Ukraine war: Russia strikes annexed area


KYIV, Ukraine –

A collection of explosions rocked the japanese Ukraine metropolis of Kharkiv early Saturday, sending towering plumes of illuminated smoke into the sky and triggering a collection of secondary explosions.

The blasts got here hours after Russia concentrated assaults in its more and more troubled invasion of Ukraine on areas it illegally annexed, whereas the loss of life toll from earlier missile strikes on residence buildings within the southern metropolis of Zaporizhzhia rose to 14.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov mentioned on Telegram that the early-morning explosions have been the results of missile strikes that hit one of many metropolis’s medical establishments, a nonresidential constructing and different spots.


In a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his conduct of Europe’s worst armed battle since World War II, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to human rights organizations in his nation and Ukraine, and to an activist jailed in Russia’s ally Belarus.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the committee’s chair, mentioned the consideration went to “three excellent champions of human rights, democracy and peaceable coexistence.”

Putin this week illegally claimed 4 areas of Ukraine as Russian territory, together with the Zaporizhzhia area that’s house to Europe’s largest nuclear energy plant, whose reactors have been shut down final month.

Fighting close to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has alarmed the UN’s atomic power watchdog, which on Friday doubled to 4 the variety of its inspectors monitoring plant safeguards. An accident there may launch 10 occasions extra doubtlessly deadly radiation than the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in Ukraine 36 years in the past, Ukrainian Environmental Protection Minister Ruslan Strilets mentioned Friday.

“The state of affairs with the occupation, shelling, and mining of the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy vegetation by Russian troops is inflicting penalties that can have a worldwide character,” Strilets informed The Associated Press.

The UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported extra bother on the plant, saying Friday on Twitter that exterior energy had once more been minimize off to one in every of Zaporizhzhia’s shutdown reactors, necessitating the usage of emergency backup diesel turbines to run security methods.

The metropolis of Zaporizhzhia is situated 53 kilometers (33 miles) away from the nuclear plant as a crow flies and stays beneath Ukrainian management. To cement Russia’s declare to the area, Russian forces bombarded town with S-300 missiles on Thursday, with extra assaults reported Friday.

Ukrainian authorities mentioned the loss of life toll from the strikes on residence buildings rose to 14 on Friday, whereas 12 individuals wounded within the bombardment remained hospitalized.

Missiles additionally struck town in a single day, wounding one particular person, Zaporizhzhia Gov. Oleksandr Starukh mentioned. Russia additionally used Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones there for the primary time and broken two infrastructure services, he mentioned.

With its military shedding floor to a Ukrainian counteroffensive within the south and east, Russia has deployed unmanned, disposable Iranian-made drones which are cheaper and fewer refined than missiles however nonetheless can harm floor targets.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War mentioned Russia’s use of the explosives-packed drones was unlikely to have an effect on the course of the battle.

“They have used many drones towards civilian targets in rear areas, probably hoping to generate nonlinear results via terror. Such efforts should not succeeding,” analysts on the suppose tank wrote.

In different Moscow-annexed areas, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported Friday that its forces had repelled Ukrainian advances close to town of Lyman and retaken three villages elsewhere within the japanese Donetsk area. The ministry additionally claimed that Russian forces had prevented Ukrainian troops from advancing on a number of villages within the southern Kherson area.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy mentioned in his nightly video handle Friday that this week alone, his navy has recaptured 776 sq. kilometers (300 sq. miles) of territory within the east and 29 settlements, together with six within the Luhansk area, which Putin has annexed. In complete, Ukrainian forces have liberated 2,434 sq. kilometers (940 sq. miles) of land and 96 settlements for the reason that starting of its counteroffensive, he mentioned.

In Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk area, Russian troops shelled town of Nikopol in a single day, killing one particular person, wounding one other and damaging buildings, pure fuel pipelines and electrical energy methods, the governor reported. Nikopol lies alongside the Dnieper River throughout from Russian-held territory close to the nuclear energy plant. The metropolis has been shelled incessantly for weeks.

The path of Russia’s devastation and loss of life from areas the place its troops retreated turned clearer Friday. A report by Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Yevhen Yenin revealed that 530 our bodies of civilians have been present in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv area since Sept. 7.

The residents killed throughout the Russian occupation included 257 males, 225 girls and 19 kids, with 29 individuals unidentified, Yenin mentioned. Most of the our bodies have been present in a beforehand disclosed mass grave within the metropolis of Izium.

According to Yenin, the recovered our bodies bore indicators of gunshots, explosions and torture. Some individuals had ropes round their necks, fingers tied behind their again, bullet wounds to their knees and damaged ribs.

Authorities have recognized 22 torture websites in elements of the Kharkiv area that Ukrainian forces lately liberated, mentioned Serhiy Bolvinov, a regional police official.

In lately recaptured Lyman, staff discovered 200 particular person graves and a mass grave with an unknown variety of victims, Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on Telegram. In Sviatohirsk, 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Lyman, 21 our bodies of civilians have been reburied.

Russian navy tools and weapons, in the meantime, is entering into Ukrainian fingers. Britain’s Ministry of Defense mentioned Friday that Ukrainian forces have captured not less than 440 tanks and about 650 armored autos for the reason that Russian invasion began Feb. 24.

“The failure of Russian crews to destroy intact tools earlier than withdrawing or surrendering highlights their poor state of coaching and low ranges of battle self-discipline,” the British ministry mentioned. “With Russian formations beneath extreme pressure in a number of sectors and more and more demoralized troops, Russia will probably proceed to lose heavy weaponry.”

Putin ordered a partial mobilization of Russian military reservists final month to strengthen manpower on the entrance traces in Ukraine. Mistakes have dogged the navy call-up, nevertheless, and tens of hundreds of males have fled Russia, unwilling to battle Putin’s battle.

That has left Russia determined for troop reinforcements. The Ukrainian navy mentioned Friday that 500 former criminals have been mobilized to strengthen Russian ranks within the japanese Donetsk area, the place Ukrainian forces have retaken territory. Law enforcement officers are commanding the brand new models, the navy mentioned.

Russia’s state information company Tass reported Friday {that a} courtroom within the Russian metropolis of Penza had dismissed the primary case towards a Russian man referred to as as much as serve however who refused. The 32-year-old man’s attorneys had argued that the legislation beneath which he was charged applies solely to conscription evaders, not these topic to the partial mobilization.

In one other signal of bother, studies have surfaced of poor coaching and few provides for the brand new Russian troops. At least two Russian cities — St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod — introduced Friday they have been canceling their Russian New Year’s and Christmas celebrations and redirecting that cash to purchase provides for Russian troops.

Under rising stress from his personal supporters in addition to critics, Putin continued to reshuffle his navy’s management, changing the commander of Russia’s japanese navy district.


Associated Press author Hanna Arhirova in Ukraine contributed to this report.


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