On March 4, the nuclear power plant was hit by rockets and tank fire from Russian forces struggling to reduce the Ukrainian army defending the infrastructure.
Russian authorities plan to have consumers in Ukraine pay for electricity produced by Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe and held by Russian troops since early March. If not, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Jusnullín warned on Thursday that the nuclear power plant will be disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid to channel the liquid to Russia.
During an “inspection” trip to Melitopol, a city in southeastern Ukraine currently occupied by the Russian military, Jusnullín told the press that “Russia is willing to sell electricity from the Zaporizhzhya plant to Ukraine”. “If Ukraine is willing to accept and pay, it will work for them. But if they don’t accept it, it will work for Russia,” the Russian deputy prime minister said, noting once again that Moscow has plans to stay and annex the occupied territories of Ukraine. Not only the Crimea and Donbass, but also the Kherson region and part of Zaporizhzhya.
The senior Russian official assured that the nuclear power plant, which is located in the city of Energodar, near Melitopol, “will continue to function and all jobs will be saved”, now in the hands of Ukrainian staff and urged locals to «to work as a family with Russia (…) that’s why I came, to provide the maximum help and opportunities for integration» in Russia.
According to Ukraine’s Atomic Energy Agency, Energoatom, the Zaporizhia plant will currently continue to supply Ukraine with electricity exclusively from the electricity generated by its six reactors. His spokesman, Leonid Olynyk, replied to Jusnullín on Thursday that “it is not technically possible at the moment to supply Russia with electricity” from Zaporizhzhya. “That takes time and money. It’s like building the Crimean Bridge. And in a month or two we will get everything back and bring it back under Ukrainian control,” Olynyk said.
On March 4, the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant was hit by rockets and tank fire from Russian forces struggling to reduce the Ukrainian army defending its infrastructure. A fire broke out and one of the reactors had to be shut down. The event raised alarms worldwide over fears of a radioactive leak and sparked a UN Security Council meeting.
On the other hand, also in the energy field, also Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak stated this Thursday that about half of the 54 foreign customers serving Gazprom have already paid their gas bills in rubles, as ordered by President Vladimir Putin, on March 31, in retaliation for the sanctions the European Union has imposed on Russia. The mechanism set up by the Russian gas company for its customers requires opening two accounts with Gazprombank, one in foreign currency and the other in rubles, from which the corresponding payment is made.
Moscow also announced the expulsion of more European diplomats this Thursday, after staff at the embassies of Spain, France and Italy declared “persona non grata” the day before. This time it was the turn of Portugal and Slovenia, with respectively five and four members of their diplomatic missions forced to leave Russia. The Portuguese within 14 days and the Slovenians within 10 days.
Meanwhile, separatist forces and Russian units continued on the battlefield on Thursday to bomb the city of Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region, which has been under heavy artillery fire for nearly a week ahead of an attempted attack. A few kilometers away is Lisichansk, also heavily bombed, the other focal point of the Ukrainian resistance in the Lugansk region. Russian attacks left at least 12 dead in Severodonetsk on Thursday, Governor Sergei Gaidai reported via Telegram.
Much further south, in Mariupol, the Azovstal defenders continued to lay down their arms. According to the Russian defense ministry, 1,730 steel mill fighters have surrendered since Monday. Ukrainian General Oleksiy Grómov assured on Thursday that “our heroes are still being evacuated”. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) claims to have registered “hundreds” of prisoners of war seized after leaving Azovstal and has requested access to them. The Ukrainian authorities hope to exchange these soldiers, labeled by Moscow as ‘neo-Nazis’, for Russian prisoners.
Source: La Verdad
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