Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Tuesday that he told French President Emmanuel Macron about “dangerous provocations” at the Russian-held Zaporizhzia nuclear plant.
In parrallel, Russian state news agencies quoted an advisor to the country’s nuclear network operator as claiming Ukraine was planning an attack on the pivotal facility.
Russian shelling claimed further lives on Ukrainian grounds on Tuesday, with more dead now reported in Sumy and Kherson.
Ukraine’s military also claimed on Telegram that it had destroyed a Russian unit in Moscow-controlled Makiivka, although Russian-installed representatives in the region alleged that civilians had been hit in the attack.
No increased military presence at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, IAEA says
The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that there were no reports of increased military presence at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement that the team of IAEA representatives at the plant had not reported recent shelling or explosions, nor additional Russian forces at the site.
“The IAEA experts have requested additional access that is necessary to confirm the absence of mines or explosives at the site,” wrote Grossi in a statement. “In particular, access to the rooftops of reactor units 3 and 4 is essential, as well as access to areas of the turbine halls and some parts of the cooling system at the plant,” he added.
Grossi’s comments come as Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of preparing for an attack on the nuclear power plant facility, which is Europe’s largest.
China’s Xi warns Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine
Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Moscow in March warned Vladimir Putin against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, citing western and Chinese officials.
Chinese officials have privately taken credit for the Kremlin backing away from veiled threats of nuclear force expressed earlier in the conflict, the sources said.
Andriy Yermak, a top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said China’s reported opposition to Russia’s threats of nuclear force is “an important position.”
Posting on Telegram, the head of the president’s office shared a screengrab of the Financial Times article reporting that Chinese President Xi Jinping, during a visit to Moscow in March, personally warned Russian
President Vladimir Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Ukraine claims destruction of Russian unit; Moscow alleges civilian casualties
Ukraine’s military claimed late on Tuesday to have destroyed a Russian unit in Makiivka, a Moscow-held territory in the Donetsk region.
“As a result of precision firing by Defense Forces units, another formation of Russian terrorists in the temporarily occupied Makiivka ceased to exist,” the strategic communications office for Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Telegram, alongside a video of apparent explosions in the distance.
The Russian-installed head of the region, Denis Pushilin, claimed on Telegram that the Ukrainian shelling had resulted in civilian casualties.
“Late in the evening, the enemy launched fierce attacks on residential areas and the hospital complex of the Chervonogvardeisky district of Makeevka. The blast wave was felt by the majority of residents of Makeevka and Donetsk,” Pushilin said.
“At the moment, 25 victims are known, including two children wounded: a girl 2 years 9 months old, and a 7-year-old boy.”
Neither claim could be independently verified. Since the start of the Russian invasion, both sides have accused one another of targeting civilians and denied doing so themselves.
At least 31 wounded, including nine children, in Russian shelling on Ukraine
At least 31 people, including nine children, were wounded in Russian shelling on the small town of Pervomaiskyi in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, officials said Tuesday.
The windows of multi-story buildings were smashed and cars were set alight in the shelling which occurred at 1:35 p.m. Kyiv time, Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov wrote on Telegram.
Voice recording said to be of Wagner’s Prigozhin surfaces
Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to have resurfaced on social media after being exiled to Belarus since his failed insurrection 11 days ago.
A voice recording said to be of Prigozhin was posted on the Grey Zone Telegram page, an account supportive of Russian mercenaries, with more than 500,000 subscribers.
“Today, more than ever, we need your support. Thank you for that,” the voice said.
“I want you to understand that our ‘March of Justice’ was aimed at fighting traitors and mobilizing our society. And I think we have achieved a lot of it,” it added.
“In the near future, I am sure that you will see our next victories at the front. Thanks guys!”
The mercenary leader has not been seen in public since the uprising 11 days ago.
Reports: ‘Exiled’ Wagner Boss Returns to Russia and Gets His Weapons Back
Yevgeny Prigozhin, who got off unscathed after staging an armed uprising against the country’s military leadership, is claimed to have returned to St. Petersburg to collect an arsenal of weapons confiscated from him by the security services.
Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin was spotted Tuesday arriving at an FSB office in St. Petersburg along with his security team, local news outlet Fontanka reports. He had reportedly been invited to collect several weapons seized by security services in the wake of his attempted insurrection last month.
Authorities handed over two Saiga rifles, a Mannlicher rifle, and several other firearms, according to Fontanka. The lot reportedly also included a Glock pistol gifted to the mercenary boss by none other than Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whom Prigozhin had allegedly hoped to capture in his armed uprising and march on Rostov.
Prigozhin was also reportedly given back 10 billion rubles (more than $100 million) that law enforcement had found during a raid on one of his vehicles.
The news comes after Prigozhin released a new audio message earlier this week promising new “victories on the frontline” even as the Kremlin insists he and Wagner have been banished to Belarus.