Ukraine says it will target Russian soldiers who shoot at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant or use it as a base to shoot from, as both sides again accused the other of shelling the facility. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that Russian soldiers who shot at the plant or used it as cover would become a “special target”, Reuters reported. He repeated accusations that Moscow was using the plant – Europe’s largest – as nuclear blackmail. The exiled mayor of the town where the plant is located in south-eastern Ukraine said it had come under fresh shelling.
An explosion was heard in the north-eastern part of Melitopol, the mayor of the city, Ivan Fedorov, Melitopol, posted on Telegram. “We’re waiting for good news about Russian losses,” he added. The city, which is east of the Dnipro river and north-east of the Crimean peninsula, has been occupied since March.
The two primary road bridges giving access to the pocket of Russian-occupied territory on the west bank of the Dnipro in Ukraine’s Kherson region are now probably out of use for the purposes of substantial Russian military resupply, British military intelligence said on Saturday, which the UK’s defence ministry has described as a key vulnerability.
The number of fatalities after a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, has grown to three, the Kyiv Post reports. It cites a report by Ukrinform giving the Kramatorsk mayor, Oleksandr Honcharenko, as the source.
The US has said it is concerned by reports of British, Swedish and Croatian nationals being charged by “illegitimate authorities” in eastern Ukraine. “Russia and its proxies have an obligation to respect international humanitarian law, including the right and protections afforded to prisoners of war,” the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said.
Russia has warned the US that potentially placing Russia on the US State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism could be a diplomatic “point of no return”, and trigger a total breakdown of relations between the two countries.
The Ukrainian military has reportedly shot down a Russian fighter jet, as well as four Russian drones, over the past day, according to Ukrainian media.
Two Russian missiles hit Kharkiv overnight on Saturday, the region’s governor, Oleh Synehubov, said on national television. He said there were no casualties but one missile damaged a technical college while the other landed in a residential area, Reuters reported.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Saturday the war could only end with the return of the Crimea peninsula and the punishment of the Russian leaders who ordered the military invasion.
Russian forces have taken full control of Pisky, a village on the outskirts in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Interfax cited the Russian defence ministry as saying on Saturday. Ukraine’s military command said later that “fierce fighting” continued in the village.
Ukraine’s health minister has accused Russian authorities of committing a crime against humanity by blocking access to affordable medicines and hospitals in occupied areas.
The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, has again complained that the lack of comprehensive Schengen zone travel restrictions for Russians puts an “unfair” burden on countries neighbouring Russia, reiterating calls on the European Union to introduce visa bans for Russian nationals.