Fighting over a Ukrainian nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has fueled fears of an international nuclear disaster, and world leaders are voicing concern.
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven, an intergovernmental political forum of major industrialized nations, demanded on Wednesday that Russia return control of the plant to Ukraine, Reuters reported.
Russian troops retook the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine, one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world, shortly after invading the country in February. Before the war, the plant accounted for about half of the electricity produced by nuclear energy in Ukraine.
Ukrainian operators were kept in place to run the plant. But the conflict over the facility has fueled fears of a nuclear disaster similar to Chernobyl, which saw the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told The Associated Press last week that the conflict near the Zaporizhzhia plant “is completely out of control” as he pleaded Russia and Ukraine to allow inspectors to visit the site. Grossi said the factory’s equipment supply chain had been disrupted and there had been reports of violence between Russian troops and Ukrainian staff members.
“What’s at stake is extremely serious and extremely serious and dangerous,” Grossi said.
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►Ukraine has accused Russia of using its position near the nuclear power plant to target the nearby town of Marhanets in a rocket attack that killed at least 13 people, Reuters reported. Russia did not immediately comment on the allegations.
►Slovakia, one of three European countries whose oil shipments from Russia were halted after a payment problem, said the issue had been resolved and shipments were coming in again. But the Czech Republic and Hungary said they had not yet received their shipments.
►While the European Union decided to block two of Russia’s main propaganda and disinformation channels – RT and Sputnik – at the start of the war, NewsGuard, a New York-based company that tracks online disinformation, has identified 250 websites spreading propaganda and disinformation and dozens of new sites in recent months.
CHART:Mapping and tracking the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian journalist-turned-activist arrested and faces 10 years in prison
A Russian journalist who was fined three times for criticizing the war in Ukraine is now being held and faces 10 years in prison if found guilty, her lawyer has said.
Marina Ovsyannikova, who rose to international fame in March when she held up an anti-war placard behind the presenter of a news program on state broadcaster Channel One, has been accused of spreading false information about Russian armed forces, lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said in a telegram post. Ovsyannikova’s home was raided and she was taken in for questioning on Wednesday, he said.
Ovsyannikova, born to a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother, quit her job as a Channel One producer and became an activist after her first protest, which led to her arrest and a fine.
In July, she held up a banner calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin that read, “Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists. 352 children were killed (in Ukraine). How many more children would have to die for you to stop?
Shortly after invading Ukraine in February, Russia passed a law that punishes statements against the military with up to 10 years in prison. According to Net Freedoms, a legal aid group specializing in free speech cases, on Wednesday there were 79 criminal cases for spreading false information about the military and up to 4,000 administrative cases for disparaging the armed forces. .
Explosions at Crimea air base kill 1, injure 14; Ukraine says nine planes were destroyed
Ukraine’s air force said on Wednesday that nine Russian fighter jets were destroyed in multiple massive explosions at a Russian-controlled airbase in Crimea. The explosions left one dead and 14 injured.
Russia denied that any planes were damaged and said several ordnance at the base caught fire and exploded. But the blasts have sparked speculation they were the result of a Ukrainian attack, although Ukrainian officials have refrained from publicly claiming responsibility.
The explosions also destroyed windows, damaged nearby apartment buildings and scared away tourists.
Ukrainian guerrilla forces push back
Growing resistance by Ukrainian guerrilla forces has blown up bridges and trains and killed pro-Moscow officials in Russian-occupied areas in southeastern Ukraine.
The resistance group Zhovta Strichka, or “Yellow Ribbon”, helps the Ukrainian army and erodes Russian control in the region.
The guerrilla groups coordinate with Ukrainian army special operations forces and help select targets, prepare ambushes and establish a network of weapons caches and hideouts in Russian-occupied areas.
“Our goal is to make life unbearable for the Russian occupiers and to use all means to frustrate their plans,” Andriy, a 32-year-old guerrilla coordinator in the southern Kherson region, told The Associated Press. . He spoke on condition that he not be fully identified.
Contributor: The Associated Press