be asked to withdraw what he described as its heavy weapons from the area surrounding the Zaporizhya nuclear power plant. Peskov also demanded, in statements reported by “Sputnik”, to stop what Moscow says is the Ukrainian bombing of the station, the largest in Europe.

Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant

Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant

On the ground, the correspondent of “Al-Arabiya” and “Al-Hadath” reported that continuous Ukrainian shelling took place in the various neighborhoods of the city of Donetsk, and the bombing left a complete power and water outage in the town of Yasinvata on the outskirts of the city, and the Ukrainian shelling also hit a water purification plant in Donetsk.

On the other hand, the heavy Russian military machinery bombed the Ukrainian army centers in northern Donetsk, where the city of Bakhmut, the city of Sildar, and the regions of Optinaya and Yakovlevka, while the Russian Wagner forces are fighting in the center of the city of Bakhmut, according to eyewitnesses.

Prior to that, the Telegraph newspaper reported that the British authorities handed over to the Ukrainian side Brimstone-2 high-precision missiles. These missiles are laser-guided, and their launch range is twice that of the previous series.

It is known that the “Brimstone-2” missiles entered service with the British Royal Air Force in 2016. The “Brimstone” missiles were designed mainly to be anti-armor, and over time they evolved to be able to destroy a wide range of targets.

Brimstone precision missiles

Brimstone precision missiles

Earlier, the British Ministry of Defense announced that it would soon complete the delivery of about a thousand anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. She noted that Britain will deliver launch pads to Ukraine with missiles capable of shooting down targets in the air, including drones and cruise missiles.

On Monday, Russia and Ukraine accused each other of being responsible for at least 12 explosions near the Ukrainian Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control since the first days of the military operation on February 24.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on NATO members to Ensuring protection from “Russian sabotage” of nuclear facilities.

The attack came as battles erupted east after Russian forces moved into the industrial Donbass region from the vicinity of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces in the south of the country recaptured recently.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that whoever shot the station “is taking a great risk and gambling with the lives of many people.”

It has not yet been possible to determine which side was responsible for the bombing. The attacks also hit a cooling pond, a cable for one reactor and a bridge to another reactor, according to an IAEA team on the ground that relied on information provided by plant management.

The repeated bombing of the plant during the war raised fears of a serious catastrophe in the country, which suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident, the Chernobyl plant explosion in 1986.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said radiation levels remained normal and there were no reports of injuries. Grossi said that while there was no direct impact on the nuclear safety and security systems, “the bombing came dangerously close.”

Russia’s response to its military setbacks in the past weeks included launching a barrage of missile strikes, many of them on energy facilities, while causing power outages in most parts of the country with the advent of winter and temperatures dropping below zero.

Zelensky said that the Russian missiles disrupted half of the country’s electricity production capacity.

The IAEA said Grossi had spoken to world leaders and emphasized to them the need to create a protection zone for nuclear safety and security around Zaporizhia.

Rosatom has controlled the facility through a subsidiary since President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia in October to formally take over the plant and transfer the Ukrainian employees to a Russian entity.

Kyiv controls the territory off Zaporizhia station on the other bank of the Dnipro River.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine had fired at the power lines supplying the station. The Ukrainian nuclear energy company, Energo Atom, said the Russian military bombed the site, accusing it of nuclear extortion and carrying out actions that “endanger the whole world.”

The Ukrainian military said late on Monday that Russian forces had tried to make advances around Bakhmut and Avdiivka in Donetsk, and had shelled nearby towns.

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