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13 dead in Russian attacks near nuclear power plants

#dead #Russian #attacks #nuclear #power #plants

Ukraine on Wednesday accused Russia of rocket attacks that have killed 13 civilians in areas near a Russian-controlled power plant, where renewed fighting has raised fears of a nuclear disaster.

Eleven people were also injured, five of whom were in serious condition, during night strikes in the Dnipropetrovsk region of central Ukraine.

“It was a terrible night,” regional governor Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram, urging residents to take shelter if they hear air raid sirens.

“I beg and beg of you… Do not let the Russians kill you,” he wrote, adding that Russia had fired a total of 80 rockets into the area.

Most of the victims were in the town of Marganets, just across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.

Regional council chairman Mykola Lukaschuk said the strikes had hit a local power line, leaving thousands of people without electricity.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of recently shelling the plant itself.

Ukraine says Russia has deployed hundreds of troops and stockpiled ammunition at the facility.

Tensions have brought back memories of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine, which killed hundreds and spread radioactive contamination across much of Europe.

The facility was captured by Russian troops on March 4 after a battle with Ukrainian forces.

– beachgoers on the run –

The attacks came a day after heavy explosions at Saki airfield, a key military base on Russia’s annexed Crimea peninsula.

Dramatic amateur footage shared on social media appeared to show panicked holidaymakers fleeing a Crimean beach with young children as plumes of gray smoke billowed over the horizon.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and used the region as a base for its attacks, but it has rarely been a target of Ukrainian forces.

Moscow insisted the explosions were caused by detonating munitions rather than Ukrainian fire.

The Ukrainian army, which has been asking for long-range artillery from Western allies for months, has hit targets deeper into Russian-held territory since some began arriving in recent weeks.

Kyiv has also appropriated several acts of sabotage inside Russian territory.

– New buyer for Ukrainian grain? –

The war has severely hampered grain supplies from Ukraine, leading to an international food crisis as it is one of the largest producers in the world.

But some ships have been able to leave Ukrainian ports in recent days following a deal with Russia brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

The first shipment of grain on the Sierra Leonean-flagged ship Razoni left the Ukrainian port of Odessa on August 1 and was due to dock in the Lebanese port of Tripoli over the weekend.

However, the Ukrainian embassy said a new buyer was being sought for the delivery after the original Lebanese buyer canceled the order.

A five-month delay after the Russian invasion “led the buyer and the carrier to reach an agreement to cancel the order,” the Ukrainian embassy said in a statement late Tuesday.

It is currently anchored off the Turkish port of Mersin.

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