Shells landed near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine on Thursday as U.N. nuclear experts tried to access the power station to assess the risk of a nuclear disaster.
FIGHTING NEAR NUCLEAR PLANT
* A Reuters reporter near the plant in Russian-controlled Enerhodar on the Dnipro river said a residential building was struck by shelling, forcing people to take cover in a basement. Soldiers ran about and helicopters flew overhead.
* One of two operational reactors at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant complex has been shut down due to Russian shelling, operator Energoatom said.
* Russia’s Defence Ministry said a Ukrainian “sabotage group” had tried to seize the plant and that Russian forces were using helicopters to destroy the group, Interfax news agency reported.
* In the past 24 hours, five civilians in the Donetsk region were killed and 12 were wounded, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram messaging app.
* Ukraine’s operational command South said its forces had destroyed a pontoon bridge near the town of Daryivky in the Kherson region, which had been used by the Russian troops to bring in equipment and ammunition.
* Russia’s defense ministry said Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the south had failed, with their forces suffering heavy losses of equipment and men.
Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield reports.
“There has been increased military activity including this morning, until very recently, a few minutes ago … but weighing the pros and cons and having come so far, we are not stopping,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi told journalists before leaving for the nuclear power plant.
(Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Aleksandar Vasovic; editing by Philippa Fletcher)