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Multiple explosions in Russia-annexed Crimea: report | Russo-Ukrainian war news

Multiple explosions reportedly rocked Russia-annexed Crimea, with a pro-Moscow official blaming Kiev for more than a dozen drone strikes on the peninsula.

Sunday’s attack reportedly came as the UN nuclear chief warned of a dangerous situation around the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and Wagner’s paramilitary chief called on Moscow to let Chechen fighters disarm his troops in the front-line city of eastern Ukraine. of Bachmut.

Russian air defenses were repelling the drone attack, with at least three drones shot down over the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, officials and media said.

“no object [in Sevastopol] Destroyed,” Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-appointed governor of Sevastopol, said on the Telegram messaging app.

There have been no details of any damage from attacks elsewhere on the Crimea peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Baza, a Telegram channel with ties to Russian law enforcement, reported earlier Sunday that there were no casualties in a series of attacks in Crimea.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the reports.

Kyiv had no immediate comment.

“Dangerous situation” near Zaporozhye

The attack comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive to retake eastern territories that Russia illegally annexed following its invasion last February.

Attacks on Russian-held targets have intensified over the past two weeks, especially in Crimea, while Moscow, citing intensified Ukrainian shelling, has ordered families with children and the elderly to be removed from occupied Egypt near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. Temporary evacuation of the station in Nejodar.

Russian troops control about 80 percent of the Zaporozhye region.

The evacuation prompted the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, to call for measures to ensure the safe operation of the plant.

“The general situation in the area around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous,” Grossi said in a statement on the IAEA website. Very real nuclear safety and security risks.”

While the plant’s workers are still on site, IAEA experts “received information that evacuations have begun from the town of Ernejodar, where most of the plant’s workers live, and that they are closely monitoring the situation for possible threats to nuclear safety and security. any potential impact,” Grossi added.

Wagner appeal

Meanwhile, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bachmut, the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigorzhin, asked Moscow to let him hand over his post to the forces of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Prigozhin said in a letter to the Minister of Defense: “I request you to issue an operational order by 00:00 on May 10 to transfer the positions of Wagner’s paramilitary forces in and around Bakhmut to the Troops of the Hemet Battalion.” Sergei Shoigu.

The Akhmat battalion refers to combat units under the command of the strongman Kadyrov, who has ruled Russia’s Muslim-majority republic of Chechnya for the past fifteen years.

Wagner fighters led the Battle of Bakhmut, spearheading Russia’s brutal, months-long assault on the city and nearly fighting in the longest and bloodiest battle of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine captured it.

But Prigozhin’s long-simmering relationship with the Russian military reached a boiling point this week.

In a series of harshly worded videos on Friday, Prigoren accused Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov of being responsible for the casualties of “tens of thousands” of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Prigozhin said his fighters would be forced to leave due to lack of ammunition, and blamed the Ministry of Defense.

Kadyrov said in a telegram on Friday that his troops were “ready to march on Bakhmut”. “Soldiers are on alert, we’re just waiting for orders,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military dismissed claims of Prigorzhin’s withdrawal, saying Wagnerian mercenary fighters were strengthening Bakhmut’s positions, possibly intending to mark the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II in Russia on May 9. Capture the destroyed city before victory.

“We now see them pulling [fighters] From the entire offensive line where the Wagner fighters are, they are pulling [them] Going in the direction of Bakhmut,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Malyar said on Ukrainian television.

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