The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power in southeast Ukraine amid shelling by Russian forces, March 4, 2022
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1637 GMT:
Russian shelling of residential areas has killed one person and injured 10 in Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovska region and Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Nikopol is across the Dnipro River from the Russian military base at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex.
UPDATE 1538 GMT:
Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto says Oslo will cut visas to Russian nationals by 90% from September 1.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says Vilnius will only issue visas to Russian tourists for humanitarian reasons, urging the European Union to follow.
Russians have been using Finland and the Baltic States to reach other holiday destinations in Europe.
Six EU countries — Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia — now support visa restrictions, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has spoken out against the step.
UPDATE 1519 GMT:
Russian media are reporting that part of a railway used for freight trains in the Kursk region in western Russia has been blown up.
Russia’s security service says “Ukrainian saboteurs” blew up six towers of high-voltage power lines coming from the Kursk nuclear power plant on August 4, 9, and 12.
UPDATE 1200 GMT:
Russia’s Defense Ministry is acknowledging an “act of sabotage” in this morning’s attacks on an electrical substation and an ammunition depot in occupied northern Crimea (see 0620 GMT).
The Ministry said, “Damage was caused to a number of civilian facilities, including power lines, a power plant, a railway track, as well as a number of residential buildings. There are no serious injuries.”
There are unconfirmed reports of another attack in Crimea, on a Russian military base in Simferopol in the south of the peninsula.
Andriy Yermak, Chief of Staff to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said, “’Operation Demilitarization’ in the jewellery [precise] style of the Armed Forces will continue until the complete de-occupation of Ukrainian territories.”
UPDATE 0725 GMT:
UK military intelligence assesses that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is struggling to “exercise effective sea control” and is having to take an “extremely defensive posture” after a series of Ukrainian attacks.
Russian patrols are usually limited to waters within sight of the Crimean coast
The British analysts say the “limited effectiveness” of the Black Sea Fleet is undermining the Russian invasion strategy, “in part because the amphibious threat to Odesa — the port in southern Ukraine with a population of 1 million “has now been largely neutralized”.
UPDATE 0701 GMT:
Troops of the Russian proxy “Luhansk People’s Republic” are reportedly refusing to fight in the Russian offensive in the neighboring Donetsk region.
Video appears to show the LPR’s Battalion 2740 declaring its refusal. The soldiers say that they celebrated victory on July 3, Russia and its proxies reached the borders of Luhansk, and that their work is done.
Один из батальонов штурмовой пехоты z-nazi взбунтовался pic.twitter.com/wA9WRb4oRL
— IgorGirkin (@GirkinGirkin) August 15, 2022
UPDATE 0620 GMT:
There have been more explosions in Russian-occupied Crimea, with video showing blasts in and near Dzhankoi.
Russian State outlet RIA Novosti initially reported that a transformer substation in Dzhankoi caught fire about 6 a.m. Later, the Russian proxy head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, confirmed local reports of a second blaze at an ammunition depot in the village of Maiskoye.
Aksyonov wrote on Telegram, “I left for the village of Mayskoye, Dzhankoy district. The circumstances of the incident are being investigated. I will inform you as information becomes available.”
Local officials announced an evacuation within a 5-km (3-mile) zone. Trains were halted because of damage to a railway line near the ammunition depot.
Last week the Ukrainian military carried out an operation against Russia’s Saky airbase in western Crimea, far from the frontline in the south of the country.
At least eight Russian warplanes were destroyed and the runway was damaged.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine President advisor Volodymyr Zelenskiy, tweeted:
Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions. A reminder: Crimea of normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 16, 2022
Fellow Presidential advisor Anton Gerashchenko circulated footage of this morning’s explosions.
Explosions at the ammunition depot – media in the occupied Crimea pic.twitter.com/6zowH6H6Nw
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) August 16, 2022
UPDATE 0614 GMT:
The first cargo of Ukrainian foodstuffs for Africa since the Russian invasion has left the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi.
The Brave Commander is expected to arrive in Ethiopia in two weeks.
Five ships with Ukrainian corn and wheat — two from Yuzhny and three from Chernomorsk — departed from ports on Monday.
UPDATE 0606 GMT:
Russia’s proxy in eastern Ukraine is threatening the death penalty against five more Europeans.
The “Donetsk People’s Republic” has opened the trial of Mathias Gustafsson of Sweden, Vjekoslav Prebeg of Croatia, and John Harding, Andrew Hill, and Dylan Healy of the UK.
The men pleaded not guilty to their charges. Harding, Prebeg, and Gustafsson, captured when Russian forces overran Mariupol in southern Ukraine, face execution for attempting to “seize power by force” and “taking part in armed conflict as mercenaries”. Hill is charged with being a mercenary, and Healy for taking part in the recruitment of mercenaries.
The next court hearing is scheduled for October.
In June, the DPR condemned to death Britons Aiden Aslin and Sean Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia has set conditions on any visit to the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — used as a base by Russian forces for attacks on Ukrainian-held territory — by the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Monday that “in close contact with the IAEA, the UN secretariat has assessed that it has in Ukraine the logistics and security capacity to be able to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from Kyiv”.
However, a Russian diplomat immediately put up an obstacle to the mission, declaring that it cannot go through the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s nuclear proliferation and arms control department, said:
Imagine what it means to pass through Kyiv – it means they get to the nuclear plant through the front line.
This is a huge risk, given that Ukraine’s armed forces are not all made up in the same way.
Vishnevetsky also restated Moscow’s refusal to demilitarize the nuclear complex, the largest in Europe with six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors.
UN Secretary General António Guterres has appealed, “The facility should not be used as part of any military operations.” However, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia vetoed any withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment, “The demilitarization of the station can make it vulnerable to those who want to visit it. No one knows what their goals and objectives will be.”
Under pressure from the international community over safety at the plant, the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier on Monday that it would permit an IAEA mission. The Defense Ministry then announced that Defense Minister Sergey Shogyu and the UN’s Guterres had spoken by phone.
Russia “Disregards Safety, Security, and Safeguards”
Russian forces have used their position at the plant to regularly shell Ukrainian-held cities and towns across the Dnipro River, using the reactors as a shield against any return fire.
On Sunday, Russian forces again shelled the city of Nikopol, striking 17 residential buildings, a school, and several shops. Several thousand residents are without electricity after gas and power lines were hit.
A statement from 42 countries on Monday supported the UN’s call on Russia to demilitarize the complex: “[Deployment] disregards the safety, security, and safeguards principles that all members of the IAEA have committed to respect.”
Signatories include the European Union, the US, Japan, Turkey, Canada, and the UK.
Restating that “Russia does not stop its blackmail”, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Monday night for a full, unconditional withdrawal from Zaporizhzhia.
The President noted the 42-country statement and continued:
If a terrorist state allows itself to completely ignore the demands of the international community, especially in such a sensitive topic, this clearly indicates the need for immediate action….
We need to move from discussions and calls to new tough sanctions against Russia, against Rosatom and the entire nuclear industry of the terrorist state….
If now the world lacks the strength and determination to protect one nuclear plant, it means that the world loses. Loses to terrorists. Gives in to nuclear blackmail. And this may be a precedent that other terrorists will see.
There is still a chance to prevent this defeat.