Here are five latest developments to know about in Russia’s war on Ukraine this Saturday.
1. EU accuses Russia of ‘irresponsible breach of security’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned Russian military activities around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
The factory is occupied by the Russian army and has been the target of airstrikes that Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of having carried out.
“This is a serious and irresponsible violation of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international standards,” he added. he said via Twitter. He called for immediate access for the international atomic energy watchdog, the IAEA.
There have been fears of a possible radiation leak amid the strikes.
One of the plant’s reactors has been shut down, the Ukrainian Atomic Energy Company announced on Saturday.
“As a result of the attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the emergency protection system was triggered on one of the three operating reactors, which shut down,” Energoatom said in a message on Telegram. .
The source said the shelling had “severely damaged” a nitrogen and oxygen station and an “auxiliary building”. “There is still a risk of leaking hydrogen and radioactive substances, and the risk of fire is also high,” he said.
“The bombardment (…) caused a serious risk to the safe operation of the plant,” Energoatom said, adding that it continues to generate electricity and that Ukrainian personnel continue to work there.
Ukrainian authorities on Friday accused Russian forces of carrying out three strikes near a reactor in Zaporizhzhia, despite Moscow having controlled the territory since the start of the invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned Russia’s bombing of the plant in his usual address to the nation on Friday.
“Today the occupiers created another extremely risky situation for everyone in Europe – they fired on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, twice in one day,” he said. “This is the largest nuclear power plant on our continent. And any bombing of this facility is an open and shameless crime, an act of terror.”
The Russian military claimed Ukrainian forces were behind the strikes, which started a fire that was extinguished. On July 21, Moscow accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out drone strikes around the plant.
Kyiv says Moscow is stockpiling heavy weapons and ammunition on the territory of the factory, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March.
2. The war in Ukraine is about to enter a new phase – British military intelligence
Russia’s war in Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with most of the fighting moving to a nearly 350 kilometer front stretching southwest from near Zaporizhzhia to Kherson, parallel to the river Dnieper, British military intelligence said on Saturday.
Russian forces are almost certainly gathering in southern Ukraine, anticipating a counter-offensive or in preparation for a possible assault, the British Ministry of Defense said on Twitter.
Long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery and other weapons continue to move away from Ukraine’s Donbas region and head southwest.
Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs), which include between 800 and 1,000 soldiers, have been deployed in Crimea and would almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region, according to the update.
Ukrainian forces are focusing their targeting on bridges, ammunition depots, rail links with increasing frequency in its southern regions, including the strategically important rail spur that connects Kherson to Russian-occupied Crimea, it said. -he declares.
3. Head of Amnesty Ukraine resigns in protest at ‘Russian propaganda’ report
Amnesty International’s head in Ukraine, Oksana Pokalchuk, has resigned after the NGO published a report accusing the Ukrainian armed forces of endangering civilians.
Kyiv has reacted with fury to the report that accuses it of placing bases and weapons in residential areas – including schools and hospitals – as it seeks to repel the Russian invasion.
“I am resigning from Amnesty International in Ukraine,” Pokalchuk said in a statement on his Facebook page on Friday evening, accusing the report of unwittingly serving “Russian propaganda”.
Read the full story here.
4. Mykolaiv imposes a curfew to identify pro-Russian collaborators
The southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv launched a strict two-day curfew on Friday night that authorities say will help them find and detain people they believe are helping Russia.
Regional Governor Vitaly Kim said the curfew would help authorities find collaborators. It came as rescuers battled fires caused by the latest bombardment of the city, which lies close to the Russian-occupied parts of the strategically important city of Kherson.
“Last week alone they (law enforcement) arrested four people. And there are more at work. That’s one of the reasons why a curfew will be imposed,” he said. said Kim.
The town of Mykolaiv, on the southern front line, has been under attack since the start of the war, and recent weeks have seen a significant escalation in Russian bombardment.
In the latest attack, Kim said Russian forces fired into the city from the direction of Kherson after lunchtime on Friday, causing extensive damage, killing an unknown number of people and injuring at least nine.
Watching firefighters put out a blaze, 80-year-old resident Ludmila Klimenko said the shelling now happens all the time. “The school burned down there, houses were damaged. And now there two houses, I don’t know, they’ve probably completely burned down,” she added.
The latest bombardment came as Ukrainian forces apparently stepped up their attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south.
5. UEFA fines Turkish club Fenerbahçe for pro-Putin chants
UEFA has fined Turkish club Fenerbahçe €50,000 over slogans chanted by some of its supporters in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a match against Ukrainian club Dynamo Kyiv in Istanbul on 27 July.
In its decision on Friday, Europe’s football governing body also imposed a partial closure of the Turkish club’s stadium for its next European home game, closing at least 5,000 seats.
UEFA said in a statement that the action was taken in response to “throwing of objects and the transmission of a provocative message of an offensive nature, namely illegal chanting”.
The incidents happened during a Champions League second round qualifying match, won 2-1 by Dynamo Kyiv. After Ukraine’s Vitaliy Buyalski scored a second-half goal, several hundred Fenerbahçe fans chanted the Russian leader’s name, according to videos posted on social media.
UEFA have opened a disciplinary investigation into the “alleged misbehavior” of Turkish fans.
Fenerbahçe called the reaction from part of the stands “unacceptable” but claimed it was a provocation by the opposing team.
“Slandering all our fans and blaming Fenerbahçe Sports Club for an incident that in no way represents the attitudes or values of Fenerbahçe Sports Club is neither fair nor equitable,” he added. the club said in a statement.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar condemned the chants the day after the game. “It’s very sad to hear from Fenerbahçe fans words that support the murderer and the aggressor who is bombing our country,” he said in Turkish on Twitter.
The pro-Putin slogans also caused an uproar on social media, where many Turkish netizens called them “shameful”.
While quickly condemning the Russian offensive in Ukraine, Turkey opted for neutrality between the two countries and did not adhere to Western sanctions against Moscow.