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War in Ukraine: "the hour is serious" at the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, according to the IAEA

Located in the middle of a battlefield, it is the subject of many concerns.

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War in Ukraine: "the hour is serious" at the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, according to the IAEA

Located in the middle of a battlefield, it is the subject of many concerns. The site of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, the largest in Europe, was again bombed on Thursday. Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of the attack, while the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency asked to be able to access it "as quickly as possible" during a meeting of urgency of the Security Council. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also warned of a risk of "catastrophe".

"The situation is serious," the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday before the UN Security Council, demanding access to the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant that Moscow and kyiv accuse each other of having bombed. "The IAEA must be authorized to carry out its mission in Zaporijjia as quickly as possible", claimed Rafael Grossi.

"Time is running out," he insisted, as the IAEA has been trying for weeks to send a mission to inspect the plant. A mission that kyiv and Moscow accuse each other - also - of slowing down. The site of the Zaporijjia power plant, the largest in Europe, under Russian control since the beginning of March, was targeted on Thursday. During these bombings, several radiation sensors were damaged.

"At present, no contamination has been detected at the station and the level of radioactivity is normal", however affirmed Evguéni Balitski, the head of the civil and military administration set up in this region of the south-west. eastern Ukraine, occupied by the Russians.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on the international community to "react immediately" to get the Russians out of the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is the target of bombardments. "Only the complete withdrawal of the Russians and the resumption of full control by Ukraine over the plant would guarantee nuclear security for all of Europe", declared the Ukrainian president in his daily video address, denouncing the "Russian nuclear blackmail".

The United States has called on Russia to cease all military operations in and around nuclear power plants in Ukraine and said it supports kyiv's call for a "demilitarized zone" in Zaporizhia. “Fighting near a nuclear power plant is dangerous and irresponsible,” a State Department spokesperson said, adding that “the United States continues to call on Russia to cease all military operations in and around nuclear power plants. nuclear weapons and return full control to Ukraine". For his part, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of the risk of "catastrophe", shortly before an emergency meeting of the Security Council on this subject, at the request of Russia.

On Tuesday August 9, explosions took place in an ammunition depot on a military airfield on the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014 by Russia. These were presented by Moscow as due to an accident, the Russian authorities claiming that no bombardment was the cause of the explosions which left at least one dead and seven injured. But satellite images released Thursday by Maxar Technologies seem to contradict this version. They show that the airfield "was hit by something" and that at least nine planes were destroyed, Danish analyst Oliver Alexander told AFP.

"If it was an accident, it would have taken four or five people throwing their cigarettes in one place or hitting the bombs with a hammer, that's very unlikely," he added. The exact cause of the explosions - a sabotage operation or a Ukrainian missile strike - remains unknown, however, says the expert. Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative journalism group Bellingcat, points out that the images show three craters and "a massive fire across the base". "These craters can be interpreted as the result of precise strikes with a long-range weapon," he wrote on Twitter.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and several other senior officials of his country traveled to a pro-Russian separatist region in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, calling for further closer ties with Moscow. This is one of the largest Russian delegations to visit eastern Ukraine since the start of the Moscow offensive on February 24.

In a statement published on Telegram, Dmitry Medvedev said he "had talks about the priority measures to be taken to ensure the security of the Donbass republics, on the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Particular attention has been paid to harmonizing the legislation” of the separatist regions with those of Russia, as well as to the repair of infrastructure and the preparation of schools for the start of the new school year, he added. In addition to Dmitri Medvedev, the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergueï Kirienko, the Minister of the Interior, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, and the head of the security services (FSB), Alexandre Bortnikov, were notably present.

1.5 billion euros for the equipment and training of Ukrainian troops have been collected at an international conference bringing together 26 countries in Copenhagen, the Danish Minister of Defense announced on Thursday. "All participating nations have pledged support, training activities, demining, some concrete donations," Morten Bødskov said at a press conference.

“This five billion is put on the table today and it is money that is going to be used in 2022 and next year,” he explained. The exact amounts of donations from all countries, including France, Germany and the United States, have not been made public. But Denmark has announced an additional envelope of 114 million dollars, bringing its effort to nearly 417 million since the start of the Russian invasion. Great Britain, which co-hosted the meeting with its Scandinavian ally and Ukraine, pledged 300 million euros.

A visa ban for all Russians to punish Moscow for the war in Ukraine will be discussed at the end of August by the European Union, said Friday the head of Czech diplomacy Jan Lipavsky, whose country chairs the Council of the EU. The measure, demanded by the Ukrainian authorities, divides the EU. European sanctions must be adopted unanimously by the Twenty-Seven.

"A total ban on Russian visas by all EU member states could be another very effective sanction against Russia," argued Jan Lipavsky. The minister will sound out his counterparts during an informal meeting at the end of August in Prague. "In this period of Russian aggression, which the Kremlin continues to intensify, there can be no question of tourism as usual for Russian citizens," he argued.

However, the Czech minister must convince the head of European diplomacy, the Spaniard Josep Borrell, who chairs the councils of foreign affairs and defense ministers. Proposals for sanctions are one of its prerogatives. Finland and the Baltic states are among the states in favor of a Europe-wide visa ban for Russian tourists.

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