- Russian military pounded three areas surrounding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant overnight, according to Ukraine's state nuclear operator, and abducted the plant's deputy human resources director, Valeriy Martyniuk.
- Previously, Russians held facility General Director Ihor Murashow before releasing him under pressure from International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Rafael Mariano Grossi.
Russian military rained missiles and munition-carrying drones on Ukraine on Tuesday, after broad attacks killed at least 19 people in what the UN human rights office called a “particularly terrible” attack that could amount to war crimes.
For the second morning in a row, air raid alerts were issued across the country. After strikes in the capital and 12 other regions the previous day caused extensive power disruptions and punctured the relative calm that had returned to Kyiv and many other places far from the war’s front lines, Ukrainian officials advised citizens to conserve electricity and stock up on water.
“It generates rage, not terror,” Volodymyr Vasylenko, 67, of Kyiv, said as crews tried to restore traffic lights and sweep debris from the city’s streets. “We’ve become accustomed to it. And we shall continue to fight.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke by videoconference to the leaders of the Group of Seven industrial giants on Tuesday. The G-7 leaders stated after the conference that their countries “would stand strongly behind Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
The broad strikes were ordered by Russia in response for a weekend blast that destroyed a bridge connecting the country to the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukrainian special forces of masterminding the Kerch Bridge raid on Saturday.
During the 7 1/2-month battle in eastern and southern Ukraine, Russia has concentrated most of its firepower, and Ukrainian officials said the previous day’s scattered strikes on power stations and population areas made little “practical military sense.”
However, Putin’s supporters had been urging the Kremlin for weeks to adopt more harsh measures in Ukraine, and the Russian military had been openly condemned for a series of embarrassing tactical failures. Many pro-Kremlin commentators praised Monday’s strike as a suitable and long-awaited reaction to Kyiv’s previous successful counteroffensives, and many urged that Moscow should maintain the intensity in order to win the war.
Tuesday’s shelling, like Monday’s, targeted both power plants and civilian areas. According to the State Emergency Service, one person was killed after 12 missiles slammed into public facilities in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, sparking a big fire. According to a local authority, the missiles struck a school, residential structures, and medical facilities.
Energy plants in the western Lviv and Vinnitsya regions were also damaged. Despite officials’ claims that Ukrainian forces intercepted an inbound Russian missile before it reached Kyiv, the capital region faced rolling power outages as a result of the previous day’s fatal strikes.
Vitaliy Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv area, ordered locals to remain in bomb shelters since “enough missiles are still in the air.”
According to the State Emergency Service, 19 people were killed and 105 were injured in Monday’s attacks. At least five of the victims were in Kyiv, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko. From the capital to Lviv on the Polish border, more than 300 cities and towns lost power.
Aside from the normal sirens, residents in Kyiv were startled early Tuesday by a new form of loud alarm that blared automatically from mobile phones. The caustic alarm was accompanied by a text message warning of the likelihood of missile strikes.
A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday that strikes on “civilian objects,” such as power facilities, could constitute a war crime.
“Damage to important power plants and lines ahead of the oncoming winter raises additional concerns for civilian safety, particularly the impact on vulnerable people,” Ravina Shamdasani said at a UN briefing in Geneva. “Attacks against persons and things essential to civilian survival are illegal under international humanitarian law.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to speak by videoconference to the leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers on Tuesday. Germany, which now heads the G-7, announced the summit following the missile strikes on Monday.
As Ukrainian forces became more daring after a string of counteroffensive victories, a cornered Kremlin ratcheted up Cold War-era rhetoric in the last month, fueling fears that it would escalate the conflict and use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed the subject on Tuesday, saying that Moscow would only use force if the Russian state was in danger of being destroyed. Speaking on state television, he accused the West of fueling rumours about the Kremlin’s intentions.
Russia’s nuclear strategy calls for “exclusively retaliatory measures aimed at preventing the annihilation of the Russian Federation as a result of direct nuclear strikes or the use of other weapons that raise the threat to the Russian state’s fundamental existence,” according to Lavrov.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced in Brussels that the 30-nation military alliance would conduct long-planned exercises next week to assess the readiness of its nuclear capabilities.
The “Steadfast Noon” exercise is held every year. It includes fighter jets that can carry nuclear warheads but no live bombs. Conventional jets, as well as observation and refuelling aircraft, are frequently involved.
When asked if the timing of such an exercise was inappropriate, Stoltenberg responded, “It would send a very incorrect signal now if we suddenly cancelled a routine, long-planned exercise because of the situation in Ukraine.”
Stoltenberg called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear language over the Ukraine conflict “irresponsible,” adding that “Russia understands that a nuclear war will never be won and must never be launched.”
NATO, as an organisation, has no nuclear weapons. They are still under the sovereignty of three member countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.
Meanwhile, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, warned on Tuesday that Western military aid to Kiev, such as training Ukrainian soldiers in NATO countries and providing Ukraine with real-time satellite data to target Russian forces, has “increasingly drawn Western nations into the conflict on the part of the Kyiv regime.”
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, agreed with Ryabkov that prolonged US weapons sales to Ukraine will prolong the battle and cause greater damage to the country.
When asked about Washington’s proposal to give Ukraine with modern air defence systems during a conference call with reporters, Peskov said the move would “just stretch the fight out and make it more unpleasant” for Ukraine without changing Russian intentions.
Russian military pounded three areas surrounding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant overnight, according to Ukraine’s state nuclear operator, and abducted the plant’s deputy human resources director, Valeriy Martyniuk.
Previously, Russians held facility General Director Ihor Murashow before releasing him under pressure from International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Rafael Mariano Grossi.