G7 condemns Russia's kidnapping of nuclear plant leadership
By Stefan J. Bos
The G7 fears Russia undermines the safety of Europe's largest nuclear power plant after its leadership disappeared.
In published remarks, the G7's Nonproliferation Directors General group said they "condemn Russia's repeated kidnapping of the [Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant] ZNPP leadership and staff."
It added that they urge Russia "to immediately return full control of the" plant to what the G7 called "its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine."
Russian forces have been in control of the nuclear plant since the early days of their invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24th.
There has also been concern about fighting around the plant and Russian missile and drone strikes on critical infrastructures.
In addition, footage has emerged of a Ukrainian uniform-wearing violinist performing for people gathered in a shelter in the western city of Rivne amid ongoing blackouts and water shortages following Russian strikes.
The video by the Ukrainian defense ministry shows dozens of people, including one or more children sitting nearby. Several are holding up torches as the man plays.
Other regions are also facing similar challenges. For instance, Kyiv's energy grid operator announced a series of "stabilization" power cuts following Russian strikes this weekend.
It said households in the capital with a pre-war population of nearly 3 million are divided into three groups that will be "disconnected for a certain period of time."
The energy operator added that the blackouts should last "no more than four hours" but may be longer "due to the scale of damage to the power supply system."
It underscored broader concerns in a nation where more than a million households were left without electricity after strikes on energy facilities across Ukraine ahead of winter.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has now urged residents to be mindful of their energy use and to limit their use of appliances that require a lot of power.
Russia is also suffering setbacks on the battlefields and closer to home.
In the latest known incident, the regional governor acknowledged that a Russian fighter plane crashed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. Igor Kobzev said the aircraft hit a two-story house and that its two pilots had both been killed. However, he added that there had been no other casualties.
Footage included in the post showed emergency workers moving among the wreckage and working to put out fires at the site.
It is the second such incident in six days. Last Monday, at least 15 people were killed after a fighter plane hit an apartment block near the Ukrainian border in the southern city of Yeysk.
The crashes and other reported issues with military equipment have raised questions among defense experts about the preparedness of Russia's army for the war in Ukraine.
But with fighting continuing in Ukraine, the human suffering seems far from over.
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