A Russian tank, with looted Ukrainian possessions, drives through occupied Popasna in eastern Ukraine (Reuters)

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Saturday’s Coverage: Officials — Russia Carries Out Strikes Near Europe’s Largest Nuclear Complex

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Adding to concerns over safety at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe (see 0645 GMT), Ukraine’s Energoatom says a worker was wounded by Russian shelling on Saturday evening.

Energatom wrote on Telegram that the plant’s dry storage facility, where 174 containers with spent nuclear fuel are stored in the open air, was hit by rocket attacks.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has followed up his call for stronger sanctions on Russia, made in his address to the nation on Saturday night, in conversation today with the European Union’s Charles Michel:

Zelenskiy and Michel also discussed the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports and 2the importance of unblocking the [EU] package of macro-financial assistance for Ukraine as soon as possible”.


UK military intelligence assesses that six Russian commanders have been dismissed during Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Those removed include the overall commander of the invasion, Gen. Aleksandr Dvornikov, who was only appointed on April 11; Gen.-Col. Aleksandr Chayko of the Eastern Military District; Gen.-Col. Aleksandr Zhuravlev of the Western Military District; and Gen. Gennady Valeryovich Zhidko of the Southern Grouping of Forces.

At least 10 other Russian generals have been killed in Ukraine.

The UK analysts conclude, “The cumulative effect on consistency of command is likely contributing to Russian tactical and operational difficulties.”


Four more ships, with more than 160,000 tons of Ukrainian corn, meal, and oil, left Black Sea ports on Sunday.

The departures bring the total to eight since the July 22 agreement, brokered by Turkey and the UN, to lift the Russian blockade.

Today’s departing ships are Glory, with 66,000 tons of corn bound for Istanbul; Riva Wind, with 44,000 tons of corn for Turkey’s Iskenderun; Star Helena, with 45,000 tons of meal for China; and Mustafa Necati, with 6,000 tons of sunflower oil for Italy.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for new sanctions against Russia, punishing Moscow for creating a “global threat” by using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as a military base.

“Unfortunately, we have a significant aggravation of the situation,” Zelenskiy said, declaring that Russia is “the first in the world to use a nuclear plant for terror”.

Ukraine’s State-run nuclear operator Energoatom said on Friday that the Russian military carried out three strikes on the site of the plant, destroying electrical transmission lines and damaging an auxiliary building near a reactor.

The Ukraine military says Russian forces at the site are involved in the regular bombardment of Nikopol, to the west across the Dnipro River. UK military intelligence assessed on Friday morning that Russian troops “have likely undermined the security” of the plant by using it as a base.


Another Russian proxy official has been assassinated in occupied southern Ukraine.

The deputy head of administration in Novaya Kakhovka, Vitaly Guru, was shot on Saturday with a Makarov pistol. He died while being transported to occupied Crimea for emergency treatment, according to Russian State media.

Ukrainian partisans have carried out sabotage, explosions, and assassination attempts since Russian forces occupied parts of southern Ukraine in the opening days of the February 24 invasion.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Investigators have established that Russian troops mutilated, beheaded, and cut off the hands of a Ukrainian prisoner of war in eastern Ukraine.

Footage first appeared on pro-Russian Telegram channels in late July of the headless and handless body of a man dressed in military uniform in Popasna, a town in Luhansk Province overrun by Russian forces in May. His head was stuck on a wooden pole in a front garden, and his hands were implaced on metal spikes on a fence on either side of the head.

The exiled Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai posted the gruesome photo on his Telegram channel this week. He commented:

They really are orcs. Twenty-first century, occupied Popasna, human skull on the fence. There is nothing human about the Russians. We are at war with non-humans.

Last week a video showed the mutilation and castration of a Ukrainian POW, also in Luhansk Province, by a soldier in the Chechen “Akhmat” battalion.

Establishing the Atrocity

Examining the images of the Popasna atrocity, the investigative website Bellingcat has determined that another member of the Akhmat battalion mutilated the Ukrainian POW who was then beheaded.

The torturer, wearing a distinctive black wide-brimmed hat and bracelet, is seen in other videos by Russian broadcasters. He appears in footage in late June from the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk region, overrun by a Russian offensive days earlier. He also is in videos and pictures throughout July in Russian propaganda videos and in posts on Telegram channels.

Geolocation of visual clues establishes that the atrocity was committed in an abandoned sanatorium in Pryvillia, about 25 miles north of Popasna.

Bellingcat contacted the Chechen soldier. He denied involvement in the mutilation and execution, but confirmed that he had been question by Russia’s security services about the incident.