Live: UN chief Guterres demands international access to Ukrainian nuclear plant after attacks

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Issued on: 08/08/2022 – 06:47Modified: 08/08/2022 – 09:57

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for international inspectors to be given access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over the shelling of Europe’s largest atomic plant at the weekend. Follow FRANCE 24’s live coverage of the crisis. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


09:53am: UN chief demands international access to attacked nuclear plant

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday demanded that international inspectors be given access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded blame over weekend shelling of Europe’s largest atomic plan.

Events at the Zaporizhzhia site – where Kyiv alleged that Russia hit a power line on Friday – have alarmed the world.

Guterres said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) needed access to the plant. “We fully support the IAEA in all their efforts in relation to creat(ing) the conditions for stabilisation of the plant,”  he said.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned on Saturday that the latest attack “underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.

09:02am: Ukraine’s first grain shipment bound for Lebanon ‘having a delay’ 

The Razoni, the first ship to have left a Ukrainian port under the UN-backed deal, did not arrive in Lebanon on Sunday as planned, the Ukrainian embassy in Lebanon said.

The embassy said the ship was “having a delay” and “not arriving today”, but gave no details of the cause of the delay, or whether a new arrival date had been scheduled.

The Razoni left Odesa on Monday carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn. On Sunday morning, Refinitiv Eikon data showed the ship off the Turkish coast.

08:48am: Ukrainian shