As the conflict enters its 192nd day, Moscow says Kiev tried to capture the Zaporizhzhia facility and Turkish President Erdogan tells Russia's Putin that Türkiye could play a facilitating role on the nuclear plant standoff.

United Nations' vehicles carrying members of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection mission leave the city of Zaporizhzhia en route to a Russian-held nuclear power plant on September 1, 2022.
United Nations' vehicles carrying members of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection mission leave the city of Zaporizhzhia en route to a Russian-held nuclear power plant on September 1, 2022. (AFP)

Saturday, September 3, 2022

IAEA says Ukraine nuclear plant cut from main power line

Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant again lost connection to the last remaining main external power line but continues to supply electricity to the grid through a reserve line, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Saturday.

The UN nuclear watchdog's experts now stationed at the plant were told by Ukrainian staff that the site's fourth operational 750 Kilovolt power line was down after three others were lost earlier, it said in a statement.

But IAEA experts also learned that a reserve line linking the facility to a nearby thermal power plant was delivering electricity to the external grid. This reserve line can also provide backup power to the ZNPP if needed, it said.

Alarm has grown in recent weeks over shelling hitting the area of Europe's largest nuclear plant, Zaporizhzhia.

Sweden offers guarantees to energy firms after Nord Stream shutdown

Sweden will offer several hundred billion Swedish crowns in liquidity guarantees to energy firms to help avert a financial crisis after Russia's Gazprom shut the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, the prime minister said on Saturday.

The government will put forward a proposal that allows it to issue credit guarantees, Finance Minister Mikael Damberg said, adding that all of the country's parliamentary parties and the speaker had been informed.

The announcement by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson came after a Saturday deadline to resume gas flows via Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea, was missed. Russia’s Gazprom said supplies will remain shut off after the main gas turbine was found to have an “oil leak”.

"If we do not act, there is a serious risk of disruptions in the financial system, which in the worst case could lead to a financial crisis," Andersson said. "Putin wants to create division, but our message is clear: you will not succeed," she added.

Russia says it foiled Ukrainian attempt to seize nuclear plant

Ukrainian forces tried to capture the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in an attack on the facility on Friday night but were thwarted in their attempt, Russia's defence ministry said in its daily briefing on Saturday.

The ministry said a Ukrainian naval force of more than 250 troops attempted to land on the coast of a lake near the Zaporizhzhia plant in southern Ukraine at around 11pm local time (2000 GMT) on Friday.

"Despite the presence of representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the Kiev regime once again attempted to seize the plant," it added.

Russia said its forces foiled the attack with strikes from military helicopters and fighter jets, destroying 20 Ukrainian vessels and causing others to scatter and call off the attack.

EU ready if Russia turns off gas supplies: Gentiloni

EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Saturday that the European Union was "well prepared" in the event of a total halt in Russian gas deliveries, thanks to storage capacity and energy-saving measures.

"We are well prepared to resist Russia's extreme use of the gas weapon," he told reporters on the sidelines of an economic forum organised by The European House - Ambrosetti. "We are not afraid of Putin's decisions, we are asking the Russians to respect contracts, but if they don't, we are ready to react," he said.

Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Friday that the Nord Stream pipeline linking Russia to northern Germany, which was due to resume service Saturday after a three-day interruption for maintenance operations, would be "completely" stopped until a turbine is repaired.

One more grain ship leaves Ukraine under Istanbul deal, Türkiye says

One more ship has left Ukrainian ports under the Istanbul grain export deal, the Turkish National Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

In a statement it released, the ministry did not disclose either its point of departure or destination. Nine more ships are awaiting departure at Ukrainian ports due to unfavourable weather conditions in the region, the ministry said.

Ankara, Moscow, Kiev and the UN signed a Türkiye-brokered agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which had come to a halt after the Russia attacked Ukraine in February.

Putin ally: US dream of Russian breakup is road to doom

A top Russian official accused the US and its allies on Saturday of trying to provoke the country's breakup and warned that such attempts could lead to doomsday.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, warned the West that an attempt to push Russia toward collapse would amount to a “chess game with death.”

Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president in 2008-2012, alleged that some in the West would like to “take advantage of the military conflict in Ukraine to push our country to a new twist of disintegration, do everything to paralyse Russia's state institutions and deprive the country of efficient controls, as happened in 1991.”

Such attempts are very dangerous and mustn't be underestimated. Those dreamers ignore a simple axiom: a forceful disintegration of a nuclear power is always a chess game with Death, in which it's known precisely when the check and m ate comes: doomsday for mankind.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council

Erdogan tells Putin Türkiye can mediate in Ukraine nuclear plant standoff

Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that, as in the Istanbul grain agreement, Türkiye could play a facilitating role on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine as well, in a phone call.

Erdogan and Putin discussed the latest developments and bilateral relations, Türkiye's Communications Directorate said in a statement.

The two leaders also exchanged views on regional issues, particularly about developments related to grain exports and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Ukraine, according to the statement.

Gazprom piping gas to Europe after Nord Stream stoppage

Russia's Gazprom said it would ship 42.7 million cubic metres (mcm) of natural gas to Europe through Ukraine, hours after it announced that flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany would not resume as planned.

Flows via the Sudzha entry point were up slightly compared to the 41.3 mcm Gazprom sent on Friday, but not enough to compensate for missing gas that were expected to be pumped through Nord Stream 1 on Saturday.

Gazprom announced late Friday it had detected an oil leakage on equipment during Nord Stream 1 maintenance work and would not be able to resume flows.

It set no timeframe for fixing the problem.

No meeting with Putin planned during Orban visit to Moscow: Kremlin

There are no plans for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he travels to Moscow for Saturday's funeral of last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Kremlin said.

"As far as we know, he will only fly in to say goodbye to Gorbachev. There were no desires for meetings," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state news agency RIA Novosti.

Myanmar junta leader to visit Russia

The leader of Myanmar's military junta will travel to Russia next week for economic talks, state media in the Southeast Asian nation reported.

Min Aung Hlaing's visit comes as both governments face diplomatic isolation -- Moscow for its February invasion of Ukraine, and Naypyidaw for a military coup last year.

He will attend the Eastern Economic Forum in the far-eastern city of Vladivostok, The Global New Light of Myanmar said.

Russia says US yet to issue visas for delegation to UN summit

Russia has expressed "alarm" to the UN's secretary-general that the US has yet to issue visas for its delegation to attend a General Assembly session later this month, according to a letter seen by AFP.

"None of the 56 Russian representatives from the main team and advance group have received entry visas to the United States" as of Thursday, wrote Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia in a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Nebenzia added that a "similar situation exists with the accompanying journalists and crew members" on the flight of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia scraps deadline to resume gas flows to Europe

Russia has scrapped a Saturday deadline to resume gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, one of the main supply routes to Europe, after saying it discovered a fault during maintenance, deepening Europe's difficulties in securing fuel for winter.

Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to supply Germany and others, had been due to resume operating after a three-day halt for maintenance on Saturday at 0100 GMT.

But Gazprom, the state-controlled firm with a monopoly on Russian gas exports via pipeline, said it could no longer provide a timeframe for restarting deliveries after finding an oil leak that meant a pipeline turbine could not run safely.

For live updates from Friday (September 2), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies