Monday 29, May 2023

Ukraine bombs key bridge in Kherson

News Desk: Ukrainian forces bombed a strategic bridge over the Dnipro river overnight in the Russian-held city of Kherson, the army announced on Monday.

‘What a night for the occupiers in the Kherson region. Strikes in the area of the Antonovskiy bridge,’ regional deputy Sergei Khlan wrote on Facebook.

Southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk confirmed the attack.

‘The firing system we have developed in recent days shows results,’ she said.

‘The impact of the strike has been considerable for both the Antonovskiy and Kakhovskiy bridges,’ she told Ukrainian television.

The Antonovskiy bridge is the main land supply link between the city and the south bank of the Dnipro.

It was partly destroyed on July 27, forcing the Russian invaders to rethink supply lines and possibly resort to using pontoons to cross the water.

Pro-Russian authorities also confirmed an attack.

‘There was one strike, a construction booth and a cement mixer caught fire. There is damage to the bridge floor, which means we will continue restoring it,’ deputy head of the Russian-led regional administration, Kirill Stremusov, told RIA Novosti news agency.

‘There is no critical damage, the structural elements of the transport crossing were not damaged,’ he added.

Kherson, capital of the region bearing the same name, lies just a few kilometres from the frontline.

Meanwhile, Kyiv on Monday called for the establishment of a demilitarised zone around a nuclear power station in east Ukraine where recent fighting with Russian forces has raised fears of a nuclear accident.

Zaporizhzhia Europe’s largest atomic power complex was occupied by Russia early in its invasion.

In recent days, it has been the scene of strikes that have damaged several structures, forcing the shutdown of a reactor.

‘What needs to be done is to remove occupying forces from the station and to create a de-militarised zone on the territory of the station,’ said Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s nuclear energy company, Energoatom.

‘The fact that they are there is the greatest danger going forwards, towards an accident with radiation or even to a nuclear catastrophe,’ he added in a statement distributed by the agency.

Recent fighting at the plant has prompted the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to warn of ‘the very real risk of a nuclear disaster’.

Kotin said in the statement that Russia had deployed some 500 Russian troops and 50 pieces of military hardware at Zaporizhzhia and that the situation at the plant marked a ‘deterioration’ over recent days.

‘That there should be a peacekeeping mission including experts from the IAEA and other security organisations. Their presence and initially giving control to them and then to the Ukrainian side would have solved this problem,’ he added.

The first cargo ship to reach its final destination after departing from Ukraine under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv docked in Turkey Monday, Kyiv said, while a consignment due in Lebanon reported delays.

Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, was forced to halt almost all deliveries after Russia’s invasion, but Black Sea exports recently restarted under a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey.

The Turkish cargo ship the Polarnet that reached its final destination left the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk last week carrying 12,000 tonnes of corn.

It arrived in Turkey as scheduled after being inspected by the Joint Coordination Center established in Istanbul under the international agreement signed last month, Kyiv said.

‘This first successful completion of the implementation of the ‘grain deal’ means it is possible to be optimistic about future transportation,’ Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov was quoted as saying in a statement by the ministry.

The statement did not give the ship’s destination, but the website gave its location as the port of Derince, Turkey.

The deal brokered by Turkey and the UN lifted a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s ports and set terms for millions of tonnes of wheat and other grain to start flowing from silos and ports.

The Razoni was the first ship to leave Ukraine under the deal.

It left the port of Odessa on August 1 carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn and was expected in Tripoli in Lebanon this weekend but has yet to reach the destination.


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