For days there has been fierce fighting around Europe's largest nuclear power plant. Ukrainian and Russian troops accuse each other of provoking a nuclear catastrophe. Now the Russians are proposing to keep the guns silent. But they don't want to clear the area.
After repeated shelling of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, the Russian occupiers propose a ceasefire in the contested area. "The leadership of the United Nations and the chief diplomat of the EU should not be talking about demilitarization, but about introducing a ceasefire," Vladimir Rogov, a representative of the Russian occupation authorities, told Russia's state-run Ria Novosti news agency.
For days, Russia has held the Ukrainian side responsible for the attacks on the nuclear power plant in the city of Enerhodar - which in turn blamed the Russians. UN Secretary-General António Guterres last week warned of a nuclear catastrophe and called for the area to be demilitarized. On Sunday, 42 states and the EU demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Russian occupying forces from the area around Europe's largest nuclear power plant.
"The stationing of Russian military personnel and weapons at the nuclear facility is unacceptable," the statement said. Russia is violating the safety principles to which all member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have committed. The US, UK, Norway, Australia and Japan also signed the notice.
Meanwhile, fighting in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine continues unabated. Russian advances around the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar had been fended off, the Ukrainian general staff said. Attacks north of the city of Slowjansk and near Wuhledar were also repulsed. North of the city of Donetsk, Russian attacks on the villages of Pisky and Pervomaiske failed. The Russians also fired artillery at positions of the Ukrainian army along the entire front. In addition, the Russian Air Force had flown a good half a dozen airstrikes.
Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov also reported airstrikes on the Kherson regions in the south and Donetsk regions in the east, killing more than 420 Ukrainian soldiers. According to Russian information, more than 100 "foreign mercenaries" have been killed and more than 50 injured in the Kharkiv region in the past 24 hours - including Germans and Poles, Konashenkov said. The statements made by both sides on the war that has been going on for almost six months often cannot be independently verified.