Zelensky urges Russians to ‘go home’ as Ukraine presses offensive in south

  • ‘Ukraine is taking back its own’ – Zelensky
  • Russia says Ukraine has suffered significant casualties
  • Ukraine shelling knocks out power in Russian-controlled RIA city
  • The IAEA mission hopes to defuse nuclear power plant tensions

MYKOLAIV, Ukraine/KYIV, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russian troops to spare their lives as the Ukrainian army launched an offensive near the city of Kherson. had failed.

Ukraine’s offensive in the south comes after weeks of stalemate in a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions, destroyed cities and sparked a global energy and food crisis amid unprecedented economic sanctions.

It has also fueled concerns of a radiation disaster triggered by the shelling of southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, with Russian officials announcing artillery strikes near a spent fuel storage building on Tuesday.

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In his nightly speech late Monday, Zelensky vowed that Ukrainian troops would chase the Russian army “to the border.”

“If they want to survive – it’s time for the Russian army to run. Go home,” he said.

“Ukraine is taking its own back,” Zelenskiy said.

Oleksiy Arestovych, Zelenskiy’s senior adviser, commented on the attack in the Kherson region, saying Russian defenses were “broken within hours”.

Ukrainian forces have been shelling boats used by Russia to supply an area on the west bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian forces had increased their artillery fire across the south and that their long-range precision strikes were disrupting Russian resupply.

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Ukraine’s Zasbylnye public broadcaster reported explosions in the Kherson region on Tuesday and city residents reported gunfire and explosions in social media posts, but said it was unclear who fired the shots.

Ukraine’s military general staff reported clashes in various parts of the country early Tuesday, but did not provide any information on the Kherson attack.

‘failure’

RIA news agency reported that the Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian troops attempted to launch an offensive in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, but suffered significant casualties.

“The enemy’s attack attempt failed miserably,” it said.

But Ukrainian rocket barrages have left the Russian-occupied town of Nova Khakovka without water or electricity, officials from the Russian-appointed authority told the RIA news agency.

Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

Russian shelling of the port city of Mykolaiv, which remains in Ukrainian hands after repeated Russian bombings, killed at least two people, wounded about 24 and destroyed homes, city officials and witnesses said on Monday.

A Reuters reporter said a strike directly hit a family home near a school, killing a woman. read more

The owner of the property, Oleksandr Shulka, said he lived there all his life and died while his wife was buried in the debris. “It hit and the shock wave came and it destroyed everything,” he said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 to conduct what it said was a “special military operation” to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and its allies describe it as an unprovoked war of aggression.

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IAEA Nuclear Mission

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s south, seized by Russian troops in March but still managed by Ukrainian staff, is a hotspot in the conflict, which both sides blame for nearby shelling.

Russian-backed officials accused Ukrainian troops of firing two bombs that exploded near a spent fuel storage building at the plant, TASS news agency reported. There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian side.

A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is visiting Europe’s largest nuclear power plant this weekend to inspect and assess any damage.

Led by IAEA chief Raffaele Croci, the Vienna-based organization said it would assess working conditions and check safety and security systems.

It will “execute emergency safeguards”, a reference to monitoring nuclear material.

A map locating the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory

A top Russian diplomat said Moscow hoped the mission would dispel misconceptions about the plant’s poor condition. read more

The Kremlin said the IAEA mission was “essential” and urged the international community to pressure Ukraine to reduce military tensions at the plant. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the task force should carry out its work in a politically neutral manner.

The United Nations, the United States and Ukraine have called for the withdrawal of military equipment and personnel from the compound, confirming it is not a target. read more

The Kremlin has ruled out giving up the base.

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Report by Reuters Bureaus; By Himani Sarkar; Editing by Robert Birzel

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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