Russia says it has apprehended eight persons in connection with the explosion on a vital bridge connecting Russia and Crimea on Saturday. According to the FSB security service, five of those detained were Russians, while the others were Ukrainian and Armenian.
It claims Kyiv is to blame for the attack, but a Ukrainian official dismissed Russia’s inquiry as “nonsense.” Explosions were recorded in the Ukrainian cities of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Nikopol at the time. Five explosions were heard in Kherson, one of the major cities under Russian occupation, according to Kyiv sources, and the city’s air defense system was activated, according to unconfirmed reports.
He stated that it was unclear what caused the explosions. Ukraine’s military said its troops were advancing in the region, taking five more communities. Meanwhile, there were explosions in a number of Ukrainian-controlled cities.
Shelling in Nikopol, Dnipro area, gravely injured three persons, including a six-year-old girl, according to a Ukrainian presidential spokeswoman. Several S-300 missiles were reported to have fallen in and around Zaporizhzhia, with one demolishing a residential structure in a suburb, according to Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry. According to reports, a family was rescued from the wreckage.
The explosion on the Crimea Bridge was a devastating symbolic blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who opened the bridge in 2018, four years after annexing Crimea. President Putin described it as a “terrorist act” aimed at damaging a crucial piece of Russia’s civil infrastructure.
The incident, according to FSB authorities, was planned by “the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, its head Kyrylo Budanov, its personnel, and operatives.” They claimed the explosives were concealed in rolls of plastic film and transported by a circuitous path from the Ukrainian port of Odesa, first by sea to Bulgaria, then to Georgia, and finally by lorry overland into Russia via Armenia.
But the directorate’s spokesman, Andriy Yusov, dismissed the Russian charges. “All of the FSB and [Russia’s] Investigative Committee’s activities are bullshit,” he told Ukrainian media. “They are phony structures that assist the Putin administration, so we will not comment on their latest announcements.”
On Monday, Russian forces replied with a barrage of missile strikes across the country, including central Kyiv, killing 19 people. When asked on Wednesday whether the goals of Russia’s special military operation or invasion, remained the same, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed they were “absolutely the same.”
“These goals only become more pertinent against the backdrop of the Ukrainian regime’s activities,” he remarked. When launching the invasion in February, Mr. Putin called for the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, phrases he uses to refer to the fall of the Ukrainian authorities, which Moscow regards as “fascist.”.
Following more strikes on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged countries to impose additional sanctions on Moscow in response to a “new wave of terror.” He urged the West to find new ways to impose political pressure on Russia while still supporting Ukraine.
The calls came after he met with the G7 group of nations on Tuesday for emergency virtual meetings. The bloc, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, has committed to continue giving “financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic, and legal” assistance to his country “for as long as it takes.”
Nato also stated that it would remain in Ukraine for as long as necessary. Separately, Rafael Grossi, the president of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tweeted that the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor had lost external power for the second time in five days and that backup diesel generators had been activated.
“This recurring loss of off-site power at #ZNPP is a highly concerning event, emphasizing the urgent necessity for a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the site,” he added.
In addition, the Ukrainian nuclear agency Enerhoatom stated on Telegram that Russian authorities at the plant, Europe’s largest, were not allowing it to transfer fresh supplies of diesel fuel.
In March, Moscow seized the enormous plant but retained its Ukrainian personnel. Both Ukraine and Russia accuse one other of repeatedly shelling the facility, raising global concerns that a massive radiation disaster in Europe could result.
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