Kiev: the Ukrainian military reported heavy fighting with Russian forces On Saturday, while the country’s nuclear energy agency said it had put the last working reactor at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a “cold shutdown” for the sake of safety as Russia’s war on Ukraine dragged through its 16th month.
After Russian forces bombed Ukraine with missiles and drones overnight resulting in deaths and damage at a military airport, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Kiev on Saturday for a previously unannounced visit, his second trip to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February last year. He was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Ukraine’s General Staff said on Saturday that “heavy battles” were continuing, with 34 confrontations taking place over the previous day in the country’s industrial east. It gave no details but said Russian forces were “defending themselves” and carrying out air and artillery strikes in southern Ukraine. Kherson and Zaporizhia.
The day before, Russian President Vladimir put it in He expressed the opinion that the Ukrainian forces had launched a long-overdue counter-offensive and suffered “significant” losses.
At the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest, which is occupied by Russian forces, five of the six reactors were already in cold shutdown, a process in which all control rods are inserted into the reactor core to stop nuclear fission. Reaction and generation of heat and pressure.
Ukraine’s nuclear agency Energoatom said in a statement late Friday that there was “no immediate threat” to the Zaporizhzhia plant due to the breach of the Kakhovka Dam below the Dnieper River, forcing thousands of people to flee the floods and also. A sharp drop in water levels in the tank used to help cool the facility.
Energoatom said it shut down the final reactor because of that, and also because bombing near the site damaged the overhead lines connecting the plant to the Ukrainian power system.
As all nuclear reactions stop, the temperatures and pressures inside the reactors gradually drop, lowering the intensity required to cool the radioactive fuel with water. This is the safest operating mode for a nuclear power plant. Energoatom employees still work at the power plant, although it is still under the control of the Russians.
The site’s power units have not been operational since September last year. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to visit Ukraine in the coming days.
Also on Saturday morning, Ukrainian authorities reported that at least four civilians were killed across the country as Russian forces launched Iranian-made Shahed drones, missiles, and artillery and mortar bombardments.
Ukraine’s state emergency service reported that three people were killed and more than two dozen injured overnight in an attack on the Black Sea port of Odessa. Natalia Homenyuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Operations Command, said two children and a pregnant woman were among the wounded.
In northeastern Ukraine, a 29-year-old man was killed when more than 10 drones targeted the Kharkiv region, its governor Oleh Sinyhopov said Saturday. He added that at least three other civilians were injured.
Local governor Dmytro Lunin reported that in the Poltava region to the west, a military airfield was damaged which was bombed overnight during a Russian drone and missile attack. Lunin said no one was hurt. As of Saturday morning, there was no further comment from the Ukrainian military or officials on the extent of the damage.
The Ukrainian Air Force said that during the night it shot down 20 out of 35 drones and two of eight missiles “of various types” launched by Russian forces.
The fighting and civilian casualties have drawn renewed attention as authorities in southern Ukraine say water levels are falling in a vast area under the ruptured dam.
Ukraine’s environment minister warned on Saturday that nearly a third of protected natural areas in the Kherson region could be obliterated by floods in the wake of the breach of the Kakhovka Dam.
In a Facebook post, Ruslan Strelets said the dam’s collapse has left a national park completely submerged, washed away rivers and lakes in other protected areas, and could lead to rising groundwater in parts of the Moscow-occupied Dnieper delta, creating the risk of more floods. .
In the city of Kherson, whose suburbs were among the areas affected by the floods, the average water level dropped by 31 cm (12 in) overnight, but remained more than 4.5 meters (15 ft) higher than normal, said regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin. reported on Saturday.
Prokudin warned that forecasters predicted heavy rains in the region over the weekend, complicating rescue efforts.
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday that an “extraordinary” 700,000 people need drinking water.
In other developments:
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday he wanted to continue talking to Putin – whose order of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been criticized by many Western leaders – and plans to do so again “soon”. Schulz has spoken several times on the phone with Putin since the invasion.
The chancellor said that the basis for a “just peace” between Russia and Ukraine is the withdrawal of Russian forces. He said, “This needs to be understood.”


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