Zelenskiy says danger remains after nuclear power plant resumes power supply

  • Ukrainian nuclear company says two reactors are back online and plant is now reconnected to the grid
  • Zelenskiy warns Zaporizhzhia plant could soon be ‘one step away from disaster’ again
  • Medvedev says Ukraine has not abandoned NATO ambitions to end war
  • Ukraine decommissions bridge near Kherson
  • According to the regional governor, 3/4 of the people fled the Donetsk region

KYIV, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s president said on Friday the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remained “very risky” after two of its six reactors were reconnected to the grid following a bombardment that caused the disconnection of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant for the first time in its history.

Russian shelling continued to displace civilians in the east of the country, where three-quarters of the population fled the Donetsk front region, according to the regional governor, and Ukraine continued to damage roads. supplies from Russia to the southern front near Kherson.

Ukraine’s nuclear company Energoatom said late Friday that the plant’s two operating reactors had been reconnected to the grid and were once again supplying power after being completely disconnected on Thursday. Read more

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“Let me emphasize that the situation remains very risky and dangerous,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his usual evening speech, praising Ukrainian experts working to “avoid the worst case scenario.”

“Any repetition of yesterday’s events, i.e. any disconnection of the plant from the grid, any action by Russia which could cause the reactors to be disconnected, would once again place the plant one step away from disaster. “, said Zelenskiy.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February, took control of the nuclear plant in March, although it is still operated by Ukrainian technicians working for Energoatom.

The two sides traded blame for the bombings near the plant, which sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal-fired power plant on Thursday that disconnected the plant from the power grid.

Satellite images showed a fire near the factory but Reuters could not verify the cause.

Zelenskiy also reiterated Ukraine’s demand that the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), be allowed to visit the Zaporizhzhia plant urgently.

Moscow, which has forces based at the plant complex, said it was doing everything to ensure an IAEA visit, expected in the coming days, could take place safely. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Ukraine was trying to disrupt such a visit by attacking the factory.

Residents of the town of Zaporizhzhia, 50 km northeast of the plant, expressed concern over the situation.

“Of course I’m scared. Everyone is scared, we don’t know what’s going to happen next, what’s in store for us every minute, second,” said social media manager Maria Varakina, 25.

Schoolteacher Hanna Kuz, 46, said people feared Ukrainian authorities would not be able to warn residents in time of any radioactive fallout.

The Kremlin says its goal is to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine and eliminate perceived security threats to Russia. Ukraine and the West say this is a baseless pretext for a war of conquest.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said in a French television interview on Friday that Russia was ready to hold talks with Zelenskiy under certain conditions, but warned that Moscow would not stop its assault until its objectives were achieved. Read more

“Renouncing (Ukraine’s) participation in the North Atlantic alliance is now vital, but it is already insufficient to establish peace,” Medvedev told LCI television in quotes reported by news agencies. Russians.

Map locating the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory

STRUGGLE

Ukrainian rocket fire knocked out a major bridge in the Kherson region on Friday, the military command of southern Ukraine said.

The destruction of the Darivsky Bridge, used by Russian forces to cross the Inhulets River just east of the city of Kherson, will complicate Moscow’s efforts to supply its troops in the Russian-occupied city that Ukraine wants to retake, did he declare.

“Our soldiers are doing everything possible to reduce the fighting and the logistical potential of the occupiers,” Zelenskiy said in his speech, referring to recent strikes on Russian supply depots and bridges.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow. Read more

Ukraine’s military headquarters said Russian planes attacked several locations, focusing on more than a dozen southern towns, including the city of Mykolaiv, a river port just off the Black Sea.

There were also airstrikes on several towns in the Sumy region near the Russian border, the General Staff said, and Russian forces shelled and carried out air attacks on the Kharkiv region in the north. -is.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the eastern region of Donetsk, said three-quarters of its population had been evacuated.

“There is hardly a single big city that is not subject to (Russian) shelling,” he told Ukrainian television.

Also on Friday, Washington confirmed reports that a US citizen had recently died in Ukraine, but declined to provide further details. Read more

According to Russian news agency TASS, the deputy head of traffic police in the occupied Ukrainian city of Berdyansk was killed in a bomb attack on Friday. His Russian-installed administration blamed the explosion on “Ukrainian saboteurs”. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Read more

Reuters was unable to verify battlefield reports from either side.

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Reporting by Tom Balmforth, Max Hunder, Ronald Popeski, David Ljunggren and Reuters bureaus; Written by Gareth Jones, William Maclean and Simon Lewis; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Angus MacSwan and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Alan A. Seibert