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Russia shells areas in eastern Ukraine amid rising concern for nuclear power plant

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The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station is seen in Enerhodar in southeastern Ukraine on Sunday. There has been new concern for the plant due to shelling nearby. Photo by Russian Emergencies Ministry/EPA-EFE
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station is seen in Enerhodar in southeastern Ukraine on Sunday. There has been new concern for the plant due to shelling nearby. Photo by Russian Emergencies Ministry/EPA-EFE

Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Russian shelling on Tuesday targeted Ukrainian positions in the eastern and southern regions -- part of Moscow's military offensive to seize areas in the Donbas -- but Ukrainian officials said they made no significant gains.

Ukrainian officials said that its military held up under heavy Russian bombardment in the eastern cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Both are located in the Donetsk region, which makes up half of the Donbas.

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Russian forces have made key gains in the Donbas in recent weeks, but they continue to be repelled by pockets of Ukrainian resistance in key areas like Kharkiv.

"Ukrainian soldiers inflicted fire damage and forced invaders to flee," the Ukrainian military's general staff said Tuesday according to CNN.

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In south Ukraine, Russian troops kept up shelling in areas around Kherson, Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian officials said.

There is rising concern in the south for the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant -- the largest nuclear facility in Ukraine -- after Russian attacks on Nikopol, which is located just across the river.

Yevhen Yevtushenko, head of Nikopol district military administration, said the Russian mortar fire has seriously damaged industrial sites. He also said that much of the Russian fire is being launched from residential areas.

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Russian forces, meanwhile, continue to try and exert control over Ukrainian-held Kharkiv with artillery strikes. Kharkiv is Ukraine's second-largest city and one of the Ukrainian military's most strategically important cities. Clashes in the city have been going since the war began in late February.

Ukrainian forces said they carried out strikes early Tuesday against Russian positions in Melitopol. Those attacks are part of Ukraine's southern counteroffensive to win back southern territory that's been ceded to Russia over the past six months.

Ukrainian emergency workers are moving to evacuate more people from Kramatorsk and Bakhmut districts. Officials said more than 100 people fled the city of Toretsk, including children and residents with disabilities.

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"During the evacuation at the railway station in Pokrovsk, assistance was provided to 735 people, including 69 children and nine people with physical disabilities," Ukrainian emergency services said, according to The Guardian.

Britain's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that Russian attacks on Bakmut have given Moscow its most successful military push over the past 30 days. Russia has only been able to gain about 6 miles of territory in that portion of the Donbas, the ministry noted.

"In other Donbas sectors where Russia was attempting to break through, its forces have not gained more than 1.8 miles during this 30-day period; almost certainly significantly less than planned," the ministry said in a tweet.

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"Despite its continued heavy use of artillery in these areas, Russia has not been able to generate capable combat infantry insufficient numbers to secure more substantial advances."

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