NIKOPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which reaches half a year this week, has already killed some 9,000 Ukrainian troops, a general said, and Monday’s fighting showed no signs slowdown in the war.
At a veterans’ event, Ukraine’s military leader, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said Ukrainian children needed to be cared for because “their father went to the front and, perhaps, is one of those almost 9,000 heroes who died”.
In Nikopol, across the river from Ukraine’s main nuclear power plant, Russian shelling injured four people on Monday, an official said. The city on the Dnieper River has faced relentless shelling since July 12 that has damaged some 850 buildings and driven about half of its population of 100,000.
The UN says 5,587 civilians were killed and 7,890 injured in the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, although the estimate is likely conservative.
“I feel hatred towards Russians,” said Liudmyla Shyshkina, 74, standing on the edge of her destroyed fourth-floor apartment in Nikopol that has no walls left. She is still injured by the August 10 explosion that instantly killed her 81-year-old husband, Anatoliy.
“The Second World War did not take my father, but the Russian world did,” noted Pavlo Shyshkin, his son.
US President Joe Biden and leaders of Britain, France and Germany had pleaded on Sunday for Russia to end all military operations so close to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe – but Nikopol came under fire of rockets and mortar shells three times during the night. Homes, a kindergarten, a bus station and shops were hit, authorities said.
Many people fear that continued bombing and fighting in the region could lead to a nuclear disaster. Russia on Tuesday called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Russian-installed administration in the Zaporizhzhia region, said on Monday that due to the bombings the staff of the nuclear power plant had been reduced, leaving only skeletal personnel to maintain its operation. functioning.
Monday’s announcement of the scale of Ukrainian military deaths contrasts with the Russian military, which provided an update on March 25 by saying 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed in the first month of fighting. US military officials estimated two weeks ago that Russia had lost between 70,000 and 80,000 troops, killed and wounded in action.
On Monday, however, Moscow turned its attention to one civilian death in particular.
Russia accuses Ukrainian spy agencies for the car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow over the weekend that killed the daughter of a far-right Russian nationalist and ardent supporter of the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s Federal Security Service, the main successor to the KGB, said on Monday that the murder was “planned and carried out by Ukrainian special services”. He blamed the bombing that killed 29-year-old TV commentator Darya Dugina, whose father, political theorist Alexander Dugin, is often referred to as ‘Putin’s mastermind’, of being carried out by a Ukrainian citizen who later left Russia for Estonia.
Ukrainian officials have vehemently denied any involvement in the car bombing.
On the front line, the Ukrainian military said it carried out a strike on a key bridge over the Dnieper in the Russian-occupied Kherson region. Local officials based in Russia said he killed two people on Monday and injured 16 others.
Photos posted on social media showed thick plumes of smoke rising above the Antonivskiy Bridge, which has been a key supply route for the Russian military in Kherson.
In the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, anxiety has spread following a series of fires and explosions at Russian facilities over the past two weeks. The Russian-backed Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, ordered signs indicating the location of bomb shelters to be placed in the city, which had long seemed untouchable.
Sevastopol, the Crimean port that is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, has seen a series of drone attacks. A drone exploded at fleet headquarters on July 31 and another was shot down last week. Authorities said air defense systems also shot down other drones.
Razvozhaev said on Telegram that the town is well protected but “it is better to know where the shelters are”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not directly mention the war during a speech marking National Flag Day on Monday, but echoed some of the justifications cited for the invasion.
“We are determined to pursue on the international stage only those policies that meet the fundamental interests of the motherland,” Putin said. He argues that Russia sent troops to Ukraine to protect it against invasion from the West.
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine