Day 176: At Least 12 Killed in Deadly Blasts in Kharkiv Region; Russia Threatens to Shut Off Zaporizhzhia Plant
In the last 24 hrs, Russian missile attacks on the northeastern region of Kharkiv have killed at least 12 civilians, local officials confirmed on Thursday. In the city of Kharkiv, at least ten civilians were reported killed and at least 35 more were injured in separate attacks.
- In the last 24 hrs, Russian missile attacks on the northeastern region of Kharkiv have killed at least 12 civilians, local officials confirmed on Thursday. In the city of Kharkiv, at least ten civilians were reported killed and at least 35 more were injured in separate attacks. An additional two civilians were reported killed and two were injured in the nearby village of Krasnohrad.
- Ukrainian officials also reported that three civilians were killed and six more were injured as a result of Russian shelling in the Donetsk region, where heavy fighting and artillery fire continues. Pro-Russia separatists from the Donetsk People's Republic reported one civilian was killed and nine were injured in Ukrainian attacks for the same time period. Russian shelling was also reported in Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia but there were no reports of civilian casualties.
- Meanwhile, as the UN's António Guterres visited Ukraine, Russian defense ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russia is not deploying any heavy weaponry at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, stating that only security patrols are present at the site. He further alleged Ukraine is preparing to attack the plant on Aug. 19 in order to be able to blame Russia for a nuclear incident. Another official said Russia would turn off the plant if negative developments continue.
- In the meantime, in his nightly address on Wed., Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for Russia to withdraw its forces from the Zaporizhzhia plant. "This must happen without any conditions and as soon as possible," he said. On Thurs., Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter that the International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed to carry out a mission to Zaproizhzhia, though this was yet to be independently confirmed.
- Elsewhere, in a joint letter published in the Hill, 19 retired US generals and former officials called on the Biden administration to increase military aid to Ukraine. "By providing aid sufficient to produce a stalemate, but not enough to roll back Russian territorial gains, the Biden administration may be unintentionally seizing defeat from the jaws of victory," they said.
- Finally, following a series of attacks in Russian-held Crimea over the past week, Russian outlet RIA Novosti reported that the Kremlin ousted the head of its Black Sea fleet, Igor Osipov, and replaced him with Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov. However, the appointment wasn't officially confirmed.
Sources: Pravda, Tass, President, Guardian, and Newsweek.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by New Scientist. Experts have made it clear – the situation at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant presents the risk of another Chernobyl. Nuclear disaster has, miraculously, been avoided so far, but continuing risks the safety and effectiveness of staff to control the reactors could have catastrophic consequences.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Politico. Although Zaporizhzhia's cooling systems will be relatively vulnerable due to their contact with the outside world, the worst case scenario would only cause serious damage at a local level. Both Russia and Ukraine are over stating the risk of nuclear catastrophe to galvanize domestic support for the invasion and play upon western fears to incentivize providing military and public support respectively.