Firefighters work to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack severely damaged a home in Sloviansk.

R.Ousia Shelling resumed near Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, local officials said yesterday after the United Nations nuclear watchdog pressured the warring parties to carve out a safe zone there to protect against a possible catastrophe. said the next day.

The city of Nikopol, located across the Dnieper from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, was hit with rockets and heavy artillery, said regional governor Valentin Reznichenko.

Reports of artillery fire nearby, which could not be independently confirmed, caused international alarm. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has warned the UN Security Council that “something very catastrophic could happen” at Zaporizhia.

“There are fires, power outages and other incidents at (the power plant), and locals need to be prepared for nuclear danger,” Leznichenko said.

The potential danger prompted the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency to urge Russia and Ukraine to establish a “nuclear safety and security protection zone” around the plant.

There are concerns that the fighting could lead to a catastrophe on a scale comparable to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. This power plant was built during the Soviet era and is one of the 10 largest power plants in the world.

Neither Moscow nor Kyiv officials immediately committed to the safe zone idea, saying they needed more details on the proposal.

A senior Ukrainian official said the power plant is currently producing electricity only to power safety systems.

Ukraine’s Chief State Inspector General for Nuclear and Radiation Safety Olev Kolikov said further disruptions could force power plants to use backup diesel generators, but that would He said he needed to carry four diesel transport trucks a day during the fighting.

“There could be a diesel shortage situation,” he said. “And this could lead to an accident with damage to the active area of ​​the reactor and a corresponding release of radioactive material into the environment.”

He said authorities may consider closing the factory, but did not provide details on how that would work.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday defied pressure to end the war by saying Russia will proceed with a military offensive in Ukraine until its goals are met. He also ridiculed Western attempts to block Russia with sanctions.

The eastern city of Sloviansk came under fire from Russian troops yesterday morning that damaged a school and another building, city chief Vadim Ryaf said.

Firefighters in the city dug deep into the still-smoldering rubble of the apartment complex and removed at least one body bag.

Chunks of brick, stone, and concrete lay among the torn branches of nearby trees, intermingled with broken glass and roof tiles. The metal door buckled in the blast and hung from its hinges.

The strike took place around 4 am, said local resident Raisa Smelkova, 75, who lives in another part of the building. She and her husband were unharmed.

In 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean region, Smerkova and her husband went to war in Ukraine. But this time, she said, things were much worse.

“What is happening is not only terrifying, it is appalling,” she said. “There is more destruction. Everything is bad. Just everything.”

Ukraine’s presidential office said three civilians were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk region. During the night in the city of Kharkiv he was hit twice by rockets.

However, Ukrainian forces have captured an unspecified number of towns in the Kherson region, according to Natalia Khmenyuk, spokesperson for the Southern Command. She said details would come later from military leaders.

The UK Ministry of Defense said there had been heavy fighting on three fronts. Donbass in the east. South of Kherson province.

Amid Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the east, “multiple simultaneous threats spread over 500 kilometers will test Russia’s ability to coordinate operational designs and reallocate resources to multiple force groups,” the ministry said. rice field.

The Russian military has held large-scale military exercises in the eastern part of the country involving troops from China since last week, which ended yesterday. It was seen as another show of growing closer ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with Western powers over military action in Ukraine. Yulas Karmanau, Kyiv, MDT/AP

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