Artillery price

Russia launched hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks on Ukrainian cities: NPR

Firepower helped Russia make significant gains in the southern region of Ukraine, including capturing the city of Kherson. But its lead over the capital of kyiv has stalled.



TO MARTINEZ, HOST:

As of Day 9 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, here’s what we know. A fire at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant is extinguished. The plant is now largely under Russian control, according to Ukrainian officials. The plant operator and the International Atomic Energy Agency say radiation levels are normal. Meanwhile, Russia’s advance on the capital kyiv appears to have stalled, although shelling continues in and around the capital and Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. NPR’s Tim Mak joins us now from Ukraine to talk about what’s happening on the ground. It is in Ternopil Oblast. Tim, let’s start very quickly with what happened at this nuclear facility. This crisis has been averted for now – is it safe to say?

TIM MAK, BYLINE: Well, it looks like it. The fire is out, as you mentioned. It was not in a critical part of the complex, just a building near the main gate. But of course, it remains alarming. It is the largest such complex in all of Ukraine and, in fact, in all of Europe. Russian troops now appear to be in control of much of the complex after fighting over the past 24 hours, and that’s according to Ukrainian officials, but Ukrainian technicians are still on duty.

MARTINEZ: Okay, now what’s happening on the battlefield?

MAK: Well, you know, the Russian bombardments continue all over the country, but the army still seems to be blocked near the capital, kyiv. The Ukrainian army says the Russians have withdrawn from the strategic airfield just west of the capital. It is an airfield that has changed hands several times. It is an absolutely essential piece of infrastructure for both parties. In the south, the Ukrainian army says it is preparing for a naval landing of Russian forces near the city of Odessa. And the Ukrainian government said residential areas continued to be shelled in this town northeast of Kharkiv, near the Russian border.

MARTINEZ: Ukraine had a growing and diversified economy before this war, not just agriculture but also technology sectors. And you spent time talking with business owners in Ukraine. What do you mean?

MAK: Well, you know, it’s really remarkable how overnight the private sector and the economy changed to support the war effort. So just on the last day I visited a school that’s being built – that sort of served as a place to build camouflage netting and a veterans’ house that turned into this logistics center for military food supply. I went to a milk factory that just launched its business plan, and they are sending food to the front lines. We spoke to Igor. He is the owner of this industrial company which focuses on the construction of combine harvesters for tractors. We spoke to him from his warehouse in Ternopil.

IGOR: The simple answer is that the Russian army came to us. We have to help anyway. So right now we are helping out however we can. We understand that it may happen that we have to take our weapons. So we defend our land.

MAK: So Igor, who used to make agricultural equipment, now has his team working hard to weld these old railway tracks together to make hedgehogs. You might remember those from the Omaha Beach scene from “Saving Private Ryan” – those big anti-tank devices.

MARTINEZ: Yes, I remember. Now many Ukrainians are still trying to get out of the country, trying to get to safety. Does it get easier or harder for people?

MAK: Well, refugee movements have expanded considerably. The UN refugee agency says at least a million people have fled the country. It becomes more difficult as people pile up near the border. You know, despite all the suffering and fear among civilians, I was told I had to look for stories of joy – an aid worker told me to. And, you know, I think you can still see some of it. Last night I saw a group of children playing and laughing near a foosball table in a safe house.

MARTINEZ: This is Tim Mak from NPR. Tim, thank you very much.

MAK: Thank you.

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