EU mulls sanctions as Russia accused of shelling Ukraine from nuclear plant

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The European Union will discuss tightening sanctions against Russia on Monday, as Moscow is accused of using the continent’s largest nuclear power plant to store weapons and launch missiles on the surrounding regions of southern Ukraine.

The situation at the captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is “extremely tense,” Ukraine’s atomic energy agency chief Petro Kotin said, adding that the Russians had installed missile launchers and used the facility to shell the Dnipro region.

Describing “a deluge of fire,” regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko on Saturday said Grad missiles had pounded residential areas.

“Rescuers found two dead people under the ruins” in the riverside city of Nikopol, he said.

With the conflict grinding on and increasingly spilling out into global energy and food crises, the EU’s foreign ministers are considering banning gold purchases from Russia, which would align with sanctions already imposed by G7 partners.

More Russian figures could also be placed on the EU’s blacklist.

“Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after forwarding the proposed measures.—AFP

Brussels is expected to hold initial sanctions discussions Monday, but not make a same-day decision, according to a senior EU official. More than 20 weeks since Russia invaded its neighbour, killing thousands and displacing millions of Ukrainians, Moscow announced on Saturday that it would step up its military operations.

Minister Sergei Shoigu “gave the necessary instructions to further increase” military pressure, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The war-ravaged nation’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has already accused Russia of seeking to inflict maximum damage, but pledged that Ukraine would “endure.”

In his Saturday evening address, Zelensky said Ukraine has “withstood Russia’s brutal blows” and managed to take back some of the territory it lost since the start of the war, and will eventually recapture more occupied land.

“We will endure. We will win,” he said, and “rebuild our lives.”

While the heaviest fighting has continued to focus on the industrial Donbas region in the east, in the northeast near Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, the bombardments have been fast and hard in recent days. A Russian missile attack killed three in the town of Chuguiv over the weekend and destroyed a residential house and a local school.–

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