August 12, 2022

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Russians start shelling Europe’s largest nuclear energy plant

By JIM HEINTZ, YURAS KARMANAU and MSTYSLAV CHERNOV

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops have begun shelling Europe’s largest nuclear energy station in Ukraine.

The plant is in Enerhodar, a metropolis on the Dnieper River that accounts for one-quarter of the nation’s energy technology. A spokesman for the plant stated the shelling started early Friday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows under.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces battled for management of the Ukrainian metropolis that’s residence to the largest nuclear energy plant in Europe on Thursday and gained floor of their bid to chop off the nation from the ocean, as Ukrainian leaders referred to as on residents to stand up and wage guerrilla battle in opposition to the invaders.

The preventing at Enerhodar, a metropolis on the Dnieper River that accounts for one-quarter of the nation’s energy technology, got here as one other spherical of talks between the 2 sides yielded a tentative settlement to arrange protected corridors inside Ukraine to evacuate residents and ship humanitarian support.

Whereas the large Russian armored column threatening Kyiv appeared slowed down exterior the capital, Vladimir Putin’s forces have introduced their superior firepower to bear over the previous few days, launching a whole lot of missiles and artillery assaults on cities and different websites across the nation and making vital features within the south.

The mayor of Enerhodar stated Ukrainian forces have been battling Russian troops on the town’s outskirts. Video confirmed flames and black smoke rising above the town of greater than 50,000, with folks streaming previous wrecked vehicles, only a day after the U.N. atomic watchdog company expressed grave concern that the preventing may trigger unintended harm to Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors.

Mayor Dmytro Orlov and the Ukrainian state atomic power firm reported {that a} Russian navy column was heading towards the nuclear plant. Loud photographs and rocket hearth have been heard late Thursday.

“Many younger males in athletic garments and armed with Kalashnikovs have come into the town. They’re breaking down doorways and attempting to get into the flats of native residents,” the assertion from Energoatom stated.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal referred to as on the West to shut the skies over the nation’s nuclear crops as preventing intensified. “It’s a query of the safety of the entire world!” he stated in a press release.

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The U.S. and NATO allies have dominated out making a no-fly zone because the transfer would pit Russian and Western navy forces in opposition to one another.

The Russians introduced the seize of the southern metropolis of Kherson, an important Black Sea port of 280,000, and native Ukrainian officers confirmed the takeover of the federal government headquarters there, making it the primary main metropolis to fall because the invasion started per week in the past.

Heavy preventing continued on the outskirts of one other strategic port, Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. The battles have knocked out the town’s electrical energy, warmth and water techniques, in addition to most cellphone service, officers stated. Meals deliveries to the town have been additionally lower.

Related Press video from the port metropolis exhibits the assault lighting up the darkening sky above largely abandoned streets and medical groups treating civilians, together with one inside a clinic who gave the impression to be a toddler. Docs have been unable to avoid wasting the particular person.

Severing Ukraine’s entry to the Black and Azov seas would deal a crippling blow to its financial system and permit Russia to construct a land hall to Crimea, seized by Moscow in 2014.

Total, the outnumbered, outgunned Ukrainians have put up stiff resistance, staving off the swift victory that Russia appeared to have anticipated. However a senior U.S. protection official, talking on situation of anonymity, stated Russia’s seizure of Crimea gave it a logistical benefit in that a part of the nation, with shorter provide strains that smoothed the offensive there.

Ukrainian leaders referred to as on the folks to defend their homeland by chopping down timber, erecting barricades within the cities and attacking enemy columns from the rear. In current days, authorities have issued weapons to civilians and taught them find out how to make Molotov cocktails.

“Complete resistance. … That is our Ukrainian trump card, and that is what we are able to do greatest on the planet,” Oleksiy Arestovich, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stated in a video message, recalling guerrilla actions in Nazi-occupied Ukraine throughout World Conflict II.

In a video deal with to the nation, Zelenskyy praised his nation’s resistance.

