Ukraine: As the G7 countries urged Moscow to withdraw its forces from the plant out of concern for a nuclear meltdown, Ukraine is targeting Russian soldiers who fire at Europe's largest nuclear power plant or use it as a shooting base.
Several shelling incidents at the Zaporizhzhia facility in southern Ukraine have sparked accusations between Ukraine and Russia. Early in the war, Russian forces seized control of the station.
President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in an evening address on Saturday that "every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army."
Zelensky repeated assertions that Russia was using the plant as nuclear blackmail and to "intimidate people in an extremely cynical way," without providing any further details.
A sizable reservoir on the Dnipro river's south bank is completely dominated by the plant, which is situated in the city of Energodar. Ukrainian forces in charge of the towns and cities on the other bank have come under heavy fire from the side held by Russia.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, charged that Russia had "hit the part of the nuclear power plant where the energy that powers the south of Ukraine is generated."
The intention, according to Podolyak on Twitter, "is to cut us off from the [plant] and blame the Ukrainian army for this."
One of the reactors was forced to shut down as a result of the first strikes on August 5, according to Ukraine. An additional pumping station and radiation sensors were hurt by Thursday's strikes.
However, pro-Moscow authorities in Zaporizhzhia's occupied regions attributed the shelling to Ukrainian forces.
Vladimir Rogov, a representative of the administration set up by Moscow, claimed that Zelensky's militants were once more attacking Energydar and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
He did not mention any casualties or property damage, only that the missiles "fell in the areas located on the banks of the Dnipro river and in the plant."
If the fighting doesn't stop, a nuclear disaster could occur, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is attempting to inspect the plant. Fighting, according to nuclear experts, could harm the reactors or the plant's spent fuel pools.
The Zaporizhzhia facility, which is still run by Ukrainian technicians, needs to have a demilitarised zone established around it, according to UN chief Antonio Guterres.
The largest portion of the still-Russian-held territory, Zaporizhzhia and the neighbouring Kherson provinces, were taken by Russia after its invasion on February 24. Kyiv has been announcing for weeks that it is preparing a counteroffensive to retake these areas.
A disaster was also feared as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled for control of Chernobyl, the still-radioactive site of the world's worst nuclear accident.
Moscow-Washington relations have reached a low point as a result of Russia's invasion, which it refers to as a "special military operation" to demilitarise and "denazify" its smaller neighbour. Russia has threatened to sever ties and has warned that it may do so.
The Western allies of Ukraine have been led by the United States in providing it with self-defense weapons and punitive sanctions against Moscow.
A senior Russian official claimed on Friday that Moscow had warned Washington that diplomatic ties would suffer severely and might even be severed if the US Senate passed a law designating Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism."
According to TASS, a senior member of the Russian foreign ministry warned on Saturday that any seizure of Russian assets by the United States would irreparably damage bilateral ties.
According to Alexander Darchiev, head of the ministry's North American Department, "We warn the Americans of the detrimental consequences of such actions that will permanently harm bilateral relations, which is neither in their nor in our interests." Which assets he was referring to was unclear.
US influence over Ukraine, according to Darchiev, has grown to the point where "Americans are increasingly becoming more a direct party in the conflict."
In order to help Ukraine defend its skies from Russian missiles and aircraft, the US and Europe have rejected Ukraine's request to establish a no-fly zone out of fear of being drawn into the conflict.
Two more grain-carrying ships departed Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea on Saturday, bringing the total number of ships leaving under a UN-mediated agreement meant to help ease the world food crisis to 16, according to Turkey's defence ministry.
According to the agreement, which guaranteed safe passage for ships, 16 ships totaling 450,000 tonnes of agricultural products have departed from Ukrainian seaports since early August, according to a statement from Ukraine's infrastructure ministry on Saturday.
Amidst warnings of potential famine outbreaks, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN signed the agreement in July, allowing grain exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports to resume after being put on hold for five months due to the war.
On Saturday, Zelensky stated that Ukraine had successfully exported the same amount of grain from three ports in less than two weeks as it had done by road for the entire month of July, adding that "this has already made it possible to reduce the severity of the food crisis."
In the near future, Ukraine plans to increase its maritime exports of grain and other agricultural products to more than 3 million tonnes monthly.
Russia and Ukraine are significant exporters of grains. Tens of millions of tonnes of grain are stuck in Ukraine due to the blocked Ukrainian ports, raising concerns about severe food shortages and even famine outbreaks elsewhere in the world.