Temporary bombardment disconnected Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant of the Ukrainian network. Fires caused by bombardment cut the plant’s last remaining power line on Thursday, temporarily disconnecting it from Ukraine’s national grid for the first time in nearly 40 years of operation, the country’s nuclear company Energoatom said.
Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko says UN nuclear watchdog may visit Zaporizhzhia plant in the coming days”. The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, earlier said his team was “very, very close” to be able to go to the factory.
The White House called on Russia to accept a demilitarized zone around the factory, after US President Joe Biden spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Biden congratulated him on the country’s 31st Independence Day, celebrated on Wednesday. Zelenskiy said he had “a great conversation” and thanked Biden for his “unwavering support.” He comes a day after Biden announced nearly $3 billion in new military aid to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft missiles, artillery, anti-drone defenses and radar equipment, the largest tranche of US military aid to date.
Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to increase the size of Russia’s armed forces from 1.9 million to 2.04 million, as the war in Ukraine enters its seventh month with no signs of abating. The Decree of the Russian President seems to indicate the country’s goal of replenishing its army, which was heavily damaged in Ukraine and failed to achieve its goal of capturing the capital, Kyiv.
At least 25 people have been confirmed dead after a Russian rocket strike on a Ukrainian train station. Russian forces on Wednesday attacked a train in the village of Chaplyne in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Deputy Head of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko reported on Telegram that two children were killed in the attack. Russia has since confirmed he was behind the attack.
The mayor of the Russian-occupied town of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, said a building believed to have been used by Russian officials in the area had been “blown up”. Fedorov, who is not in town, posted a video apparently showing damage to the building, which he said was being used to plan a “pseudo-referendum” by Russian-backed authorities over whether the region should join Russia.
The Vatican’s Russian-Ukrainian diplomacy suffered two setbacks on Thursday when the head of the Russian Orthodox Church canceled a meeting with Pope Francis and Ukraine summoned the papal ambassador to complain about Francis’ latest comments on the war. The pontiff upset Kyiv by including Darya Dugina, the daughter of Russian nationalist television broadcaster Alexander Dugin who was killed in a car bomb on Sunday, as among the “innocents” who fell victim to the “madness of war”. Russia blamed Ukrainian intelligence services in the bombing, which Ukraine denies.
Latvia toppled a soviet-era obelisk amid backlash against Russia. The nearly 80-metre (260ft) concrete obelisk topped with Soviet stars was the centerpiece of a monument to the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany, the latest in a series of Soviet monuments slaughtered after Russia invaded Ukraine.
British opposition leader Keir Starmer is planning a trip to Ukraine in the coming months to cement relations with Kyiv. The Labor leader approached the Government this summer over the possibility of a visit as Leader of the Opposition, with Labor writing a letter seen by the Guardian.