Kiev and Moscow continue to trade blame for attacks on Europe's largest nuclear plant Zaporizhzhia, raising concerns of a possible nuclear disaster as the conflict enters its 195th day.

UN has urged Russia and Ukraine to agree to a demilitarised perimeter around the Russian-held Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
UN has urged Russia and Ukraine to agree to a demilitarised perimeter around the Russian-held Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. (AP)

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Russia 'regrets' UN report on Ukraine nuclear plant 

Russia has voiced regret that a report by the UN nuclear watchdog warning of risks at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia plant did not blame Kiev for shelling the Moscow-controlled site.

"We regret that in your report... the source of the shelling is not directly named," Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told a Security Council session attended virtually by Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"We do understand your position as an international regulator, but in the current situation it's very important to call things by their name," he said.

Zelenskyy hails UN report on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Ukraine's Zelenskyy has welcomed a report by the UN nuclear watchdog that mentioned Russian military hardware presence at the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe's biggest nuclear facility, which is controlled by Moscow's troops.

"The report notes the presence of Russian military hardware on the territory of the nuclear power plant, pressure on our employees there, and makes clear references to the Russian military occupation. It's good," Zelenskyy said in his daily address.

UK's Truss talks with Zelenskyy, vows full support

Britain's new Prime Minister Liz Truss has pledged her "full backing" to Ukraine in a call with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, shortly after taking office, a spokesperson said.

They also discussed "the need to strengthen global security and the measures necessary to cut off the funds fuelling (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's war machine," she said.

"The leaders deplored Putin's attempts to weaponise energy, and the Prime Minister said it was vital Russia's blackmail did not deter the West from ensuring Putin fails."

Ukraine city housing nuclear plant shelled –– exiled mayor

The Ukraine city of Energodar, home to Europe's largest nuclear plant Zaporizhzhia, has been shelled by Russian forces, its exiled mayor said.

Kiev and Moscow have traded blame for attacks on the site over the past weeks, raising concerns of a possible incident.

"There are explosions in Energodar city, provocations continue, there are shellings by the occupants," mayor Dmytro Orlov wrote on social media, mentioning several city venues under attack and urging residents to stay in shelters.

Commandant of Russian-controlled Ukraine city killed in bomb blast

The Russian-backed commandant of a southern Ukrainian city has died in a blast, a local official said, the latest in a series of assassinations in occupied areas of southern Ukraine.

Vladimir Rogov, an official in the Russian-backed administration of the Zaporizhzhia region, blamed the Ukrainian government for Artyom Bardin's death.

Russian media earlier said Bardin was hospitalised and in a critical condition after his car exploded outside the city administration building in Berdiansk in Zaporizhzhia region, an Azov Sea port of around 100,000 people that was captured by Russian troops in February.

US: Designating Russia as state sponsor of terror could be harmful

Designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism "could have unintended consequences to Ukraine and the world," the White House has said.

Speaking to reporters, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said "it is not the most effective or strongest path forward" to hold Russia accountable.

"According to humanitarian experts and NGOs we have spoken to, it could seriously affect the ability to deliver the assistance in areas of Ukraine.

UN chief urges Russia, Ukraine to demilitarise nuclear power plant

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has urged Russia and Ukraine to agree to a demilitarised perimeter around the Russian-held Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

"As a first step, Russian and Ukrainian forces must commit not to engage in any military activity towards the plant site or from the plant site," Guterres told the UN Security Council.

"As a second step, an agreement on a demilitarised perimeter should be secured. Specifically, that would include a commitment by Russian forces to withdraw all military personnel and equipment from that perimeter and a commitment by Ukrainian forces not to move into it," he told the 15-member body.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy seeks $400B in foreign investment

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has remotely rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange as his nation appealed for billions of dollars in private investment to rebuild factories and industries destroyed by Russia.

Zelenskyy's government launched a platform of over 500 projects worth $400 billion for foreign companies and private investors to help rebuild Ukraine's economy, even as the conflict with Russia drags on.

Zelenskyy appeared on a video screen behind the platform overlooking the NYSE floor where the opening bell is traditionally rung. Traders applauded and whooped while a banner read: "We are free. We are strong. We are open for business."

EU set to change visa rules for Russian travellers

The EU is expected to change its visa policy toward Russia from next week after the European Commission has officially proposed to suspend the bloc’s 2007 visa facilitation agreement with Moscow.

There is no basis for trust, and privilege relation between the EU and Russia, therefore the European Commission proposes to fully suspend its visa facilitation agreement, EU Commissioner for Home Affair s Ylva Johansson told a news conference in Brussels.

Russian citizens will “no longer enjoy the privilege access to the EU,” she said, explaining that visa applications for tourist and leisure purposes will be more difficult and twice as expensive as before.

US: Russia to buy rockets, artillery shells from North Korea

The Russian Ministry of Defence is in the process of purchasing rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for its ongoing fight in Ukraine, according to a newly downgraded US intelligence finding.

A US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence determination, said on Monday that the fact Russia is turning to the isolated state of North Korea demonstrates that “the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions.”

The finding comes after the Biden administration recently confirmed that the Russian military in August took delivery of Iranian-manufactured drones for use on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Russian gas flows to EU via Ukraine remain stable

Flows of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine were stable on Tuesday morning.

Russian flows of gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, remained at zero on Tuesday after Russia shut down the pipeline historically supplied about a third of the gas exported by Russia to Europe but was running at only 20 percent of capacity before the outage last week.

6 more grain ships leave Ukraine under Istanbul deal - Türkiye

Six more ships have left Ukrainian ports under the Türkiye-brokered grain export deal, the Turkish National Defence Ministry said.

A ministry statement, which did not disclose the ships’ points of departure or destinations, said on Tuesday that shipments from Ukrainian ports are continuing as planned.

Since the first vessel sailed under the deal on August 1, more than 90 ships have carried over 2 million tons of agricultural products from Ukraine.

'Radiation catastrophe' nears as Zaporizhzhia shelled – Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of a near "radiation catastrophe" and said the Zaporizhzhia nuclelar plant shelling showed Russia "does not care what the IAEA will say."

The UN nuclear watchdog is due to issue a report on the nuclear power station on Tuesday.

The nuclear concerns add to the ongoing energy fight between Moscow and the West since Russian troops assaulted Ukraine in late February as the larger military conflict continues.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of risking nuclear disaster by shelling near Europe's largest nuclear plant, which officials said disrupted power lines on Monday and took the sole remaining reactor offline for the second time in two weeks, raising fears of catastrophe.

For live updates from Monday (September 5), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies