Fierce fighting between Moscow and Kiev continues in eastern and southern territories on day 169 of the conflict even as both sides trade blame for imperilling Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with attacks nearby.

Bombardment near the plant has raised the spectre of a nuclear catastrophe in Ukraine.
Bombardment near the plant has raised the spectre of a nuclear catastrophe in Ukraine. (AFP)

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Ukraine calls for end to Russian control of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the international community to "react immediately" to force Russian forces to leave the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant targeted by shelling in recent days.

"The entire world must react immediately to chase out the occupiers from Zaporizhzhia," Zelenskyy said in his daily video address.

"Only the Russians' full withdrawal... would guarantee nuclear safety for all of Europe," he added, condemning "Russian nuclear blackmail".

The bombardment near the plant also occurred last week, raising the spectre of a nuclear catastrophe in a country that suffered the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Russia doubles rate of air strikes on Ukraine positions

Russia has doubled the number of air strikes on Ukraine's military positions and civilian infrastructure compared with the previous week, Ukrainian Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov said.

"The enemy's planes and helicopters avoid flying into the range of our air defences, and therefore the accuracy of these strikes is low," he told a news conference.

Ukraine, Russia blame each other for shelling of nuclear plant

Ukraine and Russia-installed local officials blamed each other for a renewed shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex in southern Ukraine.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate end to military activity near the plant, the largest in Europe, which Russia seized in March.

Ukraine's nuclear power company Energoatom said the plant's area was struck five times on Thursday, including near the site where radioactive materials are stored, but nobody was injured and radiation levels remained normal.

Satellite images show destruction at Russian air base in Crimea

Released satellite pictures have shown devastation at a Russian air base in Crimea, hit in an attack that suggested Kiev may have obtained new long-range strike capability.

Pictures from independent satellite firm Planet Labs showed three near-identical craters where buildings at Russia's Saki air base had been struck with apparent precision. The base, on the southwest coast of Crimea, suffered extensive fire damage with the burnt-out husks of at least eight destroyed warplanes clearly visible.

Russia has denied aircraft were damaged and said explosions at the base on Tuesday were accidental. Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack or said exactly how it was carried out.

Donors pledge more than $1.55B for Ukraine -Denmark

A group of 26 countries have pledged more than $1.55 billion in aid to boost Ukraine's military capabilities in its war against Russia, Danish Defence Minister Morten Bodskov told a news conference. 

Ukraine expects $3B US financial aid in August

Ukraine expects $3 billion of US financial aid to arrive in August and a further $1.5 billion in September, Finance Minister Sergiy Marchenko has said.

Marchenko said the payments were part of the $7.5 billion financial aid package agreed by Ukraine and the United States at the start of the summer and would be used to finance "critical spending" such as healthcare and pension costs.

Russia claims shooting down Ukrainian helicopter

Russia has claimed that it shot down a Mi-24 military helicopter belonging to the Ukrainian army near the Dnipro region of Ukraine.

In a statement on the Russian-Ukraine conflict, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that the Russian forces continue their attacks on the military elements in Ukraine and that 50 percent of the soldiers of the 14th and 66th mechanised brigades of the Ukrainian armed forces were neutralised.

He said that 20 brigade and battalion command posts and 8 ammunition depots were hit, adding that 1 S-300 anti-aircraft missile system locator near Kramatorsk was also destroyed. The spokesperson said that 7 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were also destroyed over the last 24 hours.

Moscow accuses Kiev of 'nuclear terrorism'

Russia has accused Kiev on the "nuclear terrorism," claiming that Ukrainian shelling of the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant could lead to a disaster worse than the notorious 1986 Chernobyl accident.

On Wednesday, the G-7 and EU voiced concern over the threats posed by Russia's possession of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, urging Moscow to hand over the war-torn country's nuclear facilities to the government in Kiev.

Ukraine and Russian officials blamed each other for the shelling of the power plant.

UK-UAE coordination on Ukraine important for the world - UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on a call that co-operation between the two countries on Ukraine and regional stability was "hugely important for the world", Johnson's spokesperson said.

"The Prime Minister praised the Crown Prince's success in bringing prosperity to both the UAE and the Gulf more generally," the Downing Street spokesperson said.

"He (Johnson) expressed his confidence that this co-operation will continue in the years ahead."

Germany rejects calls for EU ban on tourist visas for Russians

Germany has rejected calls for an EU ban on tourist visas for Russian citizens, stressing that sanctions should not harm innocent people.

