US says Russia using ‘Nuclear Shield’ in Ukraine

Aug 2, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, the US said Russia was using Ukraine’s biggest nuclear power plant as a “nuclear shield” by stationing troops there, preventing Ukrainian forces from returning fire and risking a terrible nuclear accident.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply concerned” that the Zaporizhzhia plant, which Russia was accused of firing shells dangerously close to in March, was now a Russian military base used to fire on nearby Ukrainian forces.

Russia’s actions went beyond using a “human shield” Blinken said, calling it a “nuclear shield.”

At the New York talks, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mykola Tochytskyi said “robust joint actions are needed to prevent nuclear disaster” and called for the international community to “close the sky” over Ukraine’s nuclear power plants with air defence systems.

Meanwhile, the first ship to carry Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea since Russia invaded Ukraine five months ago left the port of Odesa for Lebanon on Monday under a safe passage deal.

The sailing was made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertiliser export agreement between Russia and Ukraine last month – a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a conflict that has become a drawn-out war of attrition.

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni will head to the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, after transiting Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait linking the Black Sea, which is dominated by Russia’s navy, to the Mediterranean. It is carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn.

Moscow called the Razoni’s departure “very positive” news, but it has denied responsibility for the food crisis, saying Western sanctions have slowed its exports and accusing Ukraine of laying underwater mines at entrance of its ports.

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