KYIV -Ukraine is targeting Russian soldiers who shoot at an occupied nuclear plant in the south of the country or use it as a base to shoot from, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday.
Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over multiple recent incidents of shelling at the Zaporizhzhia facility, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Russian troops captured the station early in the war.
“Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army,” Zelenskiy said in an evening address.
Zelenskiy, who did not give any details, repeated accusations that Russia was using the plant as nuclear blackmail.
The G7 group of nations have called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the power station.
Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency earlier warned of fresh Russian “provocations” around the plant while the exiled mayor of the town where the plant is located said it had come under fresh Russian shelling.
But local Russian-installed official Vladimir Rogov wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces were shelling the plant.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak accused Russia of “hitting the part of the nuclear power plant where the energy that powers the south of Ukraine is generated.”
“The goal is to disconnect us from the (plant) and blame the Ukrainian army for this,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
The defence intelligence agency said Russian troops had parking a Pion self-propelled howitzer outside the nearby town and put a Ukrainian flag on it.
The agency also said that Thursday’s strikes on the territory of the plant, which Ukraine says damaged water-pumping infrastructure and a fire station, had been conducted from the Russian-controlled village of Vodiane, about seven kilometres (4.35 miles) east of the plant.
(Reporting by Max Hunder and David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Sandra Maler)