Mon. 9:51 a.m.: Zelenskyy meets with UN atomic agency chief in Ukraine
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.N. atomic energy chief Rafael Mariano Grossi in southern Ukraine today.
The two discussed the precarious situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which has lost several of its power transmission cables during the conflict and on multiple occasions has had to switch to emergency diesel generators.
Grossi, who is director-general of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, plans to visit the plant, which is held by Russian forces, this week.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two people were killed and 29 wounded today when Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, in the partially occupied eastern Donetsk region, local officials said.
Video footage of the aftermath showed damaged residential buildings, debris in the streets and vehicles on fire.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the attack as “terrorism.”
Russia has denied targeting residential areas even though artillery and rocket strikes have hit Ukrainian apartment buildings and civilian infrastructure daily during the war.
The Sloviansk attack followed a typical pattern of long-range shelling adopted by the Kremlin’s forces, especially in recent months as the fighting became deadlocked during the bitterly cold winter months.
In the eastern Donetsk region, some 10 cities and villages were shelled by Russian forces over the previous 24 hours, Ukraine’s presidential office reported today.
This morning, Russian missiles hit the city of Avdiivka, damaging residential buildings, a hotel and a courthouse, it said.
Avdiivka Mayor Vitali Barabash said utility companies are being evacuated from the frontline city, as it “resembles more and more a landscape from post-apocalyptic movies.”
Attacks also intensified in the partially occupied southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, where 14 settlements on the front line were shelled, authorities said.
In the partially occupied Kherson region, the Ukrainian-controlled part of the province was shelled 20 times by the Russian artillery and aviation, wounding four people, the presidential office said.
The mayor of the occupied city of Melitopol said several explosions shook the city today, damaging a building where Russian security forces have been quartered.
Mayor Ivan Fyodorov posted photos of smoke billowing over the area where the Russian barracks are located.
The Russian-installed authorities said “artillery shelling” of Melitopol partially destroyed a vocational school building, damaged several other buildings and wounded four people.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy met in Kyiv with British actor Orlando Bloom, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak said today.
Bloom, who is also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, arrived in the Ukrainian capital over the weekend and visited its suburb of Irpin.
During his meeting with Zelenskyy, Bloom said “he was struck by the courage and resilience of Ukrainians, who despite the war remain strong,” Yermak wrote.
Bloom “will support projects to provide humanitarian assistance and restore infrastructure, focused on ensuring the interests of Ukrainian children,” the official said.