Russian forces began raids on two major cities in the eastern Donetsk region on Saturday and continued rocketing and shelling on other Ukrainian cities, including one near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Ukrainian military and local officials said.
The cities of Bakhmut and Avdivka are both considered key targets for Russia’s continued offensive in eastern Ukraine, and analysts say Moscow will need to push ahead in the regional hubs of Slovensk and Kramatorsk. Need to capture Bahmut.
“In the direction of Donetsk, the enemy is conducting offensive operations, mainly in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdivka. It uses ground attacks and army aviation,” the Ukrainian General Staff said on Facebook.
Russia’s last strike against Slovensk was on July 30, but Ukrainian troops are strengthening their positions around the city in anticipation of new fighting.
“I don’t think it will be quiet for long. Eventually, there will be an attack,” Colonel Yuri Bereza, head of the Volunteer National Guard, told The Associated Press.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kirilenko wrote on Telegram Saturday that five civilians were killed and 14 others injured in the last day of Russian shelling in the Donetsk region, saying Poprosny had Two people were killed, one each in Avdivka, Soledar and Pervomayski.
Three civilians were injured after a Russian rocket landed on a residential area in the city of Nikopol across the Dnieper River, the governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region said.. The plant has been under Russian control since Moscow’s army captured it early in the war.
“After midnight, Russian troops attacked the Nikopol region with (Soviet-era) Grad rockets and the Kriveri region with barrel artillery,” Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram .
Ukrainian state-owned Enerhoatom said on Friday that Russian rockets damaged the plant’s facilities, including nitrogen-oxygen units and high-voltage power lines. Local Russian-appointed officials acknowledged the damage but blamed it on the Ukrainians.
Another Russian missile strike damaged unspecified infrastructure in the regional capital Zaporozhye overnight. Russia fired 60 rockets at Nikopol on Thursday, destroying 50 residential buildings in the city of 107,000 and leaving residents without power.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, warned this week that conditions at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant were increasingly dangerous.
He said the plant “violated every principle of nuclear safety”. “It’s a big deal.”
He expressed concern about the way the factory was run and the danger posed by the fighting around it. Experts from the American Institute of War Research said Russia was intentionally shelling the area, “putting Ukraine in a difficult position”.
The Ukrainian company that operates the plant said on Saturday that Russian troops were using the plant’s basement to escape Ukrainian shelling and barred its Ukrainian employees from going there.
“Ukrainian personnel do not yet have access to these sites, so in the event of new shelling, people will have nowhere to hide and are at risk,” Enerhoatom said on his Telegram channel.