A Russian missile hit near a nuclear power plant in the south of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in Kyiv on Monday, accusing Russia of endangering the whole world.
“We must stop it while it is not too late,” he wrote on social media.
The South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant is located just under 300 kilometres (190 miles) south of the capital Kyiv. Three reactors with a net capacity of 2,850 megawatts are all in operation.
The Ukrainian state nuclear power plant operator Enerhoatom also reported a missile attack on an industrial site near the plant. Three high-voltage power lines and a facility of the nearby hydroelectric power plant were damaged.
In the nuclear power plant building itself, more than 100 windows were destroyed by the blast wave. The company published photos of a crater four metres (13 feet) in diameter and two metres deep.
The shelling of facilities further east at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant over the past several months has raised international concern about a potential nuclear disaster.
But unlike Zaporizhzhya, the nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is under Ukrainian government control.
Meanwhile, local media reported that at least 13 people were killed by artillery fire in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, with two shells hitting a bus stop and a nearby store. There was no immediate information on the number of injured.
Local rulers appointed by Moscow blamed Ukrainian troops for the shelling. The industrial city has been under the control of separatists backed by Moscow since 2014.
Kyiv regularly rejects such accusations and accuses Moscow of firing upon territory it holds in order to produce anti-Ukrainian propaganda for its own media.
Last week’s discovery of a mass burial site with more than 400 bodies in the liberated northeastern city of Izyum continued to generate controversy, with the Kremlin one again denying Russian forces had anything to do with the horrific scene.
Ukraine says war crimes were committed in Izyum, which Russian forces withdrew from amid a lightning counteroffensive by Kyiv, and Zelensky accused Russia of “Nazi”-like practices.
“This is a lie,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, according to the Interfax news agency, adding that Russia will defend the “truth”.
Peskov said Kyiv and its allies were throwing the same unfounded accusations as they did in March, when atrocities against civilians were uncovered in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv. “This is the same scenario as in Bucha,” he said.
Elsewhere, the daily British intelligence update on the war said the Russian air force is coming under increasing pressure.
In the past 10 days Russia has apparently lost four fighter jets, bringing the total number of aircraft lost to 55 since the invasion began at the end of February, the Ministry of Defence said in London on Monday.
The increase in losses may be partly due to the Russian air force taking greater risks to support ground forces under pressure from Ukrainian advances at close range, it added.
Added to this was the poor situational awareness of Russian pilots. Some aircraft, it said, had entered denser air defence zones because of the fast-moving front over Ukrainian-controlled territory.
“Russia’s continued lack of air superiority remains one of the most important factors underpinning the fragility of its operational design in Ukraine,” the ministry said.
The Ministry of Defence has been publishing daily updates – based on intelligence reports – on the progress of the war against Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in late February. Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.