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Russia, Ukraine trade blame over Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant shelling

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Russia and Ukraine accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in the Zaporizhzhya region, as the world on Saturday marked the 77th anniversary of the first atomic bomb attack in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, with the UN’s headline warning against nuclear weapons build-up amid fears of another such attack in the conflict zone of Ukraine. Follow FRANCE 24’s live coverage of the crisis. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

9.52am: Head of Amnesty Ukraine resigns over rights report

The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office has resigned, accusing the rights organization of mimicking Kremlin propaganda in a controversial report criticizing the war-torn country’s military response to the Russian invasion.

Amnesty sparked outrage in Ukraine when it released a report Thursday accusing the military of endangering civilians by establishing bases in schools and hospitals and launching counter-attacks from densely populated areas.

“If you don’t live in a country that has been invaded by occupiers tearing it to pieces, you probably don’t understand what it’s like to condemn an ​​army of defenders,” Amnesty’s Oksana Pokalchuk said on social media, announcing her resignation Friday. . .

9:25 am: Ukraine war enters new phase, says British military intelligence

The Russian war in Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with most of the fighting shifting to a nearly 350-kilometer front stretching southwest from near Zaporizhia to Kherson, parallel to the Dnieper River, the Russian Federation said. British military intelligence in its latest daily assessment.

Russian troops are almost certainly gathering in southern Ukraine in anticipation of a counter-offensive or in preparation for a possible attack, Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

Long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery and other weapons continue to move out of Ukraine’s Donbas region and head southwest.

Battalion Tactical Groups (BTG), which comprise between 800 and 1,000 troops, have been deployed in Crimea and would almost certainly be used to support Russian forces in the Kherson region, the update said.

Ukraine’s armed forces are targeting bridges, ammunition depots and rail links in the southern regions with increasing frequency, including the strategically important railway linking Kherson to Russian-occupied Crimea, it said.

8:45 a.m.: Hiroshima swears nuclear weapons ban at 77th memorial

Hiroshima recalled the atomic bombing of 77 years ago on Saturday, when officials including the head of the UN warned of nuclear weapons build-ups as fears mount for another such attack amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“Nuclear weapons are nonsense. They do not guarantee security – only death and destruction,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who joined the prayer at Hiroshima Peace Park.

“Three quarters of a century later, we have to ask ourselves what we learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled over this city in 1945,” he said.

The US dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, destroying the city and killing 140,000 people. Three days later, it dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 70,000. Japan surrendered on August 15, ending World War II and nearly half a century of Japanese aggression in Asia.

Fears of a third atomic bomb have been heightened by the threat of a nuclear attack by Russia since the war against Ukraine began in February.

7:02 am: Kiev, Moscow trade debt over nuclear power plant

Kiev and Moscow accused each other of attacking Europe’s largest nuclear site in Zaporizhzhya, causing a reactor shutdown.

Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine since the early days of their invasion and Kiev has accused them of stockpiling heavy weapons there. Moscow, in turn, has accused Ukrainian troops of targeting the factory.

“Three strikes have been registered on the site of the plant, near one of the energy blocks where the nuclear reactor is located,” Energoatom, the operator of Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power plant, said in a statement.

“There are risks of hydrogen leakage and radioactive spraying. The fire risk is high,” Energoatom said. It made no mention of casualties.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

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