Ukraine cedes some territory in the east in the face of an enormous Russian offensive – now in its 163rd day – and NATO says Moscow must not be allowed to win.

Russian troops took control of the plant in March after President Vladimir Putin sent troops in to Ukraine on February 24.
Russian troops took control of the plant in March after President Vladimir Putin sent troops in to Ukraine on February 24. (Reuters)

Friday, August 5, 2022

Russia accuses Ukraine of striking Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Russia has accused the Ukrainian army of striking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, and charged that the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy was committing acts of "nuclear terrorism."

"Ukrainian armed units carried out three artillery strikes on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the city of Energodar," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

"We are urging international organisations to condemn the criminal actions of the Zelenskyy regime, which is carrying out acts of nuclear terrorism."

Ukraine buries agricultural 'titan' killed in missile strike

Orthodox chants of mourning resounded in a packed central Kiev cathedral as Ukraine buried an agricultural tycoon with his wife after they were killed in a missile strike that hit his home last weekend.

Oleksiy Vadaturskyi, co-founder and director of one of Ukraine's largest agricultural holdings, was killed with his wife in his southern hometown of Mykolaiv by what Kiev says was an S-300 missile fired by Russia.

The sudden death of the 74-year-old, described as a "titan of Ukraine's agricultural sector" by one national farmers association, sent shockwaves through a domestic grain industry that has been devastated by Russia's offensive.

Russian-backed Kherson administration denies its leader is in coma

The deputy head of the Moscow-backed administration in Ukraine's occupied Kherson region has denied reports that the administration's head, Volodymyr Saldo, had suffered a stroke and was in a coma.

In a statement on Telegram, Kirill Stremousov said the reports were "part of Ukraine's information war against Russia", although he confirmed that Saldo was ill and said he was "resting".

The Russian state-run broadcaster RT had previously reported that Saldo, a former mayor of the city of Kherson who was appointed to head the region of the same name when Russian troops overran it in early March, was in a coma and on life support.

Russia imposes entry bans on over 60 Canadians: ministry

Russia has said it was imposing entry bans on 62 Canadian citizens including government officials in a retaliatory move.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the list included figures known for "their malicious activity in the fight against the 'Russian world' and our traditional values".

Moscow said the bans came in retaliation for Canada's sanctions against Russian figures including journalists and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, in June and July.

Ukraine war making 40M people go hungry, Africa to bear brunt: US

The United States' ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said Russia's incursion of Ukraine will cause 40 million people to become food insecure and that sub-Saharan Africa will be hardest hit.

The US has secured $4.5 billion for food security at the G7 summit, of which it has contributed $2.76 billion.

While energy, climate change, the pandemic and conflict are the root causes of global food supply issues, the "most insidious source" is hunger used intentionally as a weapon of war, she said.

African governments have largely avoided taking sides in the European conflict, and have refused to join Western condemnation and sanctions.

Putin and Erdogan agree to boost cooperation

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has visited Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin focusing on a grain deal brokered by Türkiye, prospects for talks on ending hostilities in Ukraine, the situation in Syria and growing economic ties between Moscow and Ankara.

Türkiye mediated a deal signed by Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations in Istanbul last month under which grain exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports resumed after months of being blocked.

In the statement, Putin and Erdogan stressed the need for "the full implementation of the Istanbul agreement, including the unimpeded export of Russia's grain, fertiliser and raw materials for their production."

Amnesty says 'fully stands by' report on Ukraine criticised by Kiev

Amnesty International has said it stands by its accusation that Ukraine is endangering civilians by creating army bases in residential areas to counter Russian forces, after a report from the rights group prompted a furious response from Kiev.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had lashed out Amnesty over the report published on Thursday, saying the rights group was drawing a false equivalence between Ukraine as victim of aggression and the Russia as aggressor.

Amnesty "fully stands by our research," the organisation's Secretary General Agnes Callamard told AFP in emailed comments.

Russia bans Western investors from selling banking, key energy stakes

Russia has banned investors from so-called unfriendly countries from selling shares in key energy projects and banks until the end of the year, stepping up pressure in the sanctions stand-off with the West.

Western countries and allies, including Japan, have piled financial restrictions on Russia since it sent troops into Ukraine in late February.

Moscow retaliated with obstacles for Western businesses and their allies leaving Russia, and in some cases seized their assets.

The decree signed by President Vladimir Putin and published on Friday, immediately bans investors from countries which supported sanctions on Russia from selling their assets in production sharing agreements (PSA), banks, strategic entities, companies producing energy equipment, as well as in other projects, from oil and gas production to coal and nickel.

Ukrainian frontline city imposes weekend curfew to root out collaborators

Ukraine's southern frontline city of Mykolaiv will impose an unusually long curfew from late Friday to early Monday morning as authorities try to catch people collaborating with Russia, the region's governor said.

