Ukrainian forces said they attacked another Russian-occupied Kherson base as leaders from Turkey and the United Nations were set to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss food shipments from Ukraine and the increasingly tense situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
The Ukrainian military’s Southern Command announced Thursday that it had struck an ammunition depot in Bilohirka, near the front lines of fighting in the Kherson region. The rocket attack is the latest in a series of attacks on logistics in Russia’s occupied south, as part of a strategy to deprive Russian troops in the region of supplies and force them to withdraw from territory held west of the Dnipro River.
A day earlier, the Ukrainian military shared a video on social media that appeared to show the aftermath of a long-range rocket attack on Nova Kakhovka, which is also located in the Kherson region. Pro-Ukrainian saboteurs also destroyed an ammunition depot in Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014. Social media video Large explosions were also reported overnight in Russian-occupied Amvrosiivka, in the eastern Donetsk region, on Thursday; Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on the cause.
Russian forces are attempting to crack down on pro-Ukrainian insurgents as Ukrainian strikes inside Russian-held territory increase. According to Russian state-run news agencies, a Ukrainian army veteran was arrested in the Kherson region on suspicion of sending Russian troop and base locations to Ukrainian forces. Furthermore, Russia’s FSB intelligence agency said on Wednesday that it had detained six Russian citizens in Crimea who belonged to a cell that spread “terrorist ideology” with the help of Ukrainian emissaries, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres were in Lviv on Thursday for talks about the deal Ankara helped broker with the UN to lift a Russian naval blockade on Ukrainian exports, which had caused food shortages throughout the Middle East and Africa. According to Turkish officials, four more ships loaded with agricultural products sailed from Ukrainian ports on Wednesday as part of the agreement.
Mr. Guterres was also expected to speak with Mr. Zelensky about the standoff at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. Explosions in and around the plant, which Russian forces are occupying, have knocked one reactor off the grid, injured at least one plant employee, and raised fears of another nuclear disaster similar to the 1986 meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky said in an address posted online late Wednesday night, “Only absolute transparency and a controlled situation at and around [the plant] can guarantee a gradual return to normal nuclear safety for the Ukrainian state, the international community, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Russian army must withdraw from the territory of the nuclear power plant and all neighboring areas, and take away its military equipment from the plant.”
Russia has said it would give IAEA inspectors access—but only if they come via Russian-controlled territory and not through Kyiv, a plan that Ukraine opposes.
The Russian Defense Ministry also claimed on Thursday that Ukraine was planning a false-flag provocation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Friday to frame the occupying forces. A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, did not provide evidence to back up the claim. Meanwhile, the Russian-installed head of Zaporizhzhia’s occupied territories said a plan was in place to evacuate residents in the event of an attack on the plant. Kyiv did not respond immediately to the claim.
Russia’s Defense Ministry also stated on Thursday that if the situation surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant worsens, Moscow may consider shutting it down.
The Ukrainian government, international nuclear-power watchdogs, and the plant’s employees have accused Russia of stealing Zaporizhzhia’s power by cutting it off from Ukraine’s remaining territory.
According to the mayor of Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, a Russian missile hit a residential building in the Saltivka neighborhood on Wednesday night, killing seven people and injuring at least 17 more. More Russian-launched missiles struck the city early Thursday morning, killing two more people. According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, its forces are targeting foreign fighters.