The Russians “may have no peace right here. They are going to haven’t any meals,” he stated. “They are going to haven’t one quiet second.”

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The second spherical of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations was held in neighboring Belarus. However the two sides appeared far aside going into the assembly, and Putin warned Ukraine that it should shortly settle for the Kremlin’s demand for its “demilitarization” and declare itself impartial, renouncing its bid to hitch NATO.

Putin instructed French President Emmanuel Macron he was decided to press on together with his assault “till the top,” in keeping with Macron’s workplace.

The 2 sides stated that they tentatively agreed to permit cease-fires in areas designated protected corridors, and that they might search to work out the required particulars shortly. A Zelenskyy adviser additionally stated a 3rd spherical of talks will likely be held early subsequent week.

Regardless of a profusion of proof of civilian casualties and destruction of property by the Russian navy, Putin decried what he referred to as an “anti-Russian disinformation marketing campaign” and insisted that Moscow makes use of “solely precision weapons to completely destroy navy infrastructure.”

Putin claimed that the Russian navy had already supplied protected corridors for civilians to flee, however he asserted with out proof that Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” have been stopping folks from leaving and have been utilizing them as human shields.

He additionally hailed Russian troopers as heroes in a video name with members of Russia’s Safety Council, and ordered extra funds to households of males killed or wounded.

A high Russian officer, Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, commander of an airborne division, was killed within the preventing earlier this week, an officers group in Russia reported.

The Pentagon arrange a direct communication hyperlink to Russia’s Ministry of Protection earlier this week to keep away from the potential for a miscalculation sparking battle between Moscow and Washington, in keeping with a U.S. protection official who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the hyperlink had not been introduced.

The preventing has despatched greater than 1 million folks fleeing Ukraine, in keeping with the U.N., which fears these refugee numbers may skyrocket.

Ukrainians nonetheless within the nation confronted one other grim day. In Kyiv, snow gave strategy to a chilly, grey drizzle, as lengthy strains fashioned exterior the few pharmacies and bakeries that remained open.

Extra shelling was reported within the northern metropolis of Chernihiv, the place emergency officers stated at the very least 33 civilians had been killed within the bombardment of a residential space.

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Households with kids fled by way of muddy and snowy roads within the japanese area of Donetsk, whereas navy strikes on the village of Yakovlivka destroyed 30 properties, leaving three folks useless, authorities stated.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis, with about 1.4 million folks, residents determined to flee the bombings crowded the railroad station and squeezed onto trains, not at all times understanding the place they have been headed.

Within the south, Russian troops appeared to roll from Kherson towards Mykolaiv, one other main Black Sea port and shipbuilding heart to the west. A U.S. protection official stated the Russians could need to arrange a base in Mykolaiv forward of a floor offensive in opposition to Odesa, Ukraine’s largest port metropolis, which can be residence to a big naval base.

The immense Russian column of a whole lot of tanks and different automobiles nonetheless gave the impression to be stalled roughly 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Kyiv and had made no actual progress in days, amid gas and meals shortages, in keeping with U.S. authorities.

Russia has fired greater than 480 missiles within the invasion, in keeping with the U.S. Ukrainian officers boasted that their missile-defense techniques shot down a lot of them.

At the very least 227 civilians have been killed and 525 wounded, in keeping with the workplace of the U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, although it acknowledged that may be a huge undercount, and Ukraine stated greater than 2,000 civilians have died. The figures couldn’t be independently verified.

Russia reported its navy casualties Wednesday for the primary time within the battle, saying almost 500 of its troops have been killed and nearly 1,600 wounded. Ukraine insisted Russia’s losses are many instances greater however didn’t disclose its personal navy casualties.

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Karmanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine; Chernov from Mariupol, Ukraine. Sergei Grits in Odesa, Ukraine; Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv; Jamey Keaten in Geneva; Lynn Berry, Robert Burns and Eric Tucker in Washington; Edith M. Lederer and Jennifer Peltz on the United Nations; and different AP journalists from all over the world contributed to this report.

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Observe the AP’s protection of the Ukraine disaster at