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President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian forces of shelling their own positions around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, risking a nuclear catastrophe.

Russia denies the accusations, pointing at Ukraine for shelling the plant. Ukraine has previously accused Russia of turning the plant into a military base, using the threat of nuclear disaster as a shield, and it has justified previous attacks against the area near the reactor as directed against legitimate military targets.

The newest accusation is the first time Ukraine has accused Russia of shelling its own positions in and around the plant.

Armed Russian servicemen stand atop their military vehicles near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station. AP


"Today, the occupiers created another extremely risky situation for the whole of Europe — they fired at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant twice in a day. This is the largest nuclear power plant in our continent, and any shelling of this object is an open and brazen crime, an act of terror. Russia should be held responsible for the very fact of creating a threat to the nuclear power plant," Zelensky said in a video posted on Telegram. He added that it is further justification to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

NUCLEAR POWER PLANT ATTACKED BY UKRAINIAN KAMIKAZE DRONES, RUSSIAN OFFICIALS SAY

The Russian Ministry of Defense disputed Ukraine's account.

"On August 5, between 16.20 and 17.24, Ukrainian armed formations carried out three artillery strikes on the territory of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and Energodar city. A total of twenty 155 millimeter shells were fired," they said in a statement. "As a result of the shelling, Energodar city is partially without electricity and water supply, part of the equipment of power unit No. 3 is de-energized at the NPP, and the generating capacity of power unit No. 4 is reduced. In addition, hydrogen pipeline was damaged, resulting in a hydrogen flare ignition at the hydrogen plant."

The ministry also called on international organizations to condemn the "acts of nuclear terrorism" from the "Zelensky regime."

Ukraine has previously taken credit for drone strikes targeting the area of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which they claim targeted Russian military equipment taking shelter around the plant, according to Ukrinform.

Though Ukraine didn't speculate why Russia would shell its own positions, Ukrainian sources frequently accuse Russia of attacks against their own civilians and civilian infrastructure with the intention of blaming Ukrainian forces. One Ukrainian news source claimed in June that Russian forces had shelled schools in Russia-controlled Donetsk to frame the Ukrainian army. Russia denies these accusations, blaming Ukrainian forces instead.

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Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhia plant in March after a brief firefight that renewed fears of the Russian invasion triggering a nuclear catastrophe. U.N. Nuclear Chief Rafael Grossi said this week that the situation in the plant is "out of control" and called on both sides to cooperate with an inspection.

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US Air Force tests nuclear-capable long-range missile

(CNN)The US Air Force on Tuesday tested an unarmed nuclear-capable long-range missile, according to the Air Force Global Strike Command.

The unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with a test reentry vehicle, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and traveled 4,200 miles to a test range near the Marshall Islands.The missile, launched at 12:49 a.m. PT, was "to demonstrate the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent," a statement from the Air Force said.
    "This test launch is part of routine and periodic activities intended to demonstrate that the United States' nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective to deter twenty-first century threats and reassure our allies. Such tests have occurred more than 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events," the statement continued.
      Earlier this month, the US postponed a long-planned missile test of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile over concerns about China's angry response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan. In March, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also canceled a planned test of a Minute Man III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile to avoid "any actions that could be misunderstood or misconstrued" during heightened tensions with Russia, then-Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said at the time.Read MoreThe US regularly tests its intercontinental weapon system to verify its accuracy and reliability.
        "Make no mistake - our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and of our allies around the globe," Col. Chris Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander, said in a statement. "This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation's ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system. It is also a great platform to show the skill sets and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and of our missile crews who maintain an unwavering vigilance to defend the homeland."
          The Minuteman III is traditionally known as the only land-based leg to the US nuclear triad. The other two parts of the triad are the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.

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