Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleskiy has called on Russian troops to flee as his forces launch an offensive close to Kherson. He claimed that Ukraine’s military had taken back their territory, despite Russia saying otherwise.
After weeks of fighting, the offensive by Ukraine in the south came after a deadlock in a conflict that left thousands dead, displaced millions and destroyed cities. It also caused an unprecedented energy and food shortage, and was slowed down by economic sanctions.
This has raised concerns about a radiation catastrophe being caused by shelling close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in south Ukraine.
Zelenskiy, late Monday night (29 August), promised that Ukrainian troops would pursue the Russian army “tothe border” in his nightly address.
“If they want survival, it’s time to send the Russian military packing. He said, “Go home.”
Zelenskiy stated that Ukraine is taking back its sovereignty.
Oleksiy Arestovych was a senior adviser of Zelenskiy and commented on the offensive in Kherson. He said that Russian defenses were “broken through within a few hours”.
He said that Ukrainian forces were attacking ferries used by Russia to supply a small area of territory in the Kherson region’s west bank.
The explosions were reported by Ukraine’s Suspilne broadcaster on Tuesday (30 August). Residents of the city reported gunfire and explosions through social media, but it wasn’t clear who was firing.
In an early Tuesday update, the Ukrainian military general staff reported clashes in different parts of the country, but did not provide any information about the Kherson offensive.
According to RIA news agency, the Russian defense ministry claimed that Ukrainian troops tried an offensive in the Mykolaiv or Kherson regions. However, they suffered significant casualties.
It stated that the “enemy’s offensive effort failed miserably”
Officials at the Russian-appointed authority said that a Ukrainian barrage was destroying the Russian-occupied city of Nova Kakhovka with rockets, leaving it without power or water.
Russian bombings of Mykolaiv port city, which is still in Ukrainian hands despite multiple Russian bombardments, left at least two dead, 24 wounded, and destroyed homes, witnesses and city officials said Monday.
One woman was killed when a strike erupted at a family home located next to a school.
Olexandr Shulga claimed that he owned the property for his whole life. His wife, however, died after she was buried under debris. “It struck and the shockwave arrived. He said, “It destroyed everything.”
Russia invaded Ukraine 24 February in a “special military operations” to expel nationalists from the country and to protect Russian-speaking citizens. It was described by the allies and Ukraine as an unprovoked act of aggression.
This war, which was the most serious attack on an European state since 1945 has settled down to a war by attrition. It was primarily in the east and south, and marked by air strikes and artillery bombardments. Russia captured large swathes in the south very early.
According to the southern command of Ukraine, its troops launched offensive actions in multiple directions. This included in the Kherson region north from the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
According to a spokeswoman, Ukraine had attacked more than 10 sites over the past week. She also “unquestionably weakened” the enemy.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine’s southern region, which was captured by Russian troops in march but is still managed by Ukrainian personnel, has been a focal point in the conflict, with both sides blaming each other for the shelling.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is sending a mission to inspect the damage and assess it.
The mission, which is headed by Rafael Grossi, chief of IAEA, will assess working conditions and inspect safety and security systems, according to the Vienna-based organisation.
It will also “perform immediate safeguards activities”, which refers to the monitoring of nuclear material.
Moscow hopes the mission will dispel misinformation about the plant’s poor state, according to a top Russian diplomat.
The Kremlin stated that the IAEA mission was necessary and asked the international community for pressure on Ukraine to lower military tensions at the facility. Russia’s foreign ministry stated that the mission must perform its duties in a neutral way.
To ensure that the complex is not used as a target, the United States, Ukraine and United Nations have requested the withdrawal of military personnel and equipment.
John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council stated that “we continue to believe a controlled shutdown Zaporizhzhia’s nuclear reactors would prove to be the safest option and least risky in the short term.”
However, the Kremlin ruled out the possibility of the site being evacuated.
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