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Ukraine war: Nuclear plant attack plot claims, Russian economy resilient, 185,000 new troops in army

Russian soldiers march toward Red Square to attend a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 7, 2023.
Russian soldiers march toward Red Square to attend a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 7, 2023. Copyright AP/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright AP/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AFP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of plotting attack on nuclear plant

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Ukraine's president claimed Russia has planted explosive-like objects to simulate attacks in the Zaporizhzhia plant, during a Tuesday video address.  

This accusation was matched by Moscow, with Russian nuclear adviser Renat Karchaa alleging Kyiv Ukraine planned to drop ammunition laced with nuclear waste on the site. 

Euronews cannot independently verify either claim. 

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Kremlin is the only threat remaining to Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

He previously briefed Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez about the possible Russian threat to Zaporizhzhia, accusing it of plotting a "local explosion that can lead to a radiation release." 

Both Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of plotting to attack the plant. 

Moscow has previously blamed the Ukrainian military for shelling Zaporizhzhia, which it gained control of during the war's early days.

Medvedev: 185,000 soldiers have joined Russian armed forces this year

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that 185,000 new recruits had joined the Russian army as professional contract soldiers since the start of the year.

In a video posted on Telegram, he said that almost 10,000 new recruits had joined up in the last week since a brief mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group, whose fighters were given the option of signing on as regular soldiers.

His comment comes amid a push by Moscow to beef up forces that have suffered heavy losses in Ukraine, with posters urging people to join up plastered throughout Russia's cities.

Last year Russia announced a plan to boost the size of its armed forces by more than 30% to 1.5 million combat personnel, an ambitious task made harder by Ukraine's counter-offensive. 

Russian strike on Ukrainian town injures civilians

At least 43 civilians, including 12 children, were harmed in a Russian attack on the northeastern city of Pervomaiskyi, according to Ukrainian officials. 

A Russian Iskander missile hit the town's centre on Tuesday afternoon, according to Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin. 

Kostin said there are no military facilities nearby, and the area is home to a dense population of some 28,000 people. 

Nine apartment buildings were damaged as a result of the attack, according to the town's governor Oleh Syniehubov. 

The attack follows a wave of recent bombings targeting civilian structures in Ukraine's frontline. 

Russian economy faring better than expected, says Putin

Russia's president said on Tuesday that the Russian economy was performing better than expected, amid unprecedented Western sanctions. 

Vladimir Putin made his assessment based on surprisingly positive GDP and inflation figures given to him by Mikhail Mishustin, the country's Prime Minister. 

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GDP growth may exceed 2% this year and consumer price inflation may not rise above 5% in annual terms, Mishustin told Putin at a meeting at the Kremlin. 

The International Monetary Fund expects the Russian economy to grow 0.7% this year.

"Our results, at least for the time being, let's say, cautiously, are better than previously expected, better than predicted," Putin said, according to a transcript on the Kremlin's website.

Russia's economy contracted 2.1% in 2022. It was put under considerable pressure last spring when sweeping sanctions were slapped on Russia for its military campaign in Ukraine. 

The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said last year sanctions needed time to have the "desired effect" on the Russian economy.

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