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Scholz, Biden, Macron and Johnson are calling for a speedy inspection of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

Against the background of ongoing attacks on the site of Ukraine's Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the heads of state and government of Germany, the USA, France and Great Britain have called for a speedy inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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Scholz, Biden, Macron and Johnson are calling for a speedy inspection of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

Against the background of ongoing attacks on the site of Ukraine's Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the heads of state and government of Germany, the USA, France and Great Britain have called for a speedy inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the same time, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), US President Joe Biden and his French colleague Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for "military restraint" in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said on Sunday.

The four heads of state and government exchanged views on the international situation on Sunday afternoon. The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has been occupied by the Russian army since March and has been repeatedly shelled since the end of July. The attacks raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe at Europe's largest nuclear power plant. Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for the shelling.

According to the statement by the federal government spokesman, Biden, Scholz, Macron and Johnson also agreed to continue supporting Ukraine to “defend Russian aggression in the long term”.

Another topic of the joint exchange was the situation in the Middle East, the statement said. The main focus was on the negotiations on the international nuclear agreement with Iran and on Tehran's "behaviour" in the region. Talks about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal are now in a crucial phase.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of launching an attack on Ukraine for "completely absurd" reasons. "NATO was never a threat to Russia," he said, denying the accusation that the NATO states had not taken care of Russian security interests before the war at the open day in the Chancellery.

In talks before the start of the war on the subject of Ukraine joining NATO, he assured Putin: "It won't happen in the next 30 years." But Putin does not want to accept liberal, open societies in Europe. Putin has "completely absurd" ideas and explained to him that Belarus and Ukraine, for example, should not actually be separate states.

Olaf Scholz spoke to Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson on the phone on Sunday. They had agreed "that support for Ukraine in defending against Russian aggression would continue in the long term," said German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. With a view to the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which is occupied by Russia, the heads of state and government called for military restraint in its vicinity and a rapid on-site visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has defended German arms deliveries to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia's war of aggression. Vladimir Putin refuses to negotiate the simplest of issues such as international humanitarian law, and there is no response to attempts at mediation, criticized the Greens politician at the Federal Foreign Office at the federal government's open day in Berlin.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko has warned of a nuclear catastrophe from fighting at Ukraine's Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. “The world needs to be aware that if it blows up, there will be a Fukushima or Chernobyl on a multiple scale. This must not happen," the younger brother of the mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko told Times Radio.

The exchange of fire around the power plant, which was occupied by Russian invading troops, continued, Klitschko said. In addition, it is not clear how the Ukrainian experts are doing, who are still in the nuclear power plant and in the hands of the Russians. "It threatens the world," said Klitschko.

From Robert Habeck's point of view, opening the German-Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 would mean giving in to Vladimir Putin. That would indirectly say that Putin is right, the Greens politician and vice chancellor warned at the open day at his ministry in Berlin. "But he didn't!"

During a discussion with visitors, Habeck was asked what difference it makes whether Germany gets Russian gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline as it is currently doing or via Nord Stream 2. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been completed but has not been put into operation. The federal government put the approval process for this in February shortly before the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Despite the gas crisis, Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) does not believe in opening the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to use it to transport gas to Germany is "a poisoned offer," said Kretschmer the “Tagesspiegel” from Sunday. Nord Stream 1 is working and the reduction in gas volume is a reaction to the sanctions imposed.

In a report published on Friday by the editorial network Germany (RND), FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki spoke out in favor of opening the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline in order to fill the gas storage tanks for the winter. The initiative was also rejected in his own party.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of increased Russian attacks around Ukraine's Independence Day on Wednesday. "Russia could do something particularly disgusting and violent in the coming week," Zelenskyy said in his daily video address. As a precaution, all public gatherings are prohibited in the capital Kyiv from Monday to Thursday. A curfew was even imposed in the second largest city of Kharkiv.

On August 24, Ukraine commemorates its independence from the Soviet Union 31 years ago. This year, on the national holiday, she also looks back on the six months since the start of the Russian war of aggression on February 24. Zelenskyi said Russia has done "something disgusting and violent every week" since then. On the Ukrainian Independence Day, however, “something particularly repulsive and violent is to be expected”.

After the death of the daughter of Russian ideologue Alexander Dugin in a car explosion near Moscow, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak rejected Kiev's involvement. "Of course, Ukraine has nothing to do with yesterday's explosion because we are not a criminal state - like the Russian Federation - and certainly not a terrorist state," said Podoliak, according to the Ukrajinska Pravda Internet portal, during a television appearance. Previously, Russian politicians had blamed Ukraine for the killing of the 29-year-old.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has said it has used Kinzhal (“Dagger”) hypersonic missiles in the country three times. In all cases, the properties of the projectiles proved to be "brilliant," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on state television. High value targets were hit on all three occasions. The Kinzhal missiles are part of a new hypersonic arsenal unveiled by President Vladimir Putin in 2018.

The daughter of the influential right-wing nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin was killed in a car explosion near Moscow. The Moscow Region Investigative Committee of Russia said the nighttime explosion was caused by a bomb attached to the car used by Darya Dugina.

Defense politicians from the Greens, SPD and FDP have called for additional arms deliveries to Ukraine from the federal government, even if this could temporarily weaken the Bundeswehr. In a guest article for the "Spiegel", the members of the Bundestag Kristian Klinck (SPD), Sara Nanni (Greens) and Alexander Müller (FDP) criticized the fact that the ability of the Bundeswehr to defend the country and the alliance has been given priority over helping Ukraine.

For Volodymyr Zelenskyj, the victory of his compatriot and heavyweight world champion Alexander Usyk also has a highly symbolic effect. “Difficult, but so important and necessary victory! Defending the world title is a symbol that all those who belong to the Cossacks will not give up their title, but will fight for it and will definitely win!” tweeted Zelenskyy, congratulating Usyk on his victory against the British ex- Champion Anthony Joshua.

A woman and a man from Russia and a Ukrainian have been arrested at a military factory in southern Albania on suspicion of espionage. This was announced by the country's Ministry of Defense. The 24-year-old Russian was arrested after he went to the site of the factory in Gramsh, some 80 kilometers south of the capital Tirana, and took pictures there, the ministry said.

Two soldiers serving as guards were injured when the man allegedly resisted arrest with a stimulant spray. The 33-year-old woman and the 25-year-old Ukrainian were arrested outside the compound and their vehicle was blocked, the ministry said.

The federal government considers the sanctions imposed because of the Ukraine war to be effective and expects an economic slump of up to 15 percent in Russia this year. This emerges from a response from the Federal Ministry of Economics to the Left MP Sören Pellmann, which is available to the German Press Agency. Pellmann doubts the assessment.

The ministry's response said: "The sanctions hit the Russian economy hard and will continue to have an impact. Reliable calculations predict a recession in Russia, which means a reduction in Russian gross domestic product in a range of 6 to 15 percent for the year 2022.” The Council of the EU assumes a decline in Russian gross domestic product by “more than eleven percent”.

On the Ukrainian national holiday on August 24, the country's second-largest city, Kharkiv, is to have a full-day curfew. "Stay at home and heed the warnings," wrote the governor of the Synehub region on the Messenger service Telegram. The city in the north-east of the country normally only has a night-time curfew. Kharkiv is regularly shelled by Russia.

The Ukrainian government expects increased Russian attacks ahead of the August 24 celebrations of Ukraine's Independence Day. "We must all be aware that this week Russia could try to do something particularly ugly, something particularly evil," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening video address. Ukrainians should not allow Moscow to spread despondency and fear around the 31st anniversary of independence from Soviet rule. August 24th also marks the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine 6 months ago.

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