In the dispute over the shelling of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Russia has turned to the UN Security Council with allegations against Ukraine. Ukraine is planning "provocations" there, the news agency TASS quoted from a letter from the Russian government to the committee. Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of planning disruptions at the Russian-controlled facility, which is run by Ukrainian technicians.
Against the background of ongoing attacks on the site of the nuclear power plant, the Presidents of Russia and France, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, have also spoken out in favor of a speedy inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In a phone call on Friday, Putin and Macron demanded that IAEA inspectors inspect the power plant “as soon as possible,” according to a Kremlin statement.
Moscow had declared "its willingness to provide the necessary support" for the IAEA inspectors during a visit to Zaporizhia, the statement said. The phone call between Macron and Putin was the first direct exchange between the two heads of state since late May.
For its part, the French presidential office said that Macron spoke out in favor of the “sending as soon as possible” of an expert mission from the IAEA “under conditions previously agreed by Ukraine and the UN”.
Paris also said that Putin had agreed to "reconsider" his demand that the inspectors travel through Russia. The Russian President has agreed that the IAEA mission will arrive "while preserving Ukrainian sovereignty and thus through Ukraine, under government control".
According to information from Paris, Macron and Putin will again exchange views on an IAEA inspection in the coming days.
The nuclear power plant in south-eastern Ukraine, which has been under Russian control since March, is the largest in Europe. It has already been shot at several times. Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for the attacks.
Russia wants to strengthen its Black Sea Fleet after recent setbacks. According to the state news agency TASS, the newly appointed commander Viktor Sokolow announced that it will receive twelve new ships as well as additional aircraft and land vehicles this year. The fleet is fulfilling all its tasks, he said in front of a group of young officers.
Recently, several explosions in military facilities on the Crimean peninsula, where the fleet is stationed, which has been annexed since 2014, have caused a stir. It is said that aircraft in the fleet were also destroyed. Their flagship, the cruiser Moskva, had previously gone down in April – according to Ukrainian sources, it was sunk by a rocket attack. Two months later, the Black Sea Fleet withdrew from the strategically important Snake Island near the Ukrainian port city of Odessa.
Russian gas exporter Gazprom has announced a three-day maintenance shutdown on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. From August 31 to September 2, the only working compressor will be serviced together with Siemens, during which time no gas will flow to Europe. If there are no technical errors, gas transport can then be resumed with a capacity of 33 million cubic meters per day.
According to Infrastructure Minister Olexander Kubrakov, ten more cargo ships are being loaded with grain for export in Ukrainian ports. Kubrakov reports that 25 ships with 630,000 tons of agricultural products have been handled in the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyj since the grain agreement concluded through the mediation of Turkey and the UN.
According to information from both countries, the Presidents of Russia and France, Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin, discussed the situation in Ukraine in a telephone call. Both politicians agreed that a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be granted access to the facility, the French Presidential Office and the Russian news agency Tass reported. According to Tass, Putin has again assigned the government in Kyiv responsibility for the shelling of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and has spoken of the risk of a widespread catastrophe. According to both sides, the two presidents are planning another exchange.
Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia, has sharply criticized calls by FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki for the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline to be opened. "The demands of some German politicians to start Nord Stream 2 for a short time and to close it later are completely irrational," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter. "It's similar to drug addiction when someone says, 'Just one last time!'" Kuleba criticized. "Addiction to Russian gas kills!"
The Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor is imposing fines on the foreign Internet companies TikTok, Telegram, Zoom, Discord and Pinterest. The reason for this is that the companies have not deleted illegal content, the authority said without explaining specific details. In Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine, laws were passed criminalizing content deemed misinformation about the army. It is forbidden, among other things, to speak of the war with Ukraine. According to the official Russian interpretation, the invasion is a special operation to demilitarize the neighboring country.
During his trip to Ukraine, UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the port city of Odessa to see how grain exports recently resumed. Although the resumption of food exports after the grain deal is cause for celebration, he also feels sadness "when I look at this wonderful port and these terminals, which are practically empty," Guterres said, according to the UN southern Ukrainian city.
