- Ukraine reports attacks on infrastructure in many areas
- Russia gives some residents of Kherson region days to leave
- Moscow says it foiled attack on nuclear power plant
- British Ambassador summoned to Foreign Ministry in Moscow
- Russia joins pact, says it has received guarantees from Ukraine
KYIV, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Russian attacks were reported across large parts of Ukraine on Thursday, with shelling and missile strikes damaging infrastructure, including electricity supplies to Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant. Europe, Ukrainian officials said.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was again disconnected from the power grid after Russian bombing damaged the remaining high-voltage lines, leaving it with only diesel generators, the Ukrainian nuclear company said Energyatom.
The plant, in Russian hands but operated by Ukrainian workers, has 15 days of fuel to run the generators, Energoatom said. Its reactors need energy to cool the fuel inside and prevent a meltdown.
A senior official in Moscow said Russian special forces prevented a Ukrainian attack on the factory. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, also said Ukrainian forces “continue to bombard the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with Western weapons, which could lead to a global catastrophe.”
Both sides have repeatedly accused the other of bombing the factory, accusations both deny.
Russian strikes were also reported in Kriviy Rih in central Ukraine and in Sumy and Kharkiv in the northeast. There was heavy fighting in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
“The enemy is trying to keep temporarily captured territories, concentrating its efforts on limiting the actions of the Defense Forces in certain areas,” the Ukrainian General Staff said Thursday.
Reuters was unable to verify reports from the battlefield.
Russia has said it has targeted infrastructure in what it calls its “special military operation” to degrade Ukraine’s military and eliminate what it sees as a potential security threat to Russia.
As a result, Ukrainian civilians have suffered power cuts and reduced water supplies in recent weeks. Russia denies targeting civilians, although the conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and left some Ukrainian cities in ruins.
Foreign ministers from the G7 group of wealthy democracies will discuss how best to coordinate additional support for Ukraine when they meet in Germany on Thursday.
BRITISH ENVOY SUMMONED
On Thursday morning, the British ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office in Moscow following Russian claims that Britain was involved in a Ukrainian drone strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
Ambassador Deborah Bronnert was at the ministry for about 30 minutes, a Reuters reporter said at the scene. A small crowd outside chanted anti-British slogans and held up signs reading “Britain is a terror state”.
Russia on Saturday temporarily suspended its participation in a UN-brokered Black Sea Grains Initiative after what it said was a major drone attack on ships in Sevastopol Bay on the Crimean peninsula. , which Russia annexed to Ukraine in 2014.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said the attack was carried out under the guidance and direction of British naval specialists, a claim Britain dismissed as false.
Putin also blamed Britain for the attacks on Nord Stream pipelines in September, which knocked out, possibly permanently, the multi-billion dollar gas link between the Russia and Europe.
On Wednesday, Russia resumed its participation in the grain deal freeing Ukraine’s exports, after Turkey and the United Nations helped keep Ukrainian grain flowing for several days without Russia participating in the inspections.
The Russian Defense Ministry justified the takeover by saying it had received guarantees from Ukraine that it would not use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia.
Ukraine said it had made no new commitments beyond the terms of the agreement reached in July.
Seven ships carrying agricultural products left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Thursday, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said. The ships were loaded with 290,000 tons of food and were heading for European and Asian countries, he said in a statement without further details.
The grain deal had helped ease a global food crisis by lifting the de facto Russian blockade on Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain suppliers. The prospect of its collapse this week has rekindled fears of a worsening food crisis and rising prices.
Wheat, soybean, corn and rapeseed prices fell sharply on world markets after Russia’s announcement.
In the south, a Ukrainian counteroffensive left Russian forces fighting to hold their ground around the city of Kherson, where Russian-installed authorities were urging residents to evacuate, the Ukrainian military said.
Kherson was the first city to fall to Russian forces, having launched their invasion on February 24.
Residents who had collaborated with the occupation forces were leaving and some medical personnel had taken equipment from hospitals, the Ukrainian military said.
Residents of the town of Nova Zburivka had been given three days to leave and were told that evacuation would be compulsory from 5 November.
Russian authorities have repeatedly said that Ukraine may be preparing to attack the huge Kakhovka dam, upstream of the Dnipro, and flood the region. Kyiv denies it.
“Obviously we are afraid of this. That’s why we are leaving,” Pavel Ryazskiy, a resident evacuee in Crimea, said of the possibility of the dam being destroyed.
Reports from Reuters offices; written by Grant McCool and Lincoln Feast; edited by Cynthia Osterman, Simon Cameron-Moore, Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie
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