Zelensky condemns Russian ‘terror’ after damage to nuclear plant

Ukrainian officials say more cargo ships carrying grain are expected to sail on Sunday

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday accused Russia of using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “for terror” after the operator of the facility reported major damage at the site.

Energoatom, operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the south of the country, said Saturday that parts of the facility had been “seriously damaged” by military strikes and one of its reactors was forced to shut down.

As hostilities raged on in the east and south of Ukraine, pro-Moscow authorities in the Russian-occupied Kherson region reported another assassination attempt on a senior official.

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Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for the attacks on the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest atomic power complex.

The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell condemned the attack “as a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms”.

– Another assassination bid –

Vitaly Gur “is in hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, in a critical state”, an unnamed official told Russian state news agency TASS. Gur is the deputy chief of the Kakhovka district, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Kherson city.

Although Russia has seized a large swath of the Kherson region and part of nearby Zaporizhzhia in recent months, Ukraine’s forces have reclaimed some territory.

Referring to the strikes on the Zaporizhzhia plant, he said that although they represented “one of the most dangerous crimes against Ukrainians and all Europeans… for some reason, there’s still no report or even just a simple message from Amnesty International about it.

Amnesty sparked outrage in Ukraine with the report published Thursday that accused the military of endangering civilians by establishing bases in schools and hospitals, and launching counterattacks from heavily populated areas.

The head of Amnesty’s Ukraine office quit the organisation in protest.

“And there are no words in any language that can convey this to someone who has not experienced this pain.”

Amnesty Secretary General Agnes Callamard expressed regret at her departure and paid tribute to her work. But the organisation stands by its report.

Another five cargo ships are due to leave the Ukrainian ports of Odessa and Chernomorsk on Sunday, said a statement from the Joint Coordination Centre of the Black Sea Grain Initiative — the organisation coordinating the operation agreed between Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations.

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