“This war is Putin’s war,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference in Berlin, adding that EU sanctions should target President Putin and those responsible for the conflict in Ukraine.

“We have adopted far-reacting, concrete sanctions against many Russian officials, oligarchs, and powerful groups in Russia and we’ll certainly continue to take further steps,” he said.

Guatemala hails Turkish diplomacy's role in Ukraine conflict

The foreign minister of Guatemala has praised Türkiye's role as a mediator since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict over five months ago.

"I admire the role played by Turkish diplomacy here (in the Ukraine conflict). I would like to thank the (Turkish) Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mevlut Cavusoglu) as well. They made a very important agreement (the grain deal) and gave hope to the world . This was a very important step for all of us, for Türkiye. You gave hope to the world," Mario Bucaro Flores told Turkish envoys on the fourth day of the 13th Ambassadors Conference in Ankara.

On July 22, Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul to reopen three Ukrainian Black Sea ports for exporting Ukrainian grain stuck due to the conflict.

Britain says sanctions also impact Russia's defence sector

The European Union's full ban on Russian coal imports have kicked in at a time when British defence intelligence said that Western sanctions were increasingly having an impact, even on Russia's defence exports.

Britain said that Moscow was already strained by the need to produce armoured fighting vehicles for its troops in Ukraine and hence “is highly unlikely to be capable of fulfilling some export orders,” in a sector it has long taken pride in.

The British defence intelligence update, highlighting “the increasing effect of Western sanctions,” links with Western belief that the series of measures they imposed on the Kremlin since the February 24 offensive on Ukraine are increasingly having an impact on the Russian economy.

UK, Denmark to supply additional aid, weapons to Ukraine

Britain and Denmark have announced more aid to Ukraine in the form of money and weapons in connection with an international donor conference in Copenhagen.

Britain in a statement said it will supply Ukraine with more multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the supply of weapons would help Ukraine defend itself against Russian heavy artillery.

Denmark will meanwhile increase its financial aid to Ukraine by $113.6 million, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told the conference attended by several European defence ministers.

Latvian parliament declares Russia 'state sponsor of terrorism'

Latvian MPs have adopted a statement declaring Russia a "state sponsor of terrorism" and said its actions in Ukraine constituted "targeted genocide against the Ukrainian people".

The statement said the parliament "recognises Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, and calls on other like-minded countries to express the same view".

MPs said they considered "Russia's violence against civilians committed in pursuit of political aims as terrorism". They also condemned its use of cluster munitions "to sow fear and indiscriminately kill civilians".

Belarus dismisses reported explosions at airfield near Ukraine

Moscow's ally Belarus has played down reports of overnight explosions at a military airbase near the border with Ukraine that is said to be used by Russian troops.

"On August 10, at around 23:00 (2000 GMT), during a test run, a piece of equipment that had its engine replaced caught fire," the Belarusian defence ministry said in a statement.

It added that the fire was extinguished "in a timely manner" and there were no casualties.

Russia: Switzerland cannot represent its interests in Ukraine

The Russian foreign ministry has said that Switzerland could not represent Ukrainian interests in Russia and Moscow's interests in Ukraine because it is no longer a neutral country.

"Switzerland... has stopped being a neutral state and joined sanctions (against Russia)," Russian foreign ministry official Ivan Nechayev said.

Creditors agree to 2-year pause on Ukraine $20B debt

Ukraine's lenders have agreed to a pause for the payment of its $20 billion debt, as its economy has been severely impacted by Russia's attacks on the country, the prime minister has said.

"Investors in Ukraine's foreign debt agreed to postpone payments until 2024. It allows Ukraine to maintain macro-financial stability and strengthen economic sustainability", Denys Shmygal tweeted on Wednesday.

Holders of about 75 percent of Ukraine's debt agreed to the pause, the finance ministry said in a press release.

Pro-Russia rebels: Ukraine shells brewery, causing ammonia leak in Donetsk

Pro-Russian separatists have accused Ukraine of shelling a brewery in the occupied eastern city of Donetsk, killing one person and triggering a leak of ammonia, Interfax news agency reported.

The emergency ministry in the Russian-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said a shell had hit an ammonia line late at night, sparking a fire that at one point covered 6,500 square feet. 

Pictures from the scene showed flames lighting the sky above one part of the city as well as firefighters donning masks. One picture appeared to show a corpse on the ground.

For live updates from Wednesday (August 10), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies