Ukraine attacks a Russian arms depot ahead of talks with Turkey and the United Nations

Ukraine attacks a Russian arms depot ahead of talks with Turkey and the United Nations

ODESSA, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces said they hit an arms depot in Russian-held Kherson amid expectations for Turkey and the United Nations leaders to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over food shipments from Ukraine and the increasingly tense situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant would discuss .

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The Southern Command of Ukraine’s military said Thursday it had attacked an ammunition depot in the village of Bilohirka near the front line of fighting in the Kherson region. The missile strike is the latest in a series of attacks targeting logistics in the Russian-held south – part of a strategy to starve Russian troops in the region of supplies and force them to withdraw from the area they are west of of the Dnieper keep flow.

A day earlier, the Ukrainian military posted a video on social media that appeared to show the aftermath of a long-range missile attack on Nova Kakhovka, also in the Kherson region. And on Tuesday, pro-Ukrainian saboteurs destroyed an ammunition depot in Crimea that Russia seized in 2014. A video on social media on Thursday also showed large explosions overnight in Russian-held Amvrosiivka in the eastern Donetsk region; Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on the cause.

The heads of state and government of the United Nations and Turkey met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in western Ukraine on Thursday. The group discussed food deliveries and the rising tensions at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Photo: Handout/AFP/Getty Images

As Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory intensify, Russian forces attempt to crack down on pro-Ukrainian insurgents. A veteran of the Ukrainian army was arrested in the Kherson region on suspicion of sending Russian troop locations and bases to Ukrainian forces, state Russian news agencies reported on Thursday. In addition, Russia’s FSB intelligence agency said on Wednesday it had detained six Russian citizens in Crimea who belonged to a cell that was spreading a so-called terrorist ideology with the support of Ukrainian emissaries, according to Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General António Guterres were in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Thursday to meet over the deal that helped Ankara mediate with the UN to lift a Russian naval blockade on Ukrainian exports that are being exported had led to food shortages throughout the Middle East and Africa. Four more ships loaded with agricultural products left Ukrainian ports on Wednesday as part of the deal, Turkish officials said.

Mr. Guterres was also expected to discuss the standoff at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant with Mr. Zelensky. Explosions in and around the power plant occupied by Russian forces have knocked a reactor offline, injuring at least one worker at the plant and raising fears of another nuclear disaster like the 1986 meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine.

Ukraine attacks a Russian arms depot ahead of talks with

Unidentified civilians exhumed from a mass grave after the Russian occupation of Bucha near Kyiv were reburied on Wednesday.

Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

“Just absolute transparency and controlled situation at and around [the plant] can guarantee a gradual return to normal nuclear safety for the Ukrainian state, the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr Zelensky said in an address posted online late Wednesday evening. “The Russian army must withdraw from the territory of the nuclear power plant and all adjacent areas and remove its military equipment from the power plant.”

Russia has said it would allow IAEA inspectors access – but only if they come through Russian-controlled territory and not Kyiv, a plan Ukraine opposes.

The Russian Defense Ministry also claimed on Thursday that Ukraine was planning a false flag provocation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant on Friday to attack the occupiers. Major General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, presented no evidence to support this claim. The Russian-appointed head of the occupied Zaporizhia, meanwhile, said a plan was in place to evacuate residents in the event of an attack on the plant. Kyiv did not immediately respond to the allegation.

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Rescuers preparing for a possible nuclear disaster in Zaporizhia attended a presentation on Wednesday, which was observed by Ukrainian officials.

Photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz/MAPS for The Wall Street Journal

The Russian Defense Ministry also said on Thursday that Moscow would consider shutting down the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant if the situation around the plant continues to deteriorate.

The Ukrainian government, international nuclear regulators and the plant’s employees have accused Russia of stealing Zaporizhia’s power by cutting off its connection to Ukraine’s remaining territory.

In Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, a Russian missile struck an apartment building in the Saltivka district on Wednesday evening, killing seven people and injuring at least 17 others, according to the city’s mayor. More rockets fired by Russia hit the city early Thursday morning, killing two more people. Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces are targeting foreign fighters.

The Defense Ministry said Thursday it had deployed three MiG-31 fighter jets armed with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, a piece of Russia wedged between NATO members Lithuania and Poland, according to Russian state news agencies. Such missiles, when fired from jets, have a longer range than the ground-based ones already deployed in Kaliningrad.

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Ukrainian fighters are taking part in a military exercise on their country’s southern coast.

Photo: Oleksandr Gimanov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

write to Ian Lovett at [email protected] and Evan Gershkovich at [email protected]

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