About a day after heavy Russian rocket attacks on the eastern Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv, the number of dead has risen to 21, according to information from Kyiv. At the same time, nine other people were rescued from the rubble of a hostel, the Ukrainian civil protection service said on Telegram. On the night of Thursday, Kharkiv was shaken by massive attacks, two dormitories and the railway culture center were destroyed.
According to an insider, the explosions at the Saki base in Crimea have severely damaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet. More than half of the fighter jets belonging to the fleet are no longer operational, says the western official.
The naval forces would find it difficult to do more than a "coastal defense flotilla". They are also hampered in their ability to threaten the Ukrainian port of Odessa with amphibious assaults - military operations that use landing ships, but also airplanes and helicopters. The insider sums up that, overall, a virtual stalemate was achieved in the war. "The ground forces of both sides do not have the strength to launch effective offensives that would in any way significantly change the course of the war."
The gas storage facilities in Germany can continue to be filled despite the high gas price. The President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, pointed this out in an interview with the German Press Agency on Friday. According to the most recent data from European gas storage operators, the filling level of all storage facilities was a good 78 percent.
Germany's largest storage facility in Rehden, Lower Saxony, was 58 percent full. For technical reasons, the daily feed-in capacity of this pore storage tank decreases as the filling level increases. The storage facility in Rehden alone accounts for around 18 percent of the entire German storage capacity. On November 1st, the German storage facilities should be at least 95 percent full.
Overall, the gas situation is tense. “But the supply is still stable. However, both industry and private households are suffering from serious price increases,” said Müller. It is "very important" to reduce gas consumption. "Because we have to fear that we will still get too little gas from Russia and that other gas sources from Norway, Belgium, Holland, maybe France, will not be able to fully compensate for this." Therefore, a saving of at least 20 percent of the gas is for all customers an important task for this winter.
The first former cafés of the US company Starbucks have reopened in Russia under a new name. Under the "Star Coffee" logo, which is also visually reminiscent of Starbucks, the new chain welcomed the first customers to its Moscow branches on Friday.
Starbucks withdrew from Russia as a result of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine. Pro-government rapper Timati and a Russian restaurant owner took over the business.
The new company logo is green and brown with white lettering, the well-known Starbucks mermaid has been replaced by a woman with a traditional Russian headdress. The menu has the usual drinks, but no frappuccinos, a type of Starbucks-patented iced coffee. The new chain also wants to continue the Starbucks tradition of writing the customer's name on the beverage cup when ordering.
Russian forces have shelled the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, killing at least five people. The regional authorities announced on Friday that ten other people had been injured in the shelling of the communities. Homes and infrastructure were damaged.
Russian shells fell in the city of Kharkiv northwest of Donetsk on Friday morning. A person died. Russian missiles also hit the port city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. Port facilities and a university building were hit. Authorities reported one person injured in the attacks.
Moscow has again warned of a catastrophe around the Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia, which is occupied by Russian troops. The Ukrainian military is firing at the nuclear plant with weapons supplied by the United States, Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Friday in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, according to the Interfax agency. “If there is a catastrophe, the consequences will be felt in all corners of the world. The responsibility for this will fall on Washington, London and their cronies," he told a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
For days, the Russian and Ukrainian leaders have been blaming each other for the shelling of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. They repeatedly warn of the danger of a nuclear catastrophe. Russia rejects international demands to demilitarize the nuclear power plant - officially on the grounds that the government in Kyiv cannot ensure the safety of the nuclear facilities because of the war.
Two villages on the Russian-Ukrainian border have been evacuated because of a fire in a Russian ammunition depot. The governor of the Belgorod region, northeast of the border with Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Friday that no one was injured in the fire near the village of Timonowo the previous evening.
The fire broke out days after another ammunition depot blew up on Russia's annexed Crimea peninsula. Last week, detonations at a Russian military base destroyed nine warplanes. Ukrainian authorities did not comment on whether the blasts were a result of a Ukrainian attack. However, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hinted at this possibility. Russia blamed acts of sabotage, but gave no details.
According to their own statements, pro-Russian separatists together with Russian troops have occupied other towns in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk. The settlements of Saytseve and Dacha north of the town of Horliwka had been conquered, the separatists announced on Telegram on Friday. So far, a total of 270 settlements in Donetsk have been brought under Russian control, it said. This was initially not independently verifiable. The Ukrainian general staff last commented on Zaitseve on Wednesday and stressed that all Russian attempts to attack there had been "choked off".
After conquering the neighboring Luhansk region in early July, Russian troops in eastern Ukraine have been concentrating on Donetsk for weeks. According to experts, however, they are making rather slow progress.
The rising gas prices are increasing the pressure on the energy group Uniper. "It is clear that if gas prices continue to rise, the losses will increase," said a spokesman on Friday when asked by the financial news agency dpa-AFX. The gas price in Europe had started to soar again in the past few days. The Uniper spokesman did not want to further quantify the losses. This means that additional supportive measures for Uniper are coming closer.
The rescue package agreed in July stipulates that the federal government will be available for further support if the losses for the replacement exceed an amount of 7 billion euros. The prerequisite is that these cannot be offset by operating profits from other business areas. Because of the supply failures for Russian gas, Uniper has to buy other gas on the market for a lot of money in order to fulfill the supply contracts with its customers.
The initiative by FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki to put the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline into operation in accordance with Russian demands has met with cross-party criticism. "Such a proposal strengthens false narratives," Green Party defense politician Sara Nanni told the t-online.de portal on Friday, referring to Russia's politics. FDP politicians also distanced themselves from Kubicki.
The shortage of gas has nothing to do with Nord Stream 2, but "is a political decision by Russia," emphasized Nanni. She recalled that the "unilateral depoliticization" of Nord Stream 2 during the construction of the controversial pipeline "presented us with major problems that the federal government now has to solve in a hurry".
The construction and operation of the pipeline, which is to connect the first floating terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Wilhelmshaven to the gas network, have been approved. This was announced by the State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG) in Hanover on Friday. Natural gas is to be transported through the approximately 26-kilometer-long pipeline, which will be landed at the planned LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven - in the future, the pipeline could also be used to transport hydrogen. The preparatory work for the pipeline had already begun on a construction site in Friedeburg in the district of Wittmund.
The state office announced that the new underground line should connect the LNG terminal with the next connection to the gas pipeline network at the storage facility in Etzel, East Frisia. Particularly time-critical parts of the construction measures were approved early on June 24th. "I am pleased that we were able to complete this process quickly and effectively in less than four months," says LBEG President Carsten Mühlenmeier. The procedure could serve as a benchmark for a rapid conversion of the German energy infrastructure.
Initially, the line will have an annual capacity of up to 10 billion cubic meters. With a further expansion of the gas network in the hinterland, up to 28 billion cubic meters are possible in the medium term, according to earlier information from the gas network operator Open Grid Europe (OGE). Around 150 million euros will be invested in the pipeline.
By importing LNG via Wilhelmshaven, Germany wants to reduce its dependence on gas supplies from Russia. The liquefied natural gas delivered is to be fed into the German gas network via the pipeline at the end of the year after it has been converted into a gaseous state.
According to British information, the Russian military is trying to tie down the Ukrainian armed forces on the front in the north-east with regular attacks on Kharkiv. This is to prevent Ukraine from deploying more troops for counterattacks in other regions, the British Ministry of Defense announced on the basis of a secret service situation report. Since the front is currently only about 15 kilometers away, Kharkiv is also within range of the Russian artillery.
Ukraine's second largest city has come under repeated attacks since the Russian invasion began on February 24. Seventeen people were killed and 42 injured in two Russian attacks on Wednesday and Thursday, according to local authorities. Russia denies targeting civilians.
