Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant comes back online and Kiev says it took out important bridge in the southern Kherson region as the conflict enters its 184th day.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been the cause for mounting concern since it was seized by Russian troops in the opening weeks of the conflict.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been the cause for mounting concern since it was seized by Russian troops in the opening weeks of the conflict. (Reuters)

Friday, August 26, 2022

EU foreign policy chief urges Russia to allow repair of Zaporizhzhia plant

The EU's foreign policy chief has urged Russia to allow the repair of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. "The situation around Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remains extremely concerning," Josep Borrell said on Twitter.

He urged Russia to "ensure unhindered repair of damaged power lines and full reconnection to the Ukrainian electricity grid", and to "finally" allow experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the facility.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's state operator has said the plant — Europe's largest nuclear facility —  has come back online. The plant, occupied by Moscow's troops, was severed from Ukraine's power network for the first time in its history on Thursday due to "actions of the invaders", Energoatom said.

Shelling continues around Zaporizhzhia as IAEA team plans visit

A team from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine soon but more shelling was reported in the area overnight. 

The visit comes after the plant was temporarily knocked offline, fuelling fears of a catastrophe in a nation still haunted by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Ukraine says it took out important bridge in occupied south

Ukrainian rocket fire has hit an important bridge used by Russian occupying forces in southern Kherson region and put it out of action, Ukraine's southern military command has said.

"Rocket artillery units continued to conduct missions, including ensuring control over the Daryivskiy bridge. Its operation is currently halted," the southern command said in a statement. There was no immediate comment from Moscow.

The Daryivskiy bridge, which spans nearly 100 metres (yards), is the only Russian-controlled crossing across the Inhulets river, a tributary of the vast Dnipro. The Inhulets splits the Russian-occupied land west of the Dnipro into two parts.

Russia a strategic challenge for NATO in arctic, Stoltenberg says

Russia's capabilities in the North are a strategic challenge for NATO, its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said, welcoming Canada's recently announced investments in North American defence systems after making his first visit to the Canadian arctic.

"The importance of the high North is increasing for NATO and for Canada because we see a significant Russian military buildup," Stoltenberg said, standing alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Cold Lake, Alberta.

Russia has reopened hundreds of Soviet-era military sites in the arctic, using the region to test new weapons systems, Stoltenberg said. He also warned that Russia and China were forming a strategic arctic partnership that challenged NATO's values and interests.

Montenegro reports massive Russian cyberattack against gov't

Montenegro’s security agency has warned that hackers from Russia have launched a massive, coordinated cyberattack against the small nation's government and its services. The Agency for National Security, or ANB, said Montenegro is “under a hybrid war at the moment.”

“Coordinated Russian services are behind the cyber attack,” the ANB said in a statement. “This kind of attack was carried out for the first time in Montenegro and it has been prepared for a long period of time.”

The Adriatic Sea state, once considered a strong Russian ally, in 2017 joined NATO despite strong opposition from Moscow. It has also joined Western sanctions against Russia for its offensive against Ukraine. In addition to most European countries, Russia has added Montenegro to its list of “enemy states”.

Taiwan: China, Russia disrupting, threatening world order

Taiwan’s leader has said China and Russia are “disrupting and threatening the world order” with Beijing’s recent large-scale military exercises near the island and Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine.

President Tsai Ing-wen was speaking during a meeting in Taipei with US Senator Marsha Blackburn, who is on the second visit by members of Congress since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip earlier this month. That visit prompted China to launch military exercises in which it fired numerous missiles and sent dozens of warplanes and naval ships to virtually surround the island.

Poland, Slovakia open gas link amid Russian gas crunch

Poland and Slovakia have inaugurated a gas pipeline linking their networks that could boost their energy security after Russia's offensive in Ukraine sparked a European energy crunch.

Russia has reduced or halted gas supplies to several European Union countries in recent months, with Poland cut off and Slovakia receiving only 40 percent of the agreed volume.

The interconnector will allow Slovakia to receive gas from Norway as well as liquefied natural gas transiting through Poland, said Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger at a press conference to inaugurate the facility alongside Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki.

Ukraine to expand mandatory evacuations on front lines

Ukraine plans to expand the number of districts on the front lines where civilian evacuations will be mandatory, as those areas could be occupied and face central heating problems this winter, a deputy prime minister has said.

The Ukrainian government launched a campaign of mandatory evacuations in July for people in the eastern Donetsk region that it began implementing this month. Ukrainian-controlled districts and towns in the industrial east are under constant shelling from Russia and its proxies.

"If they stay there, people will suffer, especially children," Iryna Vereshchuk said on national television, announcing the campaign's expansion.

