Ukraine accused Russia this Monday (19) of having attacked the country’s second largest nuclear power plant, in the Mykolaiv region, while Ukrainian troops crossed the strategic river Oskil and are already approaching the Luhansk province from the left bank, which the Kremlin considered as dominated last July.
“Russia is putting the whole world in danger. We have to stop this before it’s too late,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on his Telegram account.
In turn, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko warned the Europe that if there is a “nuclear winter” due to Russian attacks on Ukrainian atomic installations, “the problem of high electricity prices will no longer be relevant”.
“Although it is not too late and a nuclear catastrophe is only a threat, we must stop Russia”, he also warned.
In what is the last episode of bombing in the territory of an atomic plant in Ukraine after the numerous attacks against the militarized plant of Zaporizhzhia, after midnight on Monday an Iskander missile fell within 300 meters of the Southern Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, according to the state-owned company Energoatom.
The attack caused a brief power outage and one of the units at the Oleksandrivska hydropower plant, which is part of the power complex was in southern Ukraine, turned off.
The three reactors at the Southern Nuclear Power Plant – visited by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in March – are operating normally, according to Energoatom.
Hours after the attack on Mykolaiv, Zelensky heard in Kyiv, during a meeting with the General Staff, the latest reports on the situation at the front.
According to Ukrainian presidency, the president evaluated “in detail the action plan of the Armed Forces for a greater eviction of the occupied territories”.
Zelensky had promised in his traditional night speech to liberate more cities, including Yalta, on the peninsula. of Crimea that Russia annexed in 2014.
This after Kiev troops vacated more than 8,500 square kilometers and 388 cities in the eastern province of Kharkiv.
“Perhaps it seems to someone now that, after a series of victories, we have a certain calm. But this is not a break. This is a preparation for the next sequence” of liberated cities, Zelensky emphasized.
On Ukraine’s plans to retake Crimea, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the peninsula “is an integral part of the Russian Federation, so that any claim to Russian territory will imply an adequate response.”
Peskov also reacted for the first time to accusations of war crimes committed by the Russians. Russians in Izyum, one of the cities liberated by Ukraine from Russian occupation in the Kharkiv region.
“It is the same route as Bucha”, he declared, referring to the city on the outskirts of Kyiv where in April hundreds of of civilian bodies with signs of torture and apparently executed were found.
“Everything unfolds from the same script. It is a lie”, he added, claiming that Russia will defend “the truth in this story”.
In Izyum, exhumations of the bodies of civilians and soldiers found in
continued on Monday. pits, some of them with signs of torture. So far, 59 bodies have been exhumed: 42 civilians and 17 military.
The region is not far from the city of the strategic river Oskil. During the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv, all territory up to the right bank of the river was liberated, leaving only a small swath to the border of Luhansk province.
On Sunday, Kiev troops managed to cross it and now “control the left bank as well”, according to the Department of Strategic Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai celebrated this achievement, stating that now the province eastern part of the country “is getting closer” to the Ukrainian troops.
Russia considered the region taken in July after occupying the city of Lisichansk.
In this On Monday, Gaidai assured in an interview with the NV radio station that the city of Bilohorivka, not far from Lisichansk, is under full Ukrainian control.
The governor also warned that the eviction of the territories captured by Russia in Luhansk will be more difficult than in the Kharkiv region, where Ukrainian troops the Russian forces surprised them.
“This shock effect will no longer be there…There will be a hard fight for every centimeter of land in Luhansk”, he declared, remembering that this time “the enemy is preparing for defense.”
Coinciding with the Ukrainian advance, a consultative body of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic has proposed to pro-Russian leader Leonid Pasechnik to immediately hold a referendum on the integration of the region to Russia.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Donetsk, fighting continues for control of the city of Lyman, close to the two main Ukrainian strongholds of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
In this regard, the leader of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, told Russian television that the situation in Lyman “remains the most difficult at the moment”, although he claimed that pro-Russian forces “remain in control”.