Shelling hits power lines at Ukraine nuclear plant, both sides trade blame

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KYIV (REUTERS) - Shelling hit a high-voltage power line on Friday (Aug 5) at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant captured by Russia, but Ukrainian authorities said the plant still worked and no radioactive leak had been detected.

Ukraine's state nuclear power company Energoatom blamed Russian shelling for the damage at the Zaporizhzhia power station, Europe's largest.

Earlier, the Russian-installed administration of the occupied Ukrainian city of Enerhodar said Ukrainian shells struck the lines at the plant, in the country's southeast The Interfax news agency cited the city administration as saying fire had broken out on the plant's premises, and that power necessary for the safe functioning of reactors had been cut off.

The plant was captured by Russian forces in early March in the opening stage of the war.

Energoatom said the plant - located about 200km north-west of the Russian-held port of Mariupol - still worked and no radioactive discharges had been detected.

Further east, both sides claimed small advances while Russian artillery bombarded towns and villages across a wide area in a now-familiar tactic.

Fighting on the ground appeared to be most intense around Pisky in Donetsk region, a fortified village held by Ukrainian troops and close to Donetsk city, which is in the hands of Russian-backed separatist forces.

The Russians also have the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka in their sights as they try to gain full control of the eastern Donbas area, Ukraine's industrial heartland.

Grain trade resumes

In other developments, three grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday and the first inbound cargo vessel since the Russian invasion was due in Ukraine to load, marking further steps in the Kyiv government's efforts to resuscitate its economy after five months of war.

Russian President Vladmir Putin meanwhile was meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is cultivating a role as a mediator in the war, in the Russian city of Sochi.

"The international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Russia," said Fahrettin Altun, a top aide to Erdogan.

Turkey helped negotiate the agreement that on Monday saw the first grain ship leave a Ukrainian port for foreign markets since the Russian invasion on Feb 24.

On Friday, two grain ships set off from Chornomorsk and one from Odesa carrying a total of about 58,000 tonnes of corn, the Turkish ...

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