UN demands cessation of military activity at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The UN’s nuclear chief warned on Thursday that “very alarming” military activity at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine could lead to dangerous consequences for the region. and called for an end to combat actions there.

Rafael Grossi called on Russia and Ukraine, which are blaming each other for the attacks at the plant, to immediately allow nuclear experts to assess the damage and assess the safety level at the Zaporizhzhia facility. .

Grossi demanded a halt to military actions “even the smallest that could jeopardize nuclear safety” at such an important facility.

His appeal echoes United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call on Thursday for an end to all military activity around the Zaporizechzhia plant, warning that any damage could be done. lead to “catastrophic consequences” in the vicinity, the region and beyond.

Grossi, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, gave a briefing to the United Nations Security Council at a meeting called by Russia to discuss what Moscow claimed was Ukraine’s attack on the home country. machine.

Grossi said statements received from Russia and Ukraine are “frequently contradictory” and that the IAEA cannot corroborate significant facts unless its experts visit Zaporizhzhia.

The Ukrainian state company that operates the plant, Enerhoatom, said on Thursday there had been a new round of Russian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia facility and nearby buildings.

“Five [hits] Enerhoatom said in a post on the plant’s official Telegram channel – near the office of the plant management – right next to the welding area and the warehouse for the radiation sources. pain.”

While the plant is controlled by Russia, its Ukrainian employees continue to run nuclear operations.

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Ambassadors of Ukraine, Russia compete at the factory

Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsy, told the council that the only way to eliminate the nuclear threat was to withdraw Russian troops and return the factory to Ukrainian control.

While Russian ambassador Vassiily Nebenzia said Russia supported the IAEA’s June visit to Zaporizhzhia, which was “red light” by UN security experts at the last minute. Moscow is ready to offer “all possible assistance” to solve any problems for the visit “even before the end of August”, he said.

Yevhen Balytskyy, the Kremlin’s interim head of the Zaporizhzhia region, said on Thursday that the Russian-backed authorities there are ready to guarantee the safety and security of any IAEA delegation sent to Investigate conditions. He said in an interview on Russian state television that the Kremlin-backed government had prepared armored vehicles for international envoys.

But Kyslytsy blamed Russia’s “unreasonable conditions” for the delay in bringing IAEA experts to Zaporizhzhia, and said Ukraine was ready to provide “all necessary assistance” to facilitate favorable conditions. for nuclear group trips through territory controlled by Ukraine, just five miles from the plant. across the Dnieper River.

A man in a gray suit sits at a desk with a sign that says "Ukraine" up there.
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Thursday. (Andrew Kelly / Reuters)

Guterres urged in a statement “for reason and common sense” to avoid any action “that could jeopardize the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant” and demanded that withdraw all personnel and equipment.

More weapons for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia

Western nations make multiple pledges to send weapons to Ukraine while a complete European Union ban on Russian coal imports goes into effect on Thursday, adding further sanctions on Moscow whose intelligence claims are hurting the country’s defense exports.

Germany, seen as an ill-willed ally of Ukraine early on in the Russian invasion, is making what Prime Minister Olaf Scholz describes as a “major” break with its past by sending weapons to Ukraine. air to a country ravaged by war.

Scholz said Germany “is shipping weapons – large quantities, many, far-reaching and very effective. And we will continue to do so for the time being.” His government has approved military exports of at least US$710 million and plans to provide more financial aid to Ukraine, the prime minister said.

At a conference in Copenhagen, Britain and Denmark also made additional commitments to help Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion, which has devastated the country and resonated around the world.

To put more pressure on Russia, Britain announced it would send more launch and guided missile systems to Ukraine. The British government says the missile can hit targets 80 kilometers away with high accuracy.

The new weapons, whose quantities were not specified, were on a number of missile launchers provided by Britain earlier this year after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking via videoconference before a meeting of most of the Nordic countries, pleaded for more aid. “The sooner we stop Russia, the more secure we can feel,” he said.

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Canada joins UK-led mission to train Ukrainian recruits

Thursday, August 4 – Canada will send a contingent of soldiers to join the British Army’s ambitious program to turn Ukrainian civilians into combat troops, Defense Minister Anita Anand said on Thursday. 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers are expected to fly to Britain for basic and specialized military training in five-week courses. We’ll talk to a security expert about what Canada hopes to contribute.

The Russian military is under pressure

A British defense intelligence update, highlighting the “growing impact of Western sanctions”, convinces the West that a series of measures imposed on the Kremlin since the invasion Ukraine February 24 is increasingly having an impact on the Russian economy.

The update said that due to war and sanctions, “the country’s military-industrial capacity is currently under significant strain and the credibility of many of its weapons systems has been degraded as they relate to the use of weapons.” regarding the poor performance of Russian forces”.

As the war nears the end of half a year, Russia faces other challenges. Amid reports that hundreds of Russian soldiers have refused to fight and are trying to abandon the army, covert recruitment efforts are underway, including using prisoners to make up shortfalls in the army. trained.

Russia’s military credibility came under more pressure on Wednesday when Ukraine said nine Russian warplanes had been destroyed following explosions at an airbase in Russia-controlled Crimea that appeared to as a result of an attack by Ukraine.

Russia denies any aircraft were damaged in the explosions – or any attack took place. But satellite photos clearly show that at least seven fighter jets at the base have been blown up and others may have been damaged.

Aerial images show concrete runways with burned ground areas nearby.
Satellite images provided by Planet Labs PBC show the destroyed Russian aircraft at Saki Air Base, in the Crimean Peninsula, following an explosion on Tuesday. (Planet Labs PBC / The Associated Press)

Ukraine counter-attacks

The governor said that Ukrainian forces are conducting a large counter-offensive in the south having recaptured 54 settlements in the Kherson region, which were attacked by Russia in the early days of the war. The governor said that 92% of the Kherson region is still under Russian occupation.

In the east of the country, the Ukrainian military says it has repelled Russian attempts to enter the city of Bakhmut, a key target of Moscow’s offensive in the Donetsk region. It also said the Russian military tried but failed to break through Ukraine’s defenses near the cities of Kramatorsk and Avdiivka, also in the Donetsk region.

The military also said Russia shelled dozens of towns and villages in the north, south and east of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia is taking obvious steps to strengthen its control over the region east of Luhansk after destroying the last Ukrainian army last month. Luhansk and Donetsk make up Donbas, the industrial center.

Dmitry Medvedev, the former president of Russia, said he was visited the region by top Russian law enforcement and security officials and also the minister in charge of construction.

Medvedev, in a post on a messaging app, said they had met with local Kremlin-backed officials to discuss “restoring infrastructure, repairing hospitals and preparing schools.” start the school year, solve social problems and support the common people.”

Present19:25Fear of disaster at Ukraine’s nuclear plant controlled by Russia

In Ukraine, a nuclear plant under Russian occupation has been warned by the international community of potential disaster. Guest presenter Michelle Shephard discusses the risks with Philip Crowther, Associated Press’s international associate correspondent; and Mariana Budjeryn, a Ukrainian nuclear expert at Harvard’s Belfer Center.

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