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Live: UN warns of 'grave crisis' at Ukraine nuclear plant

France 24 logo France 24 12/08/2022 FRANCE 24
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The UN nuclear chief warned Thursday that “very alarming” military activity at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine could lead to dangerous consequences for the region and called for an end to attacks at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia facility. Follow our live updates for all the latest developments in the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).  

5:45am: UNSC sounds alarm on situation at Ukraine nuclear plant

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog tells the Security Council that fighting near Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has sparked a "grave crisis", after Kyiv and Moscow again accuse each other of shelling near the site.

"This is a serious hour, a grave hour and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) must be allowed to conduct its mission to Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible," Rafael Grossi says.

Both the Russians and Ukrainians say radiation levels at the plant were normal.

Ukraine's nuclear agency Energoatom says the latest strikes were close to one of the plant's six reactors and that radiation sensors were damaged.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urges the international community to "react immediately" to force Moscow's troops to leave the plant, denouncing "Russian nuclear blackmail" in his daily address to the nation.

The United States supports calls by the United Nations and others to establish a demilitarised zone around the plant. 

The tensions have brought back memories of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in then Soviet Ukraine, which killed hundreds of people and spread radioactive contamination over much of Europe.

11:54pm: France urges Russia to immediately withdraw troops from nuclear plant

France is very concerned by the serious threat Russian troops pose to the safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear facilities, the French Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Russia must immediately withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and return full control of the plant to Ukraine, the ministry added.

11:12pm: Zelensky urges world to ‘react immediately’ on Russian-controlled nuclear plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday 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,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

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

8:33pm: Russian officials trained in Iran as part of drone deal, State Department says

Russian officials conducted training in Iran during the last several weeks as part of an agreement on the transfer of drones between the two countries, US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Thursday.

US officials said last month that Washington believed Iran was preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones and that Russian officials had visited Iran to view attack-capable unmanned aerial vehicles.


Video: Alarms raised as Ukraine nuclear plant shelled again (Reuters)

6:54pm: Ukraine seeks to evacuate Donetsk before winter bites

Ukraine aims to evacuate two thirds of residents from areas it controls in the eastern battleground region of Donetsk before winter, partly out of concern people won't be able to stay warm amid war-damaged infrastructure, the deputy prime minister said on Thursday.

The government plans to evacuate some 220,000 people out of around 350,000, including 52,000 children, Iryna Vereshchuk told a news conference.

Late last month Ukraine announced the mandatory evacuation of people from Donetsk region, which has been the scene of fierce fighting with Russia, to save civilian lives.

11:12pm: Zelensky urges world to ‘react immediately’ on Russian-controlled nuclear plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday 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,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

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

6:14pm: US backs calls for a demilitarised zone around Ukraine nuclear power plant

The United States supports calls for a demilitarised zone around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after fighting involving Russian and Ukrainian forces in the vicinity of the plant, a State Department spokesperson said on Thursday.

“Fighting near a nuclear plant is dangerous and irresponsible – and we continue to call on Russia to cease all military operations at or near Ukrainian nuclear facilities and return full control to Ukraine, and support Ukrainian calls for a demilitarised zone around the nuclear power plant," the spokesperson said.

UN secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier on Thursday called for an immediate end to military activity near the facility, Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

5:11pm: Radiation levels around Ukraine nuclear plant 'normal', pro-Russia official says

A pro-Russian official said Thursday radiation levels around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine remained normal after Kyiv and Moscow accused each other of striking the facility.

"No contamination has been recorded at the station, radiation levels are normal," the head of the Moscow-installed regional administration, Yevgeny Balitsky, said on messaging app Telegram.

He said among the infrastructure hit Thursday was a radioactive isotope storage facility. "Staff at the station have been instructed to move to protected premises," he added.

5:03pm: Russian state TV protester gets two months' house arrest

Former Russian TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was placed under house arrest for two months on Thursday in a criminal case where she is charged with spreading fake news about Russia's armed forces, Interfax news agency quoted a Moscow court as saying.

Ovsyannikova has already been fined twice in separate cases for protesting against the war in Ukraine, including by interrupting a live national news bulletin in March, shouting "Stop the war!" and holding up a placard telling viewers not to believe state propaganda.

In the latest case, she faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of distributing information about the Russian army that differs from government accounts.

4:11pm: Ukraine, Russia accuse each other of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant strikes

Russia and Ukraine accused each other on Thursday of shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant ahead of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address global concerns over the facility.

Ukrainian forces "once again struck the Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant," Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Moscow-installed regional administration, said on messaging app Telegram.

"The Russians shelled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant again," Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom said in a statement.

3:37pm: First Ukraine grain deal ship docks in Turkey after Lebanese buyer refused delivery

The first grain ship to depart from Ukraine under a UN-brokered deal docked in Turkey on Thursday after 11 days at sea, Refinitiv data showed, and the ship's agent in Turkey said it would continue to Egypt after unloading part of its cargo.

The Razoni set sail from Ukraine's Odesa port on August 1 under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey between Russia and Ukraine. Eleven other ships have left since then.

While the Razoni was initially headed to Lebanon's Tripoli, Ukraine's embassy in the country said the buyer had refused delivery due to a five-month delay and the ship was looking for a new customer.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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