Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

Ukrainian ambassador to IAEA accuses Russia of causing power outages

Ukraine’s ambassador to the IAEA nuclear watchdog said Russian troops want to cause power cuts in southern Ukraine by shelling the nuclear complex in Zaporizhzhya.

Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk this month called for an international mission to the factory, saying it was “urgently” needed.

The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhya Region, is seen through barbed wire on the embankment in Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Region, central Ukraine.

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“We will use all possible channels of diplomacy to bring the IAEA and the UN closer to carrying out this mission,” Tsymbaliuk told reporters in Vienna.

Russia is ready to facilitate such a visit, RIA Novosti news agency quoted Russia’s permanent representative to the IAEA as saying.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhya wants referendum on accession to Russia

The Russian-appointed administration of southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya region has taken steps to hold a referendum on Russia joining.

Evgeny Balitsky, head of the occupation administration in Zaporizhzhya, signed a decree to initiate the process, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported.

It comes as Ukraine and Russia are shifting blame for weekend shelling of the region’s nuclear power plant, an attack UN chief Antonio Guterres called “suicidal.”

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine warns of Chernobyl attack, calls for demilitarized zone around nuclear power plant

Giant protective dome built over the sarcophagus covering the destroyed fourth reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on April 26, 2022.

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Kiev warned of the risk of a Chernobyl-style disaster and called for the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to be made a demilitarized zone after artillery strikes over the weekend.

The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power company, Petro Kotin, called for the deployment of a team of peacekeepers to the nuclear complex, which is still run by Ukrainian engineers.

“The decision we demand from the world community and all our partners… is to withdraw the invaders from the territory of the station and create a demilitarized zone on the territory of the station,” Kotin said on television.

“The presence of peacekeepers in this zone and the transfer of control over it to them, and then also control of the station on the Ukrainian side, would solve this problem,” he added.

The calls come hours after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres labeled the latest shelling as “suicidal” and called on international inspectors to access the site.

The worst civilian nuclear disaster in the world occurred in 1986 when a reactor at the Chernobyl complex in northwestern Ukraine exploded.

— Karen Gilchrist

Finland registers record number of asylum seekers

Civilians board the evacuation train in Pokorvsk amid fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.

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Finland registered a record number of asylum seekers after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the AFP reported, surpassing the previous record during the 2015 migrant crisis.

More than 37,000 people are currently registered in the reception system, “which is more than ever before,” the Finnish Immigration Service said in a statement. A third of those fleeing are children, it added.

More than 6.3 million refugees from Ukraine have fled to Europe, according to the latest figures from UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia strengthens position and numbers on Ukraine’s southern front

Russian troops are strengthening their positions and numbers on Ukraine’s southern front in apparent preparation for a Ukrainian counter-offensive, British and Ukrainian military authorities said.

“Russian forces are almost certainly gathering in the south, waiting for a Ukrainian counter-offensive or preparing to attack,” the Defense Ministry said.

It added that long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks and artillery continue to move from the Donbas to the southwest of the country.

— Karen Gilchrist

No basis for Putin-Zelenskyy meeting, Kremlin . says

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov waits for the Victory Day military parade on Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2022.

Kirill Kudryavtsev | Afp | Getty Images

The Kremlin said there is currently no basis for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Responding to a question about Turkish proposals to broker peace talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that the pair would not meet until both sides’ negotiators had “done their homework.”

Talks between Moscow and Kiev have stalled for months, with both sides blaming the other for lack of progress.

— Karen Gilchrist

UN chief calls attack on Ukraine nuclear power plant ‘suicidal’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for international inspectors to be allowed access to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant after Ukraine and Russia accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear complex over the weekend.

The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, in the Russian-controlled area of ​​Enerhodar, seen from Nikopol on April 27, 2022.

Ed Jones | Afp | Getty Images

“Any Attack” [on] a nuclear power plant is a suicidal thing,” Guterres told a news conference in Japan, where he attended Saturday’s peace commemoration ceremony in Hiroshima to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb.

Despite the shelling, the nuclear reactor complex was operating on “normal mode,” the Interfax news agency quoted Yevgeniy Balitsky as the head of the local government installed in Russia.

Russian forces captured the plant in southeastern Ukraine in early March, shortly after its neighbor was invaded by Moscow on February 24, but it is still run by Ukrainian engineers.

— Karen Gilchrist

Former Russian President Medvedev says Moscow will achieve its goals in Ukraine

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexandrovsky Garden near the Kremlin wall in Moscow on June 22, 2022.

Yekaterina Shtukina | Afp | Getty Images

Former Russian president and one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, Dmitry Medvedev, said Moscow would achieve its goals in the conflict in Ukraine on its own terms.

“Russia is conducting a special military operation in Ukraine and achieving peace on our terms,” ​​Medvedev, who serves as the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, told Russia’s state-owned Tass news agency in an interview.

He also warned that the West has a long-term plan to destroy Russia, citing the expansion of NATO’s military alliance: “The goal is the same: to destroy Russia,” he said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Two grain ships leave Ukraine as third port opens

The Turkish-flagged vessel “Polarnet” carrying grain from Ukraine arrives at Derince Port, Kocaeli, Turkey on August 8, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Two more ships carrying corn and soybeans departed from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, Ukrainian and Turkish authorities said.

The ships – one carrying 11,000 tons of soybeans and the other 48,458 tons of corn – were bound for Italy and Turkey, respectively. Meanwhile, a third port, Pivdennyi, opened on Monday, increasing the country’s strained export capacity.

As of last week, ten shipments have now departed from Ukraine’s shores under a new deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in a bid to alleviate a worsening global food crisis.

So far, about 243,000 tons of maize has been exported from Ukraine on seven ships since the first departure on Aug. 1, according to a Reuters data summary from Turkey’s Defense Ministry. The other ships carried 11,000 tons of soybeans, 6,000 tons of sunflower oil and 45,000 tons of sunflower meal.

— Karen Gilchrist

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