Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – A fire in an ammunition depot in Russia forced evacuation of two villages near the border with Ukraine, official said on Friday as two civilians were injured in a Russian shelling near the Zaporozhye nuclear plant. power plant, as both sides exchanged accusations of fighting near the facility in south of Ukraine.
fire Late on Thursday evening, an ammunition depot was hit building next to the village of Timonovo in Belgorod, Russia region on Northeastern border of Ukraine. Around 1100 people live in Timonovo and Soloti, about 15 miles (25 km) from the border. Not one suffered, said the governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov.
fire came a few days after another ammunition depot exploded on Crimean peninsula, territory occupied by Russia on The Black Sea, which was annexed by Moscow. in 2014.
Last week, nine Russian combat aircraft were reported. destroyed at the airbase on Crimea, showing both the vulnerability of the Russians and the ability of the Ukrainians to strike deep behind enemy lines.
Ukrainian authorities stopped of publicly take responsibility. But President Volodymyr Zelensky hinted at Ukrainian attacks behind enemy queues after explosions in Crimea, which accuses Russia on “sabotage”.
This was stated by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergei Ryabkov. in on Friday, it was stated on television that statements by Ukrainian officials about attacks on targets in Crimea notes “escalation of a conflict openly encouraged by the United States and its NATO allies.”
Ryabkov said Russian officials had warned the US against such actions in phone calls with high level members of the Biden administration, adding that “the deep and open involvement of the United States” in war in Ukraine “actually puts the US on edge of becomes party to conflict.”
Despite of in latest incidents, western official said the war “almost stalled”. with no one side in a position to launch a major offensive.
“The whole pace of in campaign slowed down partly because both sides became more realizing that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that the pace of spending and the preservation of their ammunition are important, ”said official said who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to publicly discuss intelligence matters.
Late Friday Ukrainian official stated that two civilians had been wounded by Russian shelling of Ukrainian communities neighboring the Zaporozhye NPP, latest in long string of such accusations of shooting over in past weeks.
“BUT new enemy attack on Nikopol region. Five shells of Russian cannon artillery hit residential areas of Manganese,” said the governor of the region Valentin Reznichenko. on Telegram. Both Nikopol and Marganets are cities controlled by Ukraine. face Nuclear power plant across the Dnieper.
“According to preliminary data, two people were injured: 18-year-old woman and 40-year-old man. Both in hospital, Reznichenko added.
Kyiv and Moscow continue to blame each other for shelling near Europe’s largest nuclear plant power factory.
BUT senior official with the President of Ukraine office told reporters “a threat of ecological catastrophy on a global scale” remains due to “periodic shelling” of plant by the Russian army.
Kirill Timoshenko, Deputy head of the presidential office stated at the same briefing that the Russian shelling had destroyed “more more than 3700 infrastructure facilities” in neighborhood of plant, including objects of heat supply, electricity supply, gas supply and water supply.
Zelensky also emphasized the situation around the Zaporozhye plant in his Friday evening address.
“If the radiation blackmail of Russia continues, this summer down in in history of various European countries as one of most tragic of all time. Because no instruction on any nuclear power factory in in world provides a procedure in in case a terrorist state goes nuclear power hit the target,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in them first a telephone conversation dated May 28 that Ukrainian shelling around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant power plant “raised the threat of large-scale catastrophe that could lead to radioactive contamination of large areas.”
Zaporozhye nuclear facility in The south of Ukraine was controlled by Russian troops shortly after invasion began on 24 February. Ukraine blamed Russia of storage of troops and weapons at the factory and using his grounds for striking against Territory under the control of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials and military Analysts say Moscow forces cynically used the plant as a shield, knowing Ukrainians would hesitate fire back.
Russia denied the accusations and, in in turn, accused the Ukrainian forces of bombarded the plant several times.
This was stated by the President of France. in a statement that Macron “highlighted his concern” about the situation at the Zaporozhye plant and expressed his support for deployment of International Atomic Energy Agency mission to the website “how soon as possible”.
Putin agreed to the deployment under discussion terms, according to France. The Kremlin said that “Russian side confirmed its readiness to provide the necessary assistance to the agency’s specialists.
Yevgeny Balitsky, pro-Moscow leader of interim administration for Russian controlled part of The Zaporozhye region said on Friday that the IAEA mission could approach the plant from the territory controlled by Ukraine, the change in Moscow’s position, which previously assumed that mission should travel to the plant from the Crimea.
“I believe they can also from side of Ukraine,” Balitsky said. in statements on television. “We can safely deliver them to the factory and show where fire comes from and who shoots.”
Mikhail Ulyanov, Plenipotentiary Representative of Russia in international organizations in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, said he thought the agency’s visit could realistically take place in beginning of September.
IN OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:
– State Energy Company “Gazprom”. announced what key The Russian gas pipeline will shut down for three days of maintenance in the end of this month, increasing economic pressure on Germany and other European countries it depends on fuel for power industry, power generation and heat homes. latest shutdown will come a month after Gazprom restored natural gas supplies through the gas pipeline to only a fifth of of its capacity after the previous shutdown for maintenance. Russia blamed cuts through pipeline on technical problems but Germany called the shutdown political move Kremlin to sow uncertainty and push up prices amid conflict in Ukraine.
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the port in coastal Ukrainian city of Odessa, where he praised ongoing efforts to maintain the shipping corridor on The Black Sea allows for export of vital supplies of Ukrainian grain. Guterres said 25 ships have departed from Odessa and other Ukrainian ports since Russia and Ukraine signed a four-month grain export deal. in July. These ships carried over 600,000 tons of grain and other food like wheat, corn, sunflower oil and soybeans, Guterres said.
__ Responding to reports that Russia plans to transfer electricity from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to the Russian grid, the UN chief said that the UN supports the disarmament of the plant, saying that if this is done, problem will be resolved. “And it is obvious that electricity from Zaporozhye is Ukrainian electricity, and it is necessary, especially in winter. for Ukrainian people and this principle must be fully respected,” Guterres said.
– at least five people were killed and 10 people were injured as a result of shelling by the Russians of cities and villages in Eastern Donetsk of Ukraine region, according to regional authorities. Russian shelling of in city of Kharkiv also killed at least one Civilian early Friday. Russian missiles again port facilities and university hit building in southern port city of Nikolaev.
__ Ukrainian military said he interfered over a dozen Russian attempts to advance in Eastern Donetsk region at the forefront of Moscow offensive. In his regular social media updateGeneral Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine also reported that Russia continued to shell cities and villages in the south and east of Ukraine.
Russian-installed governor of the largest in Crimea city said the drone was shot down down there. ” air defense system works in Sevastopol,” said Mikhail Razvozhaev. on Telegram. “According to preliminary data, the UAV. Targets were shot down,” he said. On Thursday, Razvozhaev said that a drone had been shot down down near the local airport of Sevastopol. His claims could not be immediately verified.
Jill Lawless in London has contributed.
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