The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power in southeast Ukraine amid shelling by Russian forces, March 4, 2022

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Thursday’s Coverage: At Least 8 Russian Warplanes Destroyed in Attack on Crimea Base

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former President and now deputy chairman of the State Security Council, has implicitly threatened attacks on nuclear power plants in the European Union.

Commenting on reports of Russian shelling of the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex in southern Ukraine, Medvedev wrote on Telegram:

They say it’s Russia. That’s obviously 100% nonsense, even for the stupid Russophobic public.

They say it happens purely by chance, like “We didn’t mean to”. What can I say? Let’s not forget that the European Union also has nuclear power plants. And accidents can happen there, too.”


Continuing their harassment of former State TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, Russian authorities have placed her under house arrest for two months.

Earlier this week, officials opened a new criminal case against Ovsyannikova on the charge of spreading false information about Russia’s military. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

Ovsyannikova rose to international prominence in March when she interrupted a broadcast on Rossiya 1 with a protest placard, “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here. Russians against the war.” She shouted, “Stop the war. No to war.”

She was fined 30,000 roubles ($494) for the intervention.

Last month, the journalist was seized by security personnel in the street. A Moscow court imposed a fine of 50,000 roubles ($823), claiming she had discredited the Russian military in social media posts.


Russia has rejected a UN appeal for a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (see Original Entry).

Moscow’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said:

The demilitarization of the station can make it vulnerable to those who want to visit it.[/protected]
No one knows what their goals and objectives will be. We cannot rule out any provocations, terrorist attacks on the station, which we must protect.

UN Secretary General António Guterres called for the withdrawal of all military personnel and equipment from the complex and no further deployment in the area.

The facility should not be used as part of any military operations. Instead, it is necessary to urgently reach an agreement at the technical level on the establishment of a security perimeter and demilitarisation in order to ensure the security of the region.


US officials estimate that about 20,000 Russian troops have been killed during Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

About 5,000 of the slain are mercenaries from the Wagner Group or foreign fighters.

The casualty estimates are based on satellite imagery, communication intercepts, social media, and on-the-ground media reports.

On Monday, Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl said, “I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians have probably taken 70 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months.”


Russian officials have trained in Iran in recent weeks under an agreement on the transfer of drones, the US State Department says.

American officials have said that Tehran is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones, including some that are weapons capable.

The provision would cover a serious Russian deficiency on the frontlines of its Ukraine invasion, boosting its artillery capability as it seeks to seize more territory in the east and to hold off a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south.


Russia’s latest attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed seven civilians and injured 14.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said three civilians were killed in Bakhmut, two in Kurakhove, and one each in Mariinka and in Avdiivka.

Kyrolenko said at least 723 civilians have been killed and 1,845 have been wounded in the region during the Russian invasion.

The figures do not include casualties in Russian-occupied Mariupol and Volnovakha, where Ukrainian officials say at least 22,000 people were slain.


UK military intelligence has supported the assessment that explosions at Russia’s Saki airbase in occupied Crimea on Tuesday destroyed or seriously damaged at least eight Russian warplanes.

The analysts said Russia lost at least five Su-24 Fencer fighter-bombers and three Su-30 Flanker H multi-role jets.

The explosions were “almost certainly” from the detonation of up to four uncovered munition storage areas, the analysts evaluated however, they are not certain about the cause.

Some analysts have surmised that Ukraine used long-range missiles, while others attribute the blasts to Ukrainian special forces infiltrating the base to launch and guide attacking drones.

UK intelligence believes the airfield is still in service, although the central area has suffered serious damage.

While the loss of eight jet fighters is a small proportion of Russia’s warplanes, it has “significantly degraded” the airpower of the Russian navy’s Black Sea fleet, the analysts summarizes.

The value of the destroyed warplanes is estimated to be $650 million to $850 million.

In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told officials not to reveal information about any operations behind the explosions and about a counter-offensive in the south of the country.

[This is] definitely not the time for vanity and loud statements….

The less concrete details you give about our defense plans, the better it will be for the implementation of those defense plans.

You should feel your responsibility for every word you say about what our state prepares for in defense or counteroffensives.


Two more ships with Ukrainian grain will soon leave Black Sea ports, bringing the total to 14 since a July 22 deal to lift the Russian blockade.

Ukraine Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted:

The Marshall Islands-flagged Star Laura is taking 60,150 tons of corn to an Iranian port, and the Belize-flagged ship Sormovskiy 121 is carrying 3,050 tons of wheat to a Turkish port.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has called for inspectors to visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as soon as possible, warning of a “grave hour” with the Russians converting the complex into a military base.

Grossi told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday night, “This is a serious hour, a grave hour and the IAEA must be allowed to conduct its mission to Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible….Time is of the essence.”

The Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom says Russian forces again fired shells on the complex on Thursday.

Energoatom said the Russians fired five shells in the area of ​​the commandant’s office, next to the welding area and a storage facility for radiation sources. Five others landed in the area of ​​the fire department.

The company said the shelling prevented a shift change of workers, but assured that the Ukrainian staff had not left the power plant.

Russian officials maintained that the Ukrainian military fired on the complex, occupied in the initial days of Moscow’s invasion and used as a base to attack Ukrainian cities and towns across the Dnipro River.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement, “I am calling on the military forces of the Russian Federation and Ukraine to immediately cease all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the plant and not to target its facilities or surroundings.”

On Wednesday, Russian forces killing at least 13 people and wounded 10 in the Ukrainian-held Nikopol area across the Dnipro River.

The Russians fired up to 40 rockets into the area overnight, said Ukrainian authorities.

See also Ukraine War, Day 166: UN’s Guterres — International Inspectors Must Have Access to Russia-Occupied Nuclear Complex