Russian troops bomb Ukraine, Zelenskyy warns of more serious attacks on independence anniversary

Russian forces continued their offensive in several Ukrainian regions on Monday, while President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of the possibility of more serious attacks ahead of the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Soviet rule.

Artillery shells rained down on Nikopol, a town near Zaporizhzhia – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, while rockets fell near the Black Sea port of Odessa over the weekend.

Mr Zelensky has called for vigilance, saying Moscow may try “something particularly ugly” ahead of Wednesday, which marks Ukraine’s Independence Day and also half a year since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Mr Zelensky said he had discussed “all the threats” with French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders had also been briefed, including Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“All of Ukraine’s partners have been informed about what the terror state can prepare for this week,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address, referring to Russia.

He also said that if Russia went ahead with its plans to try captured Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol, it would have violated international rules and cut itself off from negotiations.

“If this despicable show trial were to take place… that would be the limit beyond which no negotiations could be made,” he said. “There will be no more talks. Our state has said everything.”

The Financial Times, in an article published on Sunday, quoted Gennady Gatilov, Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, as saying Erdogan had tried to facilitate dialogue.

But he dismissed speculation about talks between Mr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying there was “no practical platform for this meeting,” the report said.

In Russia, authorities are investigating an alleged car bomb attack outside Moscow that killed the daughter of Alexander Dugin, an ultranationalist Russian ideologue who advocates for Russia’s takeover of Ukraine.

While investigators said they were considering “all versions” in trying to pinpoint who was responsible, Russia’s foreign ministry speculated there might be a connection with Ukraine, which a Zelenskyy adviser dismissed.

“Of course, Ukraine has nothing to do with this, because we are not a criminal state like the Russian Federation, and also not a terrorist state,” Mykhailo Podolyak said on Ukrainian television.

As Ukraine prepared to celebrate its Independence Day, embroiled in a war that has leveled cities, killed thousands and forced millions to flee, officials reported more Russian attacks on targets in the east and south of the country.

In the eastern Bakhmut region, Russian forces have inflicted damage with artillery and multiple rocket launcher systems in the areas of the settlements of Soledar, Zaytseve and Bilogorivka, Ukraine’s General Staff said in its daily update on Monday.

They continued to focus their efforts on gaining full control over the areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and retaining the captured areas of Kherson and parts of the Kharkiv, Zaporizhia and Mykolaiv regions, the General Staff added.

The shelling of Nikopol is of particular concern.

Nikopol was shelled on five separate occasions overnight, regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram on Sunday. He said 25 artillery shells hit the city, causing a fire at an industrial building and cutting off power to 3,000 residents.

Fighting near Zaporizhia and a missile attack on the southern city of Voznesensk, near Ukraine’s second largest nuclear power plant, have fueled fears of a nuclear accident.

On Sunday, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Macron held a phone call emphasizing the importance of ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities while underscoring their “steadfast commitment” to Ukraine.

Moscow says it is involved in a “military special operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbor. Ukraine and its allies say Moscow has launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

Russia said on Sunday its Kalibr missiles destroyed an ammunition depot containing missiles for US-made HIMARS missiles in Ukraine’s southeastern Odessa region, home to ports vital to a UN-brokered plan to bring Ukrainian agricultural exports back to the world market.

Kyiv said a granary was hit. Russian troops bomb Ukraine, Zelenskyy warns of more serious attacks on independence anniversary

Fry Electronics Team

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