She said evacuating women with children and elderly people would be a priority from some districts of the eastern Kharkiv region and the southern Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions. "I'm not talking about the entire regions, but some parts will require mandatory evacuation and we are preparing for it," said Vereshchuk.

Belarus leader says his warplanes modified to carry nuclear weapons

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that his military's SU-24 warplanes had been modified to carry nuclear weapons and that Minsk would react immediately if the West caused it any problems.

Lukashenko said he had agreed the move to modernise Belarusian warplanes with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Belta news agency reported.

US says had constructive talks with India on Russian oil price cap plan

The United States had constructive discussions with Indian officials on a proposal to cap prices of Russian oil, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo has said, as it seeks global support for a proposal to cut Russian revenue.

India and China have stepped up oil purchases from Russia after the Ukraine conflict at a discount to the market price, at a time Western sanctions have pushed global inflation to the highest levels in years and hurt revenues of European and American companies linked to Russia's oil trade.

The proposal to cap prices of Russian oil is aimed at curbing the oil revenue that Moscow uses to finance its attack against Ukraine, while ensuring sufficient global supply at affordable prices, Adeyemo said.

I had a very constructive conversation with my Indian counterparts about the price cap proposal, but also talked extensively with private sector participants in India as well.

Wally Adeyemo, US Deputy Treasury Secretary

Bomb kills traffic cop in occupied city: Russia-affiliated officials

The deputy chief of traffic police in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Berdiansk has died in hospital after being wounded in a bomb blast, local Russia-affiliated officials have said.

In a statement posted on Telegram, the Russia-backed Berdiansk authorities said Alexander Kolesnikov had been killed in a "terrorist attack" that they blamed on "the Kiev regime".

Ukraine's defence ministry and military intelligence did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Berdiansk, a port of around 100,000 people on the Azov Sea, was captured by Russia in February.

Russia says it would be ready to extend spaceflight sharing deal with US

Russia would be ready to extend a deal with the United States to share flights to the International Space Station beyond 2024 if the first three flights are successful, the executive director of Russia's space agency has said.

NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos signed an agreement in July allowing Russian cosmonauts to fly on US-made spacecraft in exchange for American astronauts being able to ride on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft.

The deal is an unusual example of Moscow and Washington still cooperating at a time when ties are at a post-Cold War low due to tensions over what Russia calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine, a conflict the West calls "an unprovoked war of aggression".

If the implementation of this agreement will be positive then we will certainly continue it.

Sergei Krikalev, executive director of Roscosmos

Türkiye: Four more grain ships leave Ukraine

Four more ships have left Ukrainian ports under the Türkiye-brokered grain deal, the Turkish National Defence Ministry said, noting that the shipments are continuing as planned.

"Five ships inspected (in Istanbul) also left for Ukraine," it said in a statement.

On Thursday, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that since the first ship left Ukraine under the Ankara-brokered deal on August 1, a total of 39 ships with more than 850,000 tons of agricultural products have left ports.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant still disconnected from grid: Ukraine's Energoatom

All six reactors of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine are still disconnected from Ukraine's electricity grid, state nuclear company Energoatom said, a day after nearby fires allegedly caused by shelling caused the plant to go offline.

However, the company said there were currently no issues with the plant's machinery or its safety systems, adding that work was ongoing to restore grid connection to the plant's two functioning reactors. 

IAEA mission seeks to visit Zaporizhzhia plant amid concerns

A mission from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant next week after it was temporarily knocked offline and more shelling was reported in the area overnight, Ukrainian officials said.

Fire damage to a transmission line at Europe's largest nuclear plant caused a blackout across the region on Thursday and heightened fears of a catastrophe in a country still haunted by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

US warns Moscow not to divert power from Ukraine nuclear plant

Washington has warned Russia against diverting energy from a nuclear plant Kiev says was cut off from its grid, as calls for an independent inspection of the facility mount.

Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is under occupation by Moscow's troops and was disconnected from the national power supply on Thursday, the state energy operator said.

The United States cautioned Russia against redirecting energy from the site.

"The electricity that it produces rightly belongs to Ukraine and any attempt to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian power grid and redirect to occupied areas is unacceptable," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

EU warns those "responsible for Russian rocket terror will be held accountable"

The death toll from an air strike on a train station in central Ukraine rose to 25, as the EU warned those "responsible for Russian rocket terror will be held accountable".

Russia issued a counter-claim saying it targeted soldiers and killed 200 Ukrainian servicemen in the attack Wednesday on a rail hub in Chaplyne city of the Dnipropetrovsk region.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell "strongly" condemned "another heinous attack by Russia on civilians". 

For live updates from Thursday (August 25), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies