At least 7 killed in Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian official says

2 months ago
17 min ago

At least 7 people killed in Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Mohammed Tawfeeq

Ukrainian firefighters stand on rubble after a strike in Zaporizhzhia on October 6. Ukrainian firefighters stand on rubble after a strike in Zaporizhzhia on October 6. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

At least seven people were killed when several missiles hit the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Thursday, according to a Ukrainian official.

Oleksandr Starukh, the head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, shared the update in a post on Telegram.

Starukh warned the death toll could increase, as five people are still missing. He also said at least 21 people have been rescued and that crews are still working to find others.

Ukrainian officials accused Russia of intentionally targeting civilians.

“There are neither military nor important objects near the hit site, only civilian buildings, and apartment buildings,” Starukh said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at least seven Russian missiles “hit people sleeping peacefully at their homes.”

“More have struck during the day. Russians keep deliberately striking civilians to sow fear. Russian terror must be stopped — by force of weapons, sanctions, and full isolation,” Kuleba continued.

Some context: Zaporizhzhia is a major city in southern Ukraine, not far from the frontline, and the site of a nuclear power plant that the international community is watching warily.

Part of the wider region is occupied by Russian forces. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed measures this week to annex four Ukrainian regions, including Zaporizhzhia, in violation of international law.

18 min ago

Europe's largest nuclear plant, run by Ukrainian technicians, sits in Zaporizhzhia, newly annexed by Russia. Here's what you need to know

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova, Olga Voitovych and Joshua Berlinger

A general view of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on September 11. A general view of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on September 11. (AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree that puts the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine under involuntary Russian state control — and amends the country’s constitution by admitting new regions into the Russian Federation.

The annexation of Zaporizhzhia and three other regions is illegal under international law and has been widely condemned by the international community.

Despite international opposition to the move, Putin also instructed the cabinet to determine how to regulate and operate the Zaporizhzhia plant — which has been under forcible Russian military control since March — through 2028.

Just as Putin was signing the decree, the Ukrainian state nuclear operator, Energoatom, said its president would assume the duties of the plant’s director general. 

Petro Kotin, Energoatom president, said in a video address to the employees of the plant: “In accordance with the current legislation, approval and regulatory documents, I have decided to take up the duties of the director general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.”

He said the administration of the plant would be transferred directly to Kyiv following the detention by Russian officials of the plant’s general director, Ihor Murashov. On Tuesday, the IAEA said that Murashov will not continue his duties at the nuclear power plant following his release from Russian detention.

Kotin also noted that operational issues at the plant would be resolved by the technical staff by agreement with the central office of the company.

IAEA Intervention: The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, was in Kyiv on Thursday to discuss his calls to establish a nuclear safety zone around the plant “as soon as possible,” the IAEA said in a statement. Grossi will also visit Russia in the coming days. 

Grossi said at a news conference that it’s still unclear what the “practical consequences” were of Russia’s decision to seize the plant, but he would be discussing those matters in high-level meetings in Moscow. He also said that the IAEA considers the facility Ukrainian.

“We want this war to stop. The war should stop immediately. The position of the IAEA is that this facility is a Ukrainian facility, but I don’t get into comments about military developments,” Grossi said. 

“For us, it is obvious that since this is a Ukrainian facility, the ownership (sic) is on Energatom,” Grossi said, referring to the Ukrainian state nuclear agency. “We are an international agency, and we are guided by international law. And as you all know very well, annexations are not accepted under international law.”

Some context: The Zaporizhzhia plant has been subject to intense scrutiny since its occupation shortly after Russia’s invasion in late February. Intense Russian shelling near the facility this summer sparked concerns of a nuclear accident, prompting the International Atomic Energy Agency to send a team there.

The nuclear plant, with six reactors, is the largest in Europe. It continues to be run by Ukrainian technicians, but the forcible annexation of Zaporizhzhia means that according to Russian law it is now on Russian territory. 

Deadly Russian strikes in Zaporizhzhia as Putin moves to take full control of nearby nuclear plant | CNN

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