Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned a Russian missile strike near a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Monday and accused Moscow of putting the whole world in danger with its actions. The missile landed just 300 meters from the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region, Zelensky wrote on Telegram, adding that such attacks must stop “before it’s too late,” informs MIA.
A blast wave from the impact of the missile reportedly caused over 100 windows at the three-reactor nuclear plant to smash and left a 2-meter deep crater in the ground. Ukraine’s nuclear power agency Enerhoatom reported another missile attack on an industrial site near the plant, which damaged three high-voltage power lines and a nearby hydroelectric plant.
The shelling of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in the past few months has already raised international concern about a potential nuclear disaster in Ukraine, but unlike Zaporizhzhya, the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant is under full Ukrainian control. Elsewhere in the country, Ukrainian troops reportedly continued to displace Russian troops from occupied areas of eastern Ukraine on Monday, logging battlefield wins in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions and consolidating gains made in a recent counteroffensive, according to Ukrainian media.
Zelensky used his Monday night video address to thank the police and security agencies for their work restoring order to newly liberated areas of the country and said that both occupying Russian troops and collaborators were now “panicking tangibly.”
“I cannot reveal all the details, but thanks to the security service of Ukraine, we are now confident that the occupiers will not have any foothold on Ukrainian soil,” the president said. In the Donetsk region at least 13 people being killed by artillery fire in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to media reports, with two shells hitting a bus stop and a nearby store.
The pro-Russian authorities in the region blamed Ukrainian troops for the shelling, while Kyiv has long claimed that Russian forces routinely fire upon territory they control to produce anti-Ukrainian propaganda. In the neighboring Russian-controlled Luhansk region, a court handed two local employees of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) a 13-year prison sentence after finding them guilty on charges of espionage, Russian news agency TASS reported.
The OSCE employees had collected “evidence of the movement of military equipment and weapons” between August 2021 and April 2022, according to the court. Reacting to the sentencing, OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid called for the pair’s “immediate and unconditional release,” stressing that they had merely been carrying out their official duties.
Meanwhile, last week’s discovery of a mass grave containing over 400 bodies in the liberated north-eastern city of Izyum continued to generate controversy, with the Kremlin once again denying Russian forces had any involvement in the atrocity. Ukraine has said war crimes were committed by Russian troops during their occupation of Izyum, and Zelensky compared their behavior to that of the Nazis over the weekend. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described the Ukrainian accusations as “a lie” according to the Interfax news agency, adding that Russia would defend the “truth.”
Peskov said Kyiv and its allies were making the same unfounded accusations as they did back in March, when civilian atrocities allegedly carried out by Russian troops in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha came to light.
Meanwhile, the daily intelligence update on the conflict published by Britain’s Ministry of Defense on Monday said the Russian air force was coming under increasing pressure due to the loss of jets and the poor situational awareness of its pilots.
“Russia’s continued lack of air superiority remains one of the most important factors underpinning the fragility of its operational design in Ukraine,” the ministry update said.