Chris Lange, FISM News
Ukraine’s military on Monday said that Russia kept up its heavy shelling on several towns and villages in the Donetsk region on the war’s eastern frontlines but that they were able to repel several of the attacks.
The attacks come amid heightened concern over fighting near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Enerhodar. The city’s exiled mayor reported that there were an unspecified number of civilian casualties in the region over the weekend from Russian shelling in Enerhodar’s suburbs.
Responding to the alleged attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Sunday that “every Russian soldier who either shoots at the (Zaporizhzhia nuclear) plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army.”
Russia maintains that Ukraine is responsible for the shelling of the plant.
Dozens of countries, including the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Turkey, called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and the surrounding area in a joint statement on Sunday.
“We urge the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other [unauthorized] personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, its immediate surroundings, and all of Ukraine so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can resume their sovereign responsibilities,” the countries said.
Fears of a Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster at the Russian-occupied plant have ratcheted up in recent days as communication lines, radiation monitoring sensors, a nitrogen-oxygen station and other parts of the plant have been damaged by explosions.
‘Indiscriminate’ civilian attacks
A senior Pentagon official said on Friday that Russia continues its “indiscriminate bombing” of non-military targets, resulting in mass casualties, despite Russia’s repeated denial that it is targeting civilians.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official also noted that, while Russia has a much larger military force than Ukraine, “the things going against the Russians are the continued impacts [of Ukraine’s progress] on their morale, their ability to sustain themselves — all of which have been impacted by the Ukrainians’ ability to get after [Russian] command and control, ammunition, sustainment, and logistics locations.”
The official also said that the effectiveness of Ukrainian armed forces would be a “12” on a scale of zero to 10 “based on how impressive they’ve been to us in so many different ways,” adding, “They have found ways to do things that we might not have thought were possible.”
Elsewhere, Russia said this weekend that it took control of Udy, a village in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region.
Russia and N. Korea strengthen ties
North Korea’s state media reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin told leader Kim Jong Un that the two countries would expand “comprehensive and constructive” relations.
“It said that we would continue to expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts, adding that this would entirely conform with the interests of the peoples of the two countries and contribute to strengthening the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the whole of the Northeastern Asian region,” North Korean state media outlet KCNA wrote, according to a Fox News report.
Putin sent the letter to commemorate the 77th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan.
North Korea shares a rail link with Russia and is one of the few countries that has publicly backed its invasion of Ukraine. According to Bloomberg, analysts have suggested that Putin views North Korea as a source of armaments, given its massive stockpiles of artillery.
The statement marks the most recent move by Russia to strengthen ties with those who are seen as typical enemies of the West, including China and Iran.