Ukraine says 11 dead overnight, UK flags new Russian forces

  • Ukraine says 11 dead in central Dnipropetrovsk region
  • Britain says almost certainly about new Russian ground forces
  • Explosions at a Russian army base in Crimea
  • Fears about shelling near Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
  • Victims of mass burials shot, tortured, Ukraine says

AUGUST 10 (Reuters) – Russian shelling killed 11 people overnight in central Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, Governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on Wednesday, as Britain said Russia had “almost certainly” deployed a large new ground force to support its war.

The new Russian force, dubbed the 3rd Army Corps, is based in the town of Mulino, east of the Russian capital Moscow, Britain’s Defense Ministry said in a daily intelligence bulletin.

The ministry also said that Russian commanders faced “competing operational priorities” to step up their offensive in the Donbass region in the east and strengthen defenses against Ukrainian counterattacks in the south.

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After failing to capture Ukraine’s capital Kyiv earlier in the war, Russian forces have focused on the east and south, where pro-Moscow separatists have controlled territory since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

A senior Ukrainian official suggested that a series of explosions at a Russian airbase in Crimea on Tuesday may have been the work of partisan saboteurs, as Ukraine denied responsibility for the incident deep in Russian-held territory.

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen in videos posted on social media from Crimea, a holiday destination for many Russians. Russia used Crimea as one of the launch pads for its February 24 invasion.

Russia said the blasts, at least 12 according to witnesses, were detonations from stored ammunition, not the result of an attack.

Zelenskyy didn’t directly mention the blasts in his daily video address on Tuesday, but said it was right that people were focusing on Crimea.

“We will never give it up… the Black Sea region cannot be safe as long as Crimea is occupied,” he said, repeating his government’s position that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine.

HIGH RISK

The Ukrainian General Staff on Wednesday reported widespread Russian shelling in several regions.

The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power plant has warned of the “very high” risk of shelling the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-held south, saying it is vital that Kyiv regains control of the plant in time for the winter.

Shelling by Russian forces last week damaged three lines connecting the plant to Ukraine’s power grid, he said. Russia wants to connect the plant to its power grid, Kotin said.

“The risk is very high” that containers with radioactive material will be shot at, he said.

Both Ukraine and Russia have announced that technicians from the UN’s nuclear regulatory agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), plan to visit Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Russia has asked IAEA chief Rafael Grossi to brief the UN Security Council on Thursday on Russia’s allegations of attacks “by Ukrainian forces on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and their possible catastrophic consequences,” diplomats said.

Ukraine has denied Russian claims that its forces attacked the plant.

mass burials

In the northern city of Bucha, 15 bodies were buried on Tuesday after they were found four months after Russian forces withdrew from the area.

“All the people who were shot and exhumed from a mass grave have traces of torture,” Bucha Deputy Mayor Mykhailyna Skoryk told reporters.

Ukraine and its allies accuse Russian forces of committing atrocities in Bucha, a satellite city of the capital Kyiv, after they began the February 24 invasion.

Russia has denied the allegation and denies attacking civilians in its so-called “military special operation” in its southern neighbor. Continue reading

Ukraine and its allies say Russia is responsible for an unprovoked imperial war of aggression that has ignited the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II.

Armed with arms from its Western allies, Ukraine relies on sophisticated missile and artillery systems to disrupt Russian supply lines and logistics.

The US State Department has approved a grant worth $89 million to help Ukraine equip and train 100 teams to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance for a year.

Ukraine’s president has urged the West to impose a blanket travel ban on Russians, an idea supported by some EU member states but angered Russia, which dismissed it as irrational. Continue reading

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed documents supporting the US for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, the most significant expansion of the military alliance since the 1990s and prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Continue reading

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Reporting by Reuters bureaus; writing by Michael Perry; Edited by Robert Birsel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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