The Halle-Saalekreis district trade association in Saxony-Anhalt has called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to stop all sanctions against Russia. In an open letter that was available to the editorial network Germany (RND/Thursday), the craftsmen also called for negotiations to end the war against Ukraine.
“We as craftsmen know from many conversations with our customers that the vast majority is not willing to sacrifice their hard-earned standard of living for Ukraine. It's not our war either!", it says, and: "Do you want to be the chancellor who drove Germany to ruin. Do you really want to sacrifice your country?”
The district craftsman criticized Russia's attack on Ukraine as a serious crime and "a clear violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter". However, they are "worried about the future of our children and grandchildren, worried about the continued existence of our businesses, worried about our country".
In addition, one cannot speak of a flawless democratic state in Ukraine. The craftsmen refer to a publication by Transparency International, in which the country took 122nd place in corruption in 2021 - no other European country did worse. "And you want to put Germany at risk for that?" criticize the 16 signatories from all guilds.
If prices continue to rise, the “average earner” will soon no longer be able to pay for his living. Then even normal, necessary manual work would become unaffordable, which in turn would lead to layoffs and the closure of companies.
Surprisingly, German manufacturers raised their prices at record speed in July. Producer prices rose by an average of 37.2 percent, mainly because of expensive energy. "This was the highest increase compared to the same month last year since the survey began in 1949," the Federal Statistical Office announced on Friday. Economists surveyed by the Reuters news agency had expected a decline to 32.0 percent after the figure in June was 32.7 percent. Producer prices increased by 5.3 percent from June to July. "This is also the highest increase compared to the previous month since the beginning of the survey," it said.
Producer prices for energy increased by 105 percent compared to July 2021. Natural gas rose in price by 163.8 percent and electricity by 125.4 percent. Petroleum products cost 41.8 percent more than a year earlier. Light heating oil was more than twice as expensive as a year earlier (up 107.9 percent), while motor fuels were 31.6 percent higher. Food prices rose by a good 21 percent.
Both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin want to attend the G-20 summit on the holiday island of Bali in November. This was announced by the President of Indonesia. “Xi Jinping will come. President Putin also told me that he will come," Joko Widodo said in an interview with Bloomberg. For the first time since Moscow invaded Ukraine, the two have met in person with US President Joe Biden and other Democratic heads of state and government.
In the West, Putin's participation in the summit is considered problematic, especially since Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia, has also been invited. Because of the war of aggression against the neighboring country, Russia is to be politically isolated. Several states have questioned their participation should Putin appear in person.
Tensions between the USA and China had recently increased again due to the visit of the Chairperson of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.
According to the Russian air defense system, drones were shot down over the Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow. The anti-aircraft missiles rendered the drones harmless near the Belbek airfield near Sevastopol, Russian officials said. A similar action took place in the city of Kerch.
In recent weeks there have been explosions on the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, destroying combat aircraft and damaging military airfields. In the last such incident, Russia spoke of “acts of sabotage”, Ukraine claimed no responsibility for the explosions.
According to the authorities, Estonia's new entry restrictions for Russian citizens have not had any major impact on the situation at the border. "Our work at the border crossing is currently taking place at a fairly normal rhythm," said border guard Mark Smirnov from the control point in Narva of the German Press Agency. The restrictions would have “not significantly increased the workload”. The situation is very similar at the other two crossings on the Estonian-Russian border in Luhamaa and Koidula, the police and border protection authority in Tallinn said on request.
Since Thursday, Russian citizens have not been allowed to enter the Baltic EU and NATO country with a Schengen visa issued by Estonia. However, certain exceptions apply, for example, to Russians who are resident, have the right to stay or have relatives in Estonia. Russian citizens with visas issued by other EU members, which apply to the entire Schengen area with its 26 European countries, are also allowed to enter the country. Estonia is therefore campaigning for a fundamental freeze on tourist visas in the EU.
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