By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The announcement came as Ukraine’s government reported intense Russian shelling across the frontlines after both sides accused each other of attacking Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. In addition, Moscow suspended a deal allowing U.S. and Russian inspectors to visit each other’s nuclear weapons sites.
Russia’s decision to effectively end the 2010 New Start Treaty, signed over a decade ago, added to more nuclear insecurity worldwide.
Mutual inspections were already halted as a health precaution since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. But Moscow now says it is unwilling to restart them, citing Western sanctions in what critics view as a fresh blow to arms control.
On Tuesday, Russia also helped launch a satellite for Iran, though several countries are accusing Iran’s Islamic leadership of developing a nuclear weapons program.
The tensions came after Ukraine and Russia accused each other of shelling and damaging Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s south-eastern city Zaporizhzhia.
These attacks triggered international warnings of a potential atomic disaster.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky lashed out at advocacy group Amnesty International, which accused Ukrainian forces of setting up bases among civilians, including hospitals and schools. “Even though the Russian shelling of the nuclear power plant is one of the most dangerous crimes against Ukrainians and all Europeans, against the right to life for every human being, for some reason. There is still no report or even a simple message from Amnesty International,” he said.
“It’s a very eloquent silence that points out, once more, the manipulative selectivity of this organization,” the president added.
But his words have done little to ease tensions there and elsewhere in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk. Kyiv said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks.
The self-appointed leader of the Russia-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, confirmed the fighting on the outskirts of Bakhmut and Soledar.
He also said his republic negotiated with autocratic North Korea to help rebuild the occupied territory.
Pushilin also announced an “open tribunal over the war criminals of Ukraine,” with the first to be held in occupied Mariupol.
Though Russia gained ground, the U.S. claims the offensive came at a massive cost, with between 70,000 and 80,000 dead or injured Russian soldiers.
Despite the clashes, two other grain-carrying ships sailed from Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port on Tuesday as part of a deal with Russia to unblock Ukrainian sea exports.
While that brought hope to hungry people, millions continue to flee Ukraine.
The United Nations refugee said that more than 10.5 million people fleeing so far crossed the borders from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24. Many Ukrainians are also internally displaced by the ongoing bloodshed.
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