Zelenskiy accuses Russia of holding Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant ‘hostage’ By Reuters

© Reuters. Worldwide Atomic Power Company (IAEA) Director Basic Rafael Grossi speaks to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as they go to Dnipro Hydroelectric Energy Plant, amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine March 27, 2023. Ukrainian


By Dan Peleschuk

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine’s president stated Russian troops have been holding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant “hostage” and its security couldn’t be assured till they left it, whereas his forces shut the frontline city of Avdiivka as they deliberate their subsequent transfer.

Russian troops have occupied the nuclear energy plant, Europe’s largest, because the early weeks of the invasion of Ukraine and have proven no inclination to relinquish management.

“Holding a nuclear energy station hostage for greater than a yr – that is absolutely the worst factor that has ever occurred within the historical past of European or world-wide nuclear energy,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated in his nightly video deal with.

He decried the Russian presence as “radiation blackmail”.

His feedback adopted a gathering earlier within the day with Rafael Grossi, the director normal of the Worldwide Atomic Power Company (IAEA). The 2 met on the Dnipro hydroelectric energy station – northeast of the Zaporizhzhia plant.

Initiatives on restoring security and safety are “doomed to failure” with out an instantaneous withdrawal of Russian troops from the plant, Zelenskiy stated in feedback posted on the presidential web site.

Russia and Ukraine routinely accuse one another of shelling the Zaporizhzhia plant. Preventing round it and worries of a water scarcity and that cooling techniques may lose energy have raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

A group of IAEA has since September been stationed on the plant, which Kyiv has accused Moscow of utilizing as a protect for troops and army {hardware}.

Grossi has repeatedly referred to as for a security zone round it and he is because of go to it once more this week. He has tried to barter with either side however stated in January that brokering a deal was getting more durable.

Zaporizhzhia is one in all 4 areas Russia claimed to annex in September after referendums slammed globally as shams. Russia views the plant as its territory, which Ukraine denies.

Zelenskiy visited the southeastern Zaporizhzhia area on Monday, the newest stage of a tour of frontline areas since a prime normal stated Ukraine’s counterattack may come quickly.


Analysts count on a Ukrainian counterattack to get underway in earnest over April-Could because the climate improves and extra army help arrives, together with battle tanks Leopard and Challenger.

The 18 Leopard 2 tanks, workhorse of militaries throughout Europe, pledged by Germany have reached Ukraine, the German Defence Ministry stated on Monday.

“I am certain that they will make a decisive contribution on the entrance,” German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius stated on Twitter.

Entrance strains in Ukraine have barely moved for greater than 4 months regardless of a Russian winter offensive. Ukraine’s army goals to put on down Russian forces earlier than mounting its personal assault.

Russia’s Wagner mercenary power, which fights alongside Russian forces in jap Ukraine and is assumed to have sustained heavy losses, is searching for to replenish its ranks forward of any Ukrainian counteroffensive.

A large recruitment commercial for the group has appeared on the facade of an workplace constructing in north-east Moscow.

It exhibits Wagner’s emblem and slogans equivalent to “Be a part of the profitable group!” and “Collectively we are going to win”, together with an image of a masked man holding a weapon.


On the battlefield, Russian forces look like specializing in Avdiivka, 90 km (55 miles) south of the battered mining city of Bakhmut, whereas a Ukrainian normal stated is forces have been planning their subsequent transfer.

Ukraine shut Avdiivka to civilians on Monday, with an official describing the city as a “post-apocalyptic” wasteland.

The Ukrainian army has warned that Avdiivka may turn out to be a “second Bakhmut”, which has been lowered to rubble in months of combating that either side have referred to as a “meat grinder”. Russian forces say they’re combating road by road.

Ukrainian floor forces commander Colonel Basic Oleksandr Syrskyi, who stated this month {that a} counterattack was not “far off”, visited frontline troops within the east and stated his forces have been nonetheless repelling assaults on Bakhmut.

Reuters couldn’t confirm battlefield reviews.

Since Putin’s invasion to “demilitarise” Ukraine acquired slowed down within the autumn, he and different Russian officers have performed up the prospect the warfare may escalate to contain nuclear weapons. On Saturday, he stated he had struck a deal to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Ukraine and its Western allies have denounced the plan.

Ukraine referred to as for a gathering of the U.N. Safety Council, and Lithuania stated it will name for brand new sanctions in opposition to Moscow and Minsk. EU coverage chief Josep Borrell urged Belarus to not host the weapons and threatened extra sanctions.

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