Nikopol: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which hits the half-year mark this week, has already killed some 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers, a general said, and the fighting Monday showed no signs that the war is abating.
At a veteran’s event, Ukraine’s military chief, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said Ukraine’s children need to be taken care of because “their father went to the front line and, perhaps, is one of those almost 9,000 heroes who died.”
In Nikopol, across the river from Ukraine’s main nuclear power plant, Russian shelling wounded four people Monday, an official said.
The city on the Dnieper River has faced relentless pounding since July 12 that has damaged some 850 buildings and sent about half its population of 100,000 fleeing.
The U.N. Says 5,587 civilians have been killed and 7,890 injured in the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24, although the estimate is likely conservative.
“I feel hate towards Russians,” said 74-year-old Liudmyla Shyshkina, standing on the edge of her destroyed fourth-floor apartment in Nikopol that no longer has walls.
She is still injured from the Aug. 10 blast that killed her 81-year-old husband, Anatoliy, on the spot.
“The Second World War didn’t take away my father, but the Russian world did,” noted Pavlo Shyshkin, his son.
U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of Britain, France and Germany had pleaded Sunday for Russia to end any military operation so close to to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant — Europe’s largest — but Nikopol came under fire three times overnight from rockets and mortar shells.
Houses, a kindergarten, a bus station and stores were hit, authorities said.
There are widespread fears that continued shelling and fighting in the area could lead to a nuclear catastrophe.
Russia has asked for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to discuss the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Russia-installed administration of the Zaporizhzhia region, said Monday that because of the shelling, staffing at the nuclear plant has been cut, with only skeletal personnel remaining to maintain its operation.
Monday’s announcement of the scope of Ukraine’s military dead stands in contrast to Russia’s military, which last gave an update on March 25 when it said 1,351 Russian troops were killed during the first month of fighting. U.S. Military officials estimated two weeks ago that Russia has lost between 70,000 to 80,000 soldiers, both killed and wounded in action.
On Monday though, Moscow turned its attention to one civilian death specifically.
Russia blamed Ukrainian spy agencies for the car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow over the weekend that killed the daughter of a far-right Russian nationalist and ardent supporter of the invasion of Ukraine. AP