A top Ukrainian energy official says the Russian military may be preparing to leave the troubled Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, which it has occupied since March.
Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s nuclear power operator Energoatom, told the Ukraine TV show TSN that the Russians could transfer control of the plant to the International Atomic Energy Agency, though he did not give a timeline.
“It looks like they’re packing up and stealing whatever they can find,” Kotin said.
The area around the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest, has been battered by missile attacks for months and has been offline for most of the time. IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi has repeatedly warned of a nuclear holocaust if fighting in the region does not stop.
Russian attacks last week cut off essential power to all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, forcing operators to conduct high-risk procedures.
Grossi said, “We must do everything possible to prevent nuclear accidents at any of these nuclear facilities, which would only add to the already terrible suffering in Ukraine.”
►Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is raising funds to replace Ukrainian ambulances destroyed by Russian shelling, arrived in Kyiv and began surveying the area for damage. “There is no limit to the wickedness of the Russian destruction,” Kelly tweeted,
►Russian TV personality Vladimir Solovyov urged his country to impose the death penalty for soldiers abandoning their posts in Ukraine. He also got angry on national TV when online commentators urged him to go to the frontlines.
►Europe is united by a desire to prevent Russia from posing a security threat, and a sovereign Ukraine is vital, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. Orban, who opposes sanctions on Russia, said last week he would support NATO efforts for Sweden and Finland next year.
►Repair crews across Ukraine were scrambling to restore heat, electricity and water services, which had been severely damaged in recent days amid a punishing barrage of Russian missiles targeting infrastructure.
A prominent Russian nationalist says the Russian military does not have enough doctors. Leonid Slutsky, leader of the populist Liberal Democratic Party, issued a rare public admission of problems within the military during a meeting with mothers of soldiers mobilized to fight in Ukraine.
“There are not enough doctors in the military units; everyone says this,” Slutsky, chairman of the foreign relations committee in the lower house of parliament, said at the meeting in St. Petersburg. “I cannot say that they do not exist at all, but they are practically not visible there.”
Slutsky insisted that the world was looking to Russia, and that “when we don’t have socks, shorts, doctors, intelligence, communications or simply taking care of our children, questions arise that will be very difficult to answer.”
Olga Suetina said her son told her the soldiers were unarmed.
“There are no guns, nothing, we have to buy them by crowdfunding,” she said. “They left Kharkiv, there was zero, there was not even polythene to cover the dugouts.”
New businesses are opening all over Ukraine despite being hit by Russian missiles. The government said 15,000 business entities were registered in April and the number reached 23,000 in August. More businesses opened than closed.
On 2 October, a Vivat bookstore opened in Kyiv and attracted 1,200 visitors. Amid air raids, customers stood in line for up to 40 minutes to buy books. Vivat made headlines in April when he released a book in a Kharkiv bomb shelter.
“By opening a bookstore in Kyiv, we wanted to show that the publishing house is alive,” said Yulia Orlova, an official at Vivat.
Thousands of Kherson residents are fleeing the southern Ukrainian city whose liberation was celebrated weeks ago. Kherson Gov. Yaroslav Yanushevich said on Sunday that Russian forces shelled the area 54 times over the past day, killing one person and injuring two, including a child. Yanushevich, on telegramRussia said it “purposefully” targeted civilian infrastructure and civilians. Residential buildings, a garage and an educational institution were hit in Kherson, while eight nearby villages were hit by the fire, Yanushevichse said.
“The Russians continue to use terrorist tactics,” the governor said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with a group of mothers whose children are serving in the Russian military in Ukraine or have already been killed in action. Addressing mothers two days before Russian Mother’s Day, Putin said he often talks to soldiers on the front line and that morale is good. And paid tribute to the martyred soldiers.
Addressing the mothers of those who died, he said, “I cannot bring myself to tell you some of the formal standard things regarding the expression of condolence.” “But I want you to know that I personally, and the entire leadership of the country, share your pain. We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, the loss of a child.” “
Contribution: Associated Press