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Fighting Under Way In Eastern Ukraine As Kyiv, Moscow Trade Blame On Shelling At Nuclear Power Plant.

A soldier with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar on August 4.

A soldier with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar on August 4.

Russian forces have launched an offensive on Bakhmut and several other cities in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk, where heavy fighting has been going on for weeks, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported on August 6, as Kyiv and Moscow traded blame for the shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

The General Staff said in its morning report that that the Russian attacks were successfully repulsed in Yakovlivka, Vershyn, Kodem, and Zaitseve.

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The reports could not be independently verified.

Ukraine's southern frontline city of Mykolayiv has imposed an unusually long curfew from late on August 5 until early on August 8, Vitaliy Kim, the head of the regional military administration, announced on Telegram. Kim said the measure is meant to allow authorities to identify and detain people collaborating with Russia.

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia must take responsibility for an "act of terror" after Kyiv and Moscow traded blame for strikes at Zaporizhzhya -- Ukraine's and Europe's largest nuclear plant.

The plant, located about 200 kilometers northwest of the Russian-held port of Mariupol, has been under Russian supervision since Moscow's troops seized it early in the war.

"Today, the occupiers have created another extremely risky situation for all of Europe: they struck the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant twice. Any bombing of this site is a shameless crime, an act of terror," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

"Russia must take responsibility for the very fact of creating a threat to a nuclear plant," he said .

The world's response should be harsh sanctions against the entire Russian nuclear industry from Rosatom to all related companies and individuals, he added.

Ukrainian officials said earlier that a high-voltage power line at Zaporizhzhya had been hit by Russian shelling, but the plant was still operating and no radioactive discharges had been detected.

One reactor had been disconnected from the network because of damage to the high-voltage power line, an official said.

The statement came shortly after the Russian-installed administration of the occupied Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, where the plant is located, blamed the damage to the power lines on a Ukrainian artillery strike.

The Russian Defense Ministry also accused the Ukrainian Army of striking the power plant.

"Ukrainian armed units carried out three artillery strikes on the territory of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the city of Enerhodar," the ministry said in a statement.

As a result of the strikes, a hydrogen pipeline was damaged, leading to a fire, the ministry said, adding that the blaze was quickly put out.

It claimed that a leak of radiation had been avoided only by luck and said the generating capacity of one unit had been reduced and power supply to another had been cut.

In addition, the city of Enerhodar had problems with power and water supplies, the ministry statement said.

The statement said Zelenskiy's government was committing acts of "nuclear terrorism" and urged international organizations to condemn the actions.

Valentyn Reznichenko, the regional governor in Dnipropetrovsk, said that the day before Russian forces had shelled a city across the Dnieper River from the plant.

Military experts quoted in U.S. media reports say they believe Russia was shelling the area intentionally, knowing that Ukrainian forces cannot risk returning fire because it could damage the reactors or disturb nuclear waste sites.

The shelling has already caused concern at the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on August 3 that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous,” Grossi said.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on August 5 that Russia's intentions toward the nuclear plant remain unclear.

However, the bulletin noted, the actions that the Russians have undertaken at the facility have "likely undermined the security and safety of the plant’s normal operations."

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, AFP, and AP

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