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Ukraine: Macron calls for the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Zaporizhia power plant

Several Ukrainian cities in the Donetsk region have been the subject of intense bombing in the past twenty-four hours, assure the Ukrainian authorities.

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Ukraine: Macron calls for the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Zaporizhia power plant

Several Ukrainian cities in the Donetsk region have been the subject of intense bombing in the past twenty-four hours, assure the Ukrainian authorities. The latter have also announced the extension of martial law and general mobilization in the country for an additional 90 days, i.e. until November 21.

A fire that caused an explosion of ammunition also occurred this Tuesday, August 16 in the morning at a Russian military base in Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Russia, announced the Russian Ministry of Defense. In addition, the first humanitarian ship chartered by the UN to transport Ukrainian cereals left the port of Pivdenny, in southern Ukraine, on Tuesday with some 23,000 tonnes for Africa.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone late Tuesday morning with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky about the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, under Russian control in southern Ukraine and a recurring target of strikes. The last telephone exchange between the two officials dated back to August 1.

Emmanuel Macron expressed "his concern about the threat posed by the presence, the actions of the Russian armed forces and the context of war with the ongoing conflicts over the safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear installations, and called for the withdrawal of these forces". He also said he was in favor of the deployment of an on-site mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an operation to which the Ukrainian president reiterated his opposition, arguing that it would legitimize the Russian occupation.

A fire that caused an explosion of ammunition occurred on Tuesday morning at a Russian military base in Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Russia, announced the Russian Ministry of Defense. The fire broke out around 03:15 GMT in a temporary ammunition depot at a Russian base in the northern district of Jankoy, the ministry said in a statement, quoted by Russian news agencies. "Following the fire, a detonation of ammunition occurred," he said.

According to the governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksionov, who went to the scene, two civilians were injured, and the evacuation of the inhabitants of a nearby village was underway. At 06:15 GMT, the explosion was still continuing, Sergei Aksionov said on Telegram. This incident comes a week after an explosion of ammunition intended for military aviation at a depot located on the territory of the Saki military airfield in western Crimea.

“The morning near Djankoy started with explosions”, immediately reacted on Twitter the adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Mikhaïlo Podoliak. “Crimea is in a normal country, it is the Black Sea, the mountains, recreation and tourism. But Russian-occupied Crimea means explosions of ammunition depots and high risk of death for invaders and thieves,” he said.

The explosion of the ammunition was due to an "act of sabotage", then indicated the Russian army in a press release. The military depot located near Djankoï "was damaged on August 16 in the morning following an act of sabotage", says the press release, quoted by the Russian press agencies, without however naming those responsible.

Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the United States of dragging out the Ukrainian conflict and seeking to "destabilize" the world with a recent visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

"The situation in Ukraine shows that the United States is trying to drag out this conflict. And it is doing the same by cultivating the possibility of a conflict in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America," the Russian president said in a statement. an address to the International Security Conference in Moscow.

Relations between the United States and Russia, which has been leading an offensive in Ukraine since February 24 and has repeatedly denounced American arms deliveries in recent months to the Ukrainian regime, are experiencing a period of unprecedented tension.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and UN chief Antonio Guterres spoke on Monday, August 15, by telephone, about the security of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, under Moscow control in southern Ukraine. While the site is targeted by regular bombardments, the two men discussed "the conditions for the safe operation of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant", according to a press release from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe has been occupied by Russian forces since the beginning of March and no foreign observer has since been able to access it. Since the end of July, the Russian and Ukrainian sides have accused each other of targeting the site, raising fears of a nuclear catastrophe. On Thursday, August 11, the UN Security Council met on this issue, and on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "any radioactive incident at the Zaporizhia power plant will be a blow to the countries of the European Union , Turkey, Georgia and countries in more distant regions". He urged Westerners to take further sanctions against Moscow.

The first UN-chartered humanitarian ship to transport Ukrainian grain left the port of Pivdenny in southern Ukraine on Tuesday with some 23,000 tons for Africa, the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure said. . "The ship 'Brave Commander' with grain for Africa left the port of Pivdenny. This morning the cargo ship left for the port of Djibouti, where the food will be delivered on arrival to consumers in Ethiopia," said indicated the ministry on Telegram. According to him, "23,000 tonnes of wheat are on board this ship chartered by the United Nations World Food Programme".

Present at the port of Pivdenny on Sunday August 14, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said he hoped that "two or three" additional ships chartered by the UN could leave soon. This is the first shipment of food aid to leave Ukraine since agreements were signed in July by kyiv and Moscow, via Turkish mediation and under the aegis of the UN, on the export of Ukrainian cereals, blocked because of the war between the two countries.

Ukraine said on Monday it had targeted a base of the Wagner military group. According to the governor of the Lugansk region, "a precision strike" destroyed, on Sunday, the base of the private military company, whose members fight alongside the Russian army.

Authorities also announced that pro-Ukrainian saboteurs blew up a railway bridge near the southern town of Melitopol. The objective is to cut off the supply of equipment to the Russian army, while this Crimean city was annexed in 2014.

According to the Ukrainian daily The Kyiv Independent, Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed the heads of the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, from the Liev, Lviv and Ternopil regions. If the reasons were not mentioned, these dismissals are part of a process of general restructuring of the security services.

Last month, the Ukrainian head of state had landed the head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov, and the general prosecutor, Iryna Venediktova, accusing them of insufficient efforts concerning the fight against Russian spies and Moscow collaborators. Volodymyr Zelensky then spoke of a "review of executives" within the SBU.

Despite Volodymyr Zelensky's appeal asking residents of the Donetsk region to leave the territory, the governor of this oblast indicated on Monday that 5,575 people had fled, suggesting that just over a quarter of the population was still there. Begun on August 2, the evacuation was made compulsory by the Ukrainian government due to the intense military operations that Russia is carrying out in this region.

"The situation remains tense" and "the front line is under bombs", declared the governor. "Sloviansk was bombed overnight and almost every day Bakhmout, Siversk and Soledar are too", just like "Marïnka, Krangogorivka and Avdiïvka", listed Pavlo Kyrylenko. On August 9, the Russian army announced that it had taken the locality of Soledar, an industrial city located on the road to Bakhmout, Moscow's objective.

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