Ukraine update: Zelenskyy rages over ‘extent of negligence’

The Ukraine update: what happened last night

Bunker dispute with Klitschko – Selenskyj rages about “extent of negligence”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again complained about problems with the bomb shelters in the capital in view of the constant Russian rocket and drone attacks on Kiev. Citizens complained that there were too few bunkers and that some were locked, Zelenskyj criticized in his evening video message on Friday. In some parts of the city there are no emergency shelters. In the past few nights, air alerts have been repeatedly triggered in Ukraine.

“This level of negligence in the city cannot be covered by any justifications,” said Zelenskyy. He instructed the government to take action to improve the situation. After everything that happened before in Kiev, this state of affairs is intolerable. On Thursday, some people in the capital had stood in front of a locked bunker during the night air raid, three of them died as a result of the Russian attacks, including a nine-year-old child.

According to the “Bild” newspaper, observers see this primarily as criticism of Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko. He counters, saying, according to the newspaper, that he did not appoint the responsible military official – but Zelenskyj’s presidential office. “Today I emphasized to the district managers that I will not tolerate any sabotage,” Klitschko continued.

Wagner boss: 99 percent of troops withdrawn from Bachmut

The Russian private army Wagner has almost completed its announced withdrawal from the captured eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to its chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin announced on Friday evening that 99 percent of the units had left the city. “All positions have been handed over to the (Russian) Ministry of Defense in the appropriate order.” There have also been no more “provocations” by the Ukrainian armed forces, said Prigozhin.

At the same time he accused the Russian Ministry of Defense of having mined the retreat route used by the Wagner troops. That was a “surprise”. The Wagner boss has repeatedly accused the ministry in Moscow of actually sabotaging the work of the private army. As a rule, however, the ministry ignores Prigozhin’s accusations.

For months, Bachmut fought bitterly and with heavy losses. In the battle for the now completely destroyed city, which once had 70,000 inhabitants, fierce power struggles within the Russian military leadership have also come to light in recent weeks. Prigozhin repeatedly accused Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of not providing his Wagner fighters with sufficient ammunition.

Russian authorities report deaths in Belgorod border region after shelling

In the Russian border region of Belgorod, two people were killed and six others injured in massive shelling from the Ukrainian side, according to the authorities. Heavy projectiles fell on private property in a village near the border town of Valuiki, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Friday evening. Two children were among the injured. He also published a photo of a burning property. Gladkow spoke of an unsafe situation in the region due to the shelling that had been going on for days. The statements made by both warring parties can generally hardly be verified.

The border town of Schebekino, from which many people fled, was particularly hard hit by the artillery fire. It is still not safe to return there, said Gladkow. The region has been under heavy fire, especially since Monday last week. The Russian Ministry of Defense had announced that more than 120 Ukrainian “terrorists” and “saboteurs” had already been “destroyed” there. Ukraine has denied direct responsibility for the attacks. Russia has been attacking the neighboring country from Belgorod for more than 15 months.

Drone attacks and explosions had previously also been reported from the Kursk, Bryansk and Smolensk regions. The increased attacks on Russian territory could serve to prepare for the long-awaited Ukrainian offensive. According to military experts, the attacks could result in the Russian armed forces being forced to withdraw soldiers from Ukraine to ensure security in their own country.

IAEA: Zaporizhia nuclear plant has been without an emergency power line for three months

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues to complain about the unsafe situation around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which is occupied by Russia. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe has now been without an external emergency power supply for three months. This makes the nuclear power plant extremely vulnerable in the event that the only functioning main power line fails again, according to a statement from the authority on Friday. The Vienna-based IAEA is concerned that a failure in cooling systems could lead to overheating of fuel rods and nuclear waste, leading to a nuclear catastrophe.

The statement went on to say that last week the IAEA team on the ground reported hearing two landmine explosions right in front of the nuclear power plant site. This once again illustrates the tense situation in the region, where there is intense speculation about impending military action. There have long been speculations about a Ukrainian counter-offensive in southern Ukraine, which also envisages recapturing the nuclear power plant.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi announced that he would soon be visiting the nuclear power plant himself. “It is important to assess developments since my last visit at the end of March,” said Grossi.

What will be important on Saturday

In the Russian region of Belgorod, security forces continue to fight against the heavy attacks from the Ukrainian side. Fighting between troops from Moscow and Kiev continues in eastern Ukraine.

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