Zelenskiy accuses Russia of holding Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops have held the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and show no desire to surrender control.
In his nightly video address, President Volodymyr Zilenskiy stated that "Holding a nuclear station hostage for over a year is certainly the worst thing ever done in the history of European and world-wide nuclear power."
He called the Russian presence "radiation blackmail"
He made these comments after meeting Rafael Grossi (director general of IAEA) at the Dnipro hydroelectric plant — northeastern of the Zaporizhzhia power plant.
In comments posted to the presidential website, Zelenskiy stated that initiatives to restore safety and security are "destined for failure" without a withdrawal of Russian troops.
Russia and Ukraine regularly accuse each others of attacking the Zaporizhzhia facility. Fears of nuclear catastrophe have been raised by the fighting to get around it, and concerns about a water scarcity and cooling systems that could go out of power.
Since September, an IAEA team has been stationed at this plant. Kyiv accuses Moscow of using it as a shield for troops or military hardware.Advertisement
Grossi repeatedly called for a safety area around it, and is scheduled to return this week. Grossi has attempted to negotiate with both parties but stated in January that it was becoming more difficult to broker a deal.
Zaporizhzhia was one of the four Russian regions that Russia claimed it had annexed in September. This happened after referendums were widely criticized as fraudulent. Russia considers the plant its territory, which Ukraine denies.
Zelenskiy visited Zaporizhzhia in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia on Monday. This is the latest stage in a tour to frontline regions after a top general suggested that a counterattack by Ukraine could be imminent.
LEOPARDS GO TO UKRAINE
Analysts believe that a Ukrainian counterattack will begin in earnest during April-May, as weather conditions improve and more military aid arrives including battle tanks Leopard or Challenger.
German Defence Ministry Monday said that the 18 Leopard 2 tanks, which are the workhorse for militaries in Europe, were delivered to Ukraine.
Boris Pistorius, German Defence Minister, stated on Twitter that "I’m certain that they can make an decisive contribution on-the front."
Despite a Russian winter offensive, the front lines of Ukraine have not moved in over four months. The Ukrainian military wants to take down the Russian forces, before it mounts its own attack.
Russia’s Wagner mercenary army, believed to have suffered heavy losses in eastern Ukraine is now trying to rebuild its ranks before any Ukrainian counteroffensive.
An huge recruitment advertisement has been placed on the facade of an office in Moscow’s northeast.
It features Wagner’s logo, slogans like "Join our winning team!" It also features the slogans "Together, we will win" and a photo of a masked man with a weapon.
The Russian forces are focusing on Avdiivka (90 km/55 miles south of Bakhmut), while a general in Ukraine said that the country’s forces were planning the next move.
Ukraine closed Avdiivka for civilians Monday. A Ukrainian official described the town as "post-apocalyptic" wasteland.
According to the Ukrainian military, Avdiivka may become a second Bakhmut. It has been reduced in rubble by fighting over months and has been described by both sides "meat grinder". Russian forces claim they are fighting street to street.
Colonel General Oleksandr Siskyi, commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, stated this month that a counterattack wasn’t "far away". He visited frontline troops in eastern Ukraine and claimed that his forces are still resisting attacks on Bakhmut.
According to Ukrainian authorities, air defenses destroyed 12 drones close to Kyiv Monday. The falling debris also set a nonresidential site on fire. There were no casualties.
Russia launched 15 Iranian-made Shahed drones on Ukraine overnight, and Ukrainian forces destroyed 14 of them, the military of Ukraine said on Tuesday (28 March).
"The logic behind the Russians’ actions are terror aimed at civilian infrastructure," Andriy Yarmak, the Ukrainian presidential chief-of-staff, stated on Telegram regarding the drone attacks.
"It won’t work, just as geopolitical blackmail."
Putin and other Russian officials have raised the possibility that the conflict could reach nuclear weapons after his invasion of Ukraine to "demilitarize" it in the fall. He claimed that he had reached a deal to station tactical nukes in Belarus.
"Ukraine has demolished its Western allies," he said.
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