Russian forces continue barrage of Ukraine’s Donetsk region – National

Ukrainian forces say heavy Russian shelling and attempts to enter several towns in eastern Donetsk have become the main focus of the six-month war, but say they have repelled several attacks. attack.

General Staff of Of Ukraine The armed forces also said that Russia shelled more than a dozen towns on the southern front – in particular the Kherson region, which is mainly controlled by Russian forces, but where the Ukrainian army is gradually taking over territory. earth.

Much attention has been focused on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine amid fears of a disaster caused by fresh shelling in recent days. Russia and Ukraine blame each other.

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the creation of a demilitarized zone, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned Russian soldiers to shoot at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant or use it as a base to fired because they would become “special targets” of Ukrainian forces.

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The Zaporizhzhia tree dominates the southern bank of a vast reservoir on the Dnipro River. Ukrainian forces controlling towns and cities on the opposite bank have come under intense shelling from the Russian-held side.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is seeking to inspect the plant, has warned of a nuclear disaster unless hostilities stop. Nuclear experts fear fighting could damage the plant’s spent fuel tanks or reactors.

Click to play video: 'Satellite images show damage at Russian airbase in Crimea, Ukraine denies responsibility'

Satellite images show damage at Russian airbase in Crimea, Ukraine denies responsibility

Satellite images show damage at Russian airbase in Crimea, Ukraine denies responsibility

Zelenskyy said Ukraine has repeatedly proposed different forms to the Russian leadership for peace talks, but no progress has been made.

“So we have to defend ourselves, we have to deal with every form of terrorism, every case of shelling – the fierce shelling leaves not a single day,” he said in a video comment late on Sunday. .

For weeks, Kyiv said it was planning a counter-offensive to retake Zaporizhzhia and neighboring Kherson province, the largest piece of territory Russia seized since the February 24 invasion and still holds.

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Ukraine’s military command said early Sunday that Russian soldiers had continued to unsuccessfully attack Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka that, since 2014, have become one of the force’s outposts. Ukraine near Donetsk.

Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov said the situation was especially difficult in Avdiivka and neighboring towns, such as Pisky.

“We don’t have enough artillery power in place and our forces are asking for more support to protect Pisky,” he said in a video posted online. “But the town is basically under Ukrainian control.”

A damaged street after a Russian missile hit a residential area in the city of Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine August 15.

Metin Aktas / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In the Russian-occupied vicinity of Luhansk, in the grounds beneath an abandoned, charred apartment complex, 48-year-old Lilia Ai-Talatini watches as her mother’s body is exhumed from a makeshift grave to taken to the cemetery for a proper burial. .

Ai-Talatini told Reuters how it took her 10 days to reach her parents’ apartment, on the side bordering the Russian town of Rubizhne, during fierce fighting there in March.

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“I’m dying… her hands are green, her skin is pale, there are dark circles under her eyes,” she said. “The next day my mother passed away.”

An official with the Luhansk People’s Republic, an organization founded by pro-Moscow separatists, said a team worked in Rubizhne for 10 days and unearthed 104 sets of remains.

“Obviously shrapnel wounds, but also bullet wounds, and there are an estimated 500 unofficial graves in the city,” says Anna Soroka.

Click to play video: 'Russia says it supports calling for IAEA inspectors to conduct inspections of Zaporizhzhia, declares Ukraine an area of ​​shelling'

Russia says it supports the call for IAEA inspectors to conduct inspections of Zaporizhzhia, claims Ukraine is in an area of ​​shelling

Russia says it supports the call for IAEA inspectors to conduct inspections of Zaporizhzhia, claims Ukraine is in an area of ​​shelling

Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield accounts.

Russia calls the invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarizing and “demilitarizing” its smaller neighbor, while Ukraine and its Western allies see Moscow’s actions as a invasion war.

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The conflict has pushed Moscow-Washington ties to a low, and Russia has warned it could cut ties.

Having been largely isolated on the global diplomatic stage, Russia has increasingly won favor with China, whose own relationship with Washington has been reduced by tensions over Taiwan.

And on Monday, North Korean state media reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had told leader Kim Jong Un that the two countries would expand “comprehensive and constructive” relations.

In July, North Korea recognized as independent Russia-backed “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, and officials raised the prospect of its workers being sent. go there to help with construction and other labor.

Ukraine immediately cut ties with Pyongyang because of this move.

Amid the fighting, many ships carrying Ukrainian grain have left or are set to do so as part of an agreement signed late last month to defuse the global food crisis.

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A cargo from Ethiopia, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine, is set to leave in the next few days, while sources say the first grain ship to leave Ukraine under a Union agreement. The United Nations is approaching Syria.

Marianne Ward, deputy country director of the World Food Program, told reporters: “The world needs Ukraine’s food. “This is the beginning of what we hope is normalcy for the hungry people of the world.”

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