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More grain from Ukraine puts to sea as fresh strike hits nuclear site

#grain #Ukraine #puts #sea #fresh #strike #hits #nuclear #site

Four more ships loaded with grain left Ukrainian ports on Sunday, as Moscow and Kyiv blamed each other for a new strike at a Russian-held nuclear power plant.

“The second convoy with Ukrainian supplies has just left… three from Chornomorsk and one from Odessa,” Kyiv’s Ministry of Infrastructure wrote on Telegram.

The Mustafa Necati, Star Helena, Glory and Riva Wind were said to have carried “around 170,000 tons of agricultural goods”.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Kyiv exchanged allegations about who bombed the Zaporizhia nuclear facility in southern Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant complex, which has been under Russian control since the early days of the February 24 invasion.

Recent fighting at the plant prompted the United Nations nuclear regulator, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to warn of “the very real risk of a nuclear catastrophe”.

On Sunday, Russian occupation authorities in the town of Enerhodar, where the plan is located, said the Ukrainian army “delivered a strike with a cluster bomb launched from a Uragan multiple rocket launcher” overnight.

The projectiles fell “within 400 meters of a working reactor,” Russia’s state news agency TASS reported.

The strike damaged some administrative buildings and fell in a “zone where used nuclear fuel is stored.”

However, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power company Enerhoatom, which operates the plant, said the “Russian occupiers again fired rockets at the site of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and the city of Enerhodar.”

“A … employee was hospitalized with shrapnel wounds caused by the blast,” the statement said.

AFP could not independently confirm the allegations.

Enerhoatom said on Saturday that parts of the plant had been “seriously damaged” by military strikes the day before and one of its reactors had been forced to shut down.

The prospect of the massive complex being badly damaged in the fighting has raised alarm.

“Any military firepower directed at or from the facility would be tantamount to playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic results,” the IAEA’s Rafael Grossi said on Saturday.

– “Signs of Hope” –

However, renewed shipments of Ukrainian grain to help ease global food shortages and lower prices offer a small glimmer of hope as the war enters its sixth month.

Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, was forced to halt almost all shipments after the Russian invasion, sending food prices skyrocketing around the world and making imports unaffordable for some of the world’s poorest countries.

Pope Francis hailed the resumption of grain exports in Rome on Sunday as “a sign of hope” showing that dialogue is possible to end the war.

“I sincerely hope that in this way we can end the fighting and achieve a just and lasting peace.”

A bulk carrier arrived in Chornomorsk on Saturday to be loaded with grain for the first time since the invasion of Moscow.

Last Monday, the Sierra Leonean-flagged ship Razoni set off from the Ukrainian port of Odessa with 26,000 tons of corn on the first departure under the deal brokered with Turkey.

Then on Friday, Kyiv said another three ships loaded with grain had also left for Turkey and markets in Ireland and Britain, with another 13 awaiting departure.

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#grain #Ukraine #puts #sea #fresh #strike #hits #nuclear #site

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