Mykolaiv, which has been shelled throughout Russia's offensive, lies close to Russian-occupied parts of the strategically important region of Kherson where Ukraine plans to conduct a counteroffensive.

Vitaliy Kim, governor of the Mykoliav region, told residents the curfew running from 2000 GMT (11pm local) Friday to 5am local Monday did not mean the city was under threat or facing a looming attack.

3 more ships with grain depart Ukraine ports under UN deal

Three more ships carrying thousands of tons of corn have left Ukrainian ports and traveled mined waters toward inspection of their delayed cargo, a sign that an international deal to export grain was slowly progressing.

The ships bound for Ireland, the United Kingdom and Türkiye follow the first grain shipment to pass through the Black Sea since the start of the conflict.

The passage of the vessel heading for Lebanon earlier this week was the first under the breakthrough deal brokered by Türkiye.

While the resumed shipments have raised hopes of easing a global food crisis, much of the backed-up cargo is for animal feed, not for people to eat, experts say.

Ukraine calls for Black Sea grain deal to extend to other products 

Ukraine has called for the deal that relaxes Russia's blockade of its Black Sea grain exports to be extended to include other products, such as metals, the Financial Times reported.

"This agreement is about logistics, about the movement of vessels through the Black Sea," Ukraine's Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka told FT.  "What's the difference between grain and iron ore?"

World food prices drop again after Ukraine grain pact: UN

World food prices fell sharply in July, partly thanks to a Türkiye-brokered and United Nations-backed deal between Ukraine and Russia lifting a sea blockade that had stopped Ukrainian grain shipments, a UN agency said.

While prices remain high, they have now dropped for a fifth straight month, falling by 8.6 percent in July compared to June, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation's food price index .

The biggest drop was for vegetable oil prices, which fell by 19.2 percent between June and July to hit a 10-month low. The cereal price index logged a monthly drop of 11.5 percent, the FAO said.

Russia may not meet 2022 grain harvest target: Ministry

Russia may not reach its expected harvest of 130 million tonnes of grain due to weather factors and a lack of spare parts for foreign equipment, the agriculture ministry has said.

"Taken together, all of this creates risks in terms of reaching the grain harvest figure of 130 million tonnes," the ministry said. It said that if it does not meet the planned volumes, it will have to revise its export plans of 50 million tonnes.

Ukrainian farmers in the active conflict zones are risking their lives in order to harvest, but some have nowhere to store their grain as the warehouses were destroyed by Russian strikes.
Ukrainian farmers in the active conflict zones are risking their lives in order to harvest, but some have nowhere to store their grain as the warehouses were destroyed by Russian strikes. (AA)

Russian-backed separatists say they have taken Pisky village in east Ukraine

Russian and pro-Russian forces have taken full control of Pisky, a village on the outskirts of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, TASS news agency has cited separatist forces as saying.

They also said that fighting was taking place in the city of Bakhmut, north of Donetsk.

The Ukrainian military said on Thursday Russian forces had mounted at least two assaults on Pisky but had been repelled.

UK: Russia’s actions at Zaporizhzhia power plant likely undermine its security, safety

The actions taken by Russian forces at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has likely undermined security and the safety of the plant's normal operations, UK said.

"Russian forces have probably used the wider facility area, in particular the adjacent city of Enerhodar, to rest their forces, utilising the protected status of the nuclear power plant to reduce the risk to their equipment and personnel from overnight Ukrainian attacks," the UK said in an intelligence update on Twitter.

Russia's intentions regarding the plant remain unclear after five months of its military attack against Ukraine.

Russia claims it destroyed two US-made howitzers in Ukraine 

Russia's defence ministry says it has destroyed two US-made M777 howitzers in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, Russian news agencies have reported.

The information could not been verified from either side.

Russia expels 14 Bulgarian diplomats

Russia has said it will expel 14 Bulgarian consular and embassy staff in response to Sofia's "unmotivated" decision to expel 70 Russian diplomatic personnel as tensions rage over Moscow's offensive in Ukraine.

"We believe that such actions not only cause significant damage to traditional ties between our countries... but also testify to the further degradation of the collective West, which is ready to sacrifice the interests of partners in order to harm Russia," the ministry said.

Zelenskyy accuses Amnesty of excusing Russian 'terrorist state'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has condemned Amnesty International for excusing Russian acts of "terror" after the rights group said Kiev's forces were endangering civilians by establishing bases in residential areas.

Amnesty had tried to "amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim", Zelensky said in his daily address.

"There is no condition, even hypothetically, under which any Russian strike on Ukraine becomes justified. Aggression against our state is unprovoked, invasive and terrorist," he added.

For live updates from Thursday (August 4), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies