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War in Ukraine: the risks "increase every day" at the Zaporizhia power plant

Around the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, occupied since the beginning of March by Russian troops, the risk of an escalation cannot be ruled out.

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War in Ukraine: the risks "increase every day" at the Zaporizhia power plant

Around the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, occupied since the beginning of March by Russian troops, the risk of an escalation cannot be ruled out. Dmytro Orlov, the mayor of Energodar, the city where the complex is located, took an alarmist tone on Sunday August 14, referring to a "serious situation". At the same time, the first ship chartered by the United Nations to transport Ukrainian cereals has been loaded with 23,000 tonnes of wheat and is ready to set sail for Ethiopia.

For its part, the Ukrainian army on Sunday increased the pressure on the Russian bridgehead around Kherson, in the south of the country, while Russia intensified its efforts to advance in the east, so far without major hit. Russian troops captured Kherson on the Dnipro River on March 3, the only regional capital they have so far managed to conquer.

The risks around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which Moscow and kyiv have accused each other for more than a week of bombing, "are increasing every day", the mayor of the city judged on Sunday. of Energodar where it is located. Dmytro Orlov denounced by telephone to AFP a "pure and simple nuclear terrorism" of Russia which "can end in an unpredictable way at any time".

"The risks are increasing every day... Mortars are being fired at the nuclear power plant every day and night from occupied villages," he added. "The situation is serious and the most worrying thing is that there is no de-escalation process", according to the elected official. Energodar is, like the plant, occupied since early March by Russian troops. Faithful to kyiv, Dmytro Orlov found refuge in Zaporijjia, the big city of the region. According to him, Energodar began during the last 24 hours to be bombed, "which had never happened before" and killed a 45-year-old civilian on Sunday.

The first humanitarian ship chartered by the United Nations to transport Ukrainian grain was loaded with 23,000 tonnes of wheat on Sunday and is ready to go to sea, the Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure announced.

Present at the port of Pivdenny, in the city of Youzhne, to witness the loading of the "MV Brave Commander", Minister Oleksandre Kubrakov indicated that "the ship will be heading for Africa, Ethiopia being the last country where the cargo of 23,000 tonnes of wheat will be delivered".

“I hope more World Food Program (WFP) chartered ships will come to our ports. I hope there will be 2-3 more ships soon,” he continued. On Twitter, he later added that the load was complete and the boat was ready to go, without giving a date.

The energy situation is "serious" for Switzerland, which is negotiating with Germany and Italy to guarantee its gas supply next winter, in the face of the drop in Russian deliveries, the Swiss Minister of Energy said on Sunday. . "Why do we have a problem today? Because Russia has turned off the gas tap and Switzerland is entirely dependent on foreign sources for this type of energy," Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga said in a statement. interview with the Swiss daily Blick.

"The situation is serious. The Federal Council (ed. government) is aware of this - and not only since the war in Ukraine," she added. Switzerland has not yet set any targets in terms of energy savings, unlike the EU which intends to reduce its gas consumption by 15% to overcome the fall in Russian deliveries, due to tensions linked to the war in Ukraine.

Simonetta Sommaruga judges that it "would certainly be wise" for Switzerland to set such objectives, and indicates that a campaign will be launched in the coming weeks to encourage people to reduce energy consumption.

Ukraine claimed on Monday August 15 to have targeted a base of the paramilitary group Wagner, whose men are accused of fighting alongside Russian troops, and to have destroyed a bridge near the occupied city of Melitopol. According to the governor of the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine, the base of this private military company in the town of Propasna was "destroyed by a precision strike". The shooting took place on Sunday, Serguiï Gaïdaï said on Telegram.

Very opaque, the Wagner group is reputed to be linked to the Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigojine, himself considered close to Vladimir Putin. The presence of its fighters has been confirmed in recent years in Syria, Libya, Mali and other African countries.

The Ukrainian authorities also claimed that pro-kyiv saboteurs managed to blow up a railway bridge near the town of Melitopol (Zaropijjia region, south), occupied by the Russian army, in a new effort to disrupt the logistics of troops from Moscow.

Ukraine said on Sunday that Russian troops crossing the Dnipro River in the Kherson region risked being trapped there after all existing bridges were put out of action. "The only means of crossing the river for the occupier are pontoons near the Antonivski bridge, but they will not be able to fully meet their needs," regional deputy Serguiï Khlan told Ukrainian television.

According to him, "Russia is transferring its command centers from the right bank of the river to the left, aware that in the event of an escalation, they cannot be evacuated in time". He estimated at 20,000 the number of Russian soldiers present on the right bank of the river and specified that they can always "cross the damaged bridges on foot".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations, Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency reported on Monday, as reported by Reuters. The Kremlin chief told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that the two countries would "expand comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with joint efforts", the KCNA reported on Monday.

In a letter to Kim for North Korea's Liberation Day, Moscow's ruler said closer ties would be in the interests of both countries and help bolster security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asia region, the KCNA said.

In July, North Korea recognized the two Russian-occupied "People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk" in eastern Ukraine as independent states, and officials raised the possibility that North Korean workers be sent to the regions to help with construction and other work.

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