The Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex in southern Ukraine is the largest in Europe
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1449 GMT:
Six European Union countries — Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia — now support EU restrictions on visas for Russian citizens.
However, Germany, France, and the Netherlands are against the proposal, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk said on Saturday.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted on Monday:
Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting #Europe is a privilege, not a human right. Air travel from RU is shut down. It means while Schengen countries issue visas, neighbours to Russia carry the burden (FI, EE, LV – sole access points). Time to end tourism from Russia now
— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) August 9, 2022
UPDATE 1434 GMT:
The Ukrainian military says it has again struck the Antonivsky Bridge, a vital link for Russian forces in the occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
Natalia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for Operational Command South, said forces also hit a railway bridge in the area and a bridge near the town of Nova Kakhovka and the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant.
As Ukraine pursues a counter-offensive in Kherson, it is threatening to isolate Russian forces west of the Dnipro River from those to the east. All three main bridges across the Dnipro and its tributaries have been damaged.
UK military intelligence assesses that Russian forces no longer have usable bridges for heavy equipment or supplies, and must rely mainly on two pontoon ferries, including near the Antonivsky Bridge.
If Ukrainian forces have disrupted all three bridges and can prevent the Russians from restoring any of them to usability for a protracted period then Russian forces on the west bank of the Dnipro will likely lose the ability to defend themselves against even limited Ukrainian counterattacks.
UPDATE 0709 GMT:
French President Emmanuel Macron has signed protocols approving NATO accession for Finland and Sweden.
“This sovereign choice by Finland and Sweden will strengthen their security in the face of the existing threat in their immediate vicinity and will make a significant contribution to the collective position and our European security,” Macron’s office said in a statement.
More than 20 of NATO’s 30 members have now ratified the accession. Turkey, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seeking leverage over the Kurdish issue, is still a holdout.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has responded to Russia’s “blackmail” through conversion of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex into a military base, proposing sanctions and targeted operations against the Russians.
Russian forces seized the nuclear plant, with six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors, in the opening days of the February 24 invasion. They have used the position to regularly shell Ukrainian-held cities and towns across the Dnipro River, using the reactors as a shield against any return fire.
On Friday, Moscow rejected the appeal of UN officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres, to demilitarize the nuclear complex.
Instead, Russian forces again shelled the city of Nikopol early Sunday. Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said 17 residential buildings, a school, and several shops were struck. Several thousand residents are without electricity after gas and power lines were hit.
In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy addressed the residents of the “cities and communities of Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions” in southern Ukraine.
The occupiers are trying to intimidate people in an extremely cynical way, using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. They actually hide behind the plant to fire at Nikopol and Marhanets. They arrange constant provocations with shelling of the territory of the nuclear power plant….
If someone over there in Russia thinks that this can give them something, then they are wrong. Russian blackmail only mobilizes even more global efforts to confront terror.
Zelenskiy assured, “Ukrainian diplomats and representatives of partner states will do everything to ensure that the new sanctions against Russia necessarily block the Russian nuclear industry.”
He said, “Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots under the cover of the plant, must understand that he is becoming a special target for our intelligence, for our secret service, for our army.”
And he called on the global community to ensure that “all officials of the terrorist state, as well as those who help them in this blackmail operation with the nuclear power plant…[is] tried by an international court”.