Fierce fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continue in Donbass on the 167th day of the conflict as both sides blame each other for shelling the high-risk nuclear complex of Zaporizhzhia.

Ukrainian social networks were abuzz with speculation that the base was hit by Ukrainian-fired long-range missiles.
Ukrainian social networks were abuzz with speculation that the base was hit by Ukrainian-fired long-range missiles. (AA)

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Blasts rock Russian military air base

Powerful explosions rocked a Russian air base in the occupied Crimea, killing one person and wounding several others, authorities said.

Russia's Defence Ministry said munitions blew up at the Saki base, and it emphasised that the installation had not been shelled. But Ukrainian social networks were abuzz with speculation that it was hit by Ukrainian-fired long-range missiles.

There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian authorities.

Shelling hits town near Russian-held nuclear plant

At least three Ukrainian civilians were killed and 23 others wounded by Russian shelling in 24 hours, including an attack not far from a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant, the office of Ukraine's president reported.

The Russians fired over 120 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at the southern town of Nikopol, which is across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said. Several apartment buildings and industrial facilities were damaged, he said.

Ukraine and Russia accused each other in recent days of shelling the nuclear plant, which is the largest one in Europe, and increasing the risks of a nuclear accident.

Ukraine reportedly halts oil flows to Europe over payment issue 

Ukraine has suspended Russian oil pipeline flows to parts of central Europe since early this month because Western sanctions prevented it from accepting transit fees from Moscow, Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft said.

Benchmark Brent crude oil jumped by $2 per barrel to trade near $98 as the news added to concerns about reduced energy supplies.

Flows along the southern route of the Druzhba pipeline have been affected while the northern route serving Poland and Germany remains uninterrupted. The suspension of flows will hit countries such as Slovakia , Hungary and the Czech Republic, which all rely heavily on Russian crude and have limited ability to import alternative supply by sea.

Western sanctions to 'punish' Russia are futile: Kremlin

The Kremlin said that efforts to "punish" Russia are futile, making clear reference to the Western sanctions on the nation, according to local media.

European countries that support Ukraine will sooner or later begin to wonder whether President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is doing things correctly, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as quoted by state-run news agency TASS.

Targeting the European countries that have slapped a series of sanctions on Moscow since Russia launched its assault on Ukraine on February 24, he said: “The countries themselves are paying the bill, and the citizens are paying the bill. And sooner or later these countries will also begin to wonder, ‘Is Zelenskyy doing everything right, why do our citizens have to pay for his whims?’"

Russia claims destroyed HIMARS ammunition depot in Ukraine

Russia's defence ministry says Russian forces have destroyed an ammunition depot near the central Ukrainian city of Uman storing US-made HIMARS missiles and M777 howitzers.

In its daily briefing, the ministry said it had destroyed more than 300 rockets in the strike.

Kiev has hailed the arrival of the advanced, long-range HIMARS from the United States as a possible game-changer, while Moscow has accused the West of "dragging out" the conflict by arming Ukraine.

UK: Russia continues to reinforce defence in southern Ukraine

Russia has continued to focus on reinforcing its defences in southern Ukraine over the weekend, while also maintaining attacks on Kiev's positions in the Donetsk region in the east, Britain has said

Bakhmut has been Moscow's most successful axis in eastern Ukraine's Donbass over the last 30 days, although, Russia has only managed to advance about 10 kilometres in the region, the British defence ministry said in a regular intelligence update.

"In other Donbass sectors where Russia was attempting to break through, its forces have not gained more than 3 kilometres during this 30-day period; almost certainly significantly less than planned," the update said.

Ukrainian resistance grows in Russian-occupied areas

Guerrilla forces loyal to Kiev have been killing pro-Moscow officials, blowing up bridges and trains, and helping the Ukrainian military by identifying key targets.

They coordinate with the Ukrainian military's Special Operations Forces, which helps them develop strategies and tactics, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Those forces also select targets and set up a website with tips on how to organise resistance, prepare ambushes and elude arrest. A network of weapons caches and secret hideouts was established in occupied areas.

Anti-aircraft defence around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant will be beefed up: Russian-backed official

Anti-aircraft defences around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant will be strengthened following days of reported shelling on the site, the RIA Novosti news agency has quoted a pro-Russia separatist official as saying.

Yevgeny Balitsky, head of the Russian-backed administration in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region also said the nuclear station, Europe's largest, was working normally and damaged power lines have been restored.

Both Kiev and Moscow have blamed each other for attacks on the power station, located in Russian-controlled territory, over recent days.

Belarus to stage air force drills this month

Belarus' air force will stage military training exercises from August 9-25, the defence ministry has said.

The exercises will involve live firing and be held in two stages, from August 9-11 in Belarus and then at the Ashuluk training base in Russia between August 22 and 25, the ministry said.

Kremlin: Zelenskyy call for Western ban on all Russians is irrational

The Kremlin has dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's call for a Western travel ban on all Russians as irrational, saying that Europe would ultimately have to decide if it wanted to pay the bills for Zelenskyy's "whims."

In an interview with The Washington Post, Zelenskyy called on Western leaders to stop allowing Russians to travel to their countries as punishment for President Vladimir Putin's decision to send troops into Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said there was no chance Russians could be isolated from the rest of the world, and questioned if Europe should continue supporting Zelenskyy.

UNHCR: More than 10.5M people crossed border from Ukraine

More than 10.5 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since Russia began attacking its neighbour on February 24, the United Nations Refugee agency UNHCR has said on its website.

Ukraine advances towards Izium against Russia in Donbass

Ukraine reported intense Russian shelling across the front lines as both sides traded blame for the weekend strike on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex which triggered international concern about a potential atomic disaster.

Heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk, where Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks as they try to seize control of the industrialised Donbass region.

"The situation in the region is tense — shelling is constant throughout the front line ... The enemy is also using air strikes a great deal," Donetsk regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian TV.

For live updates from Monday (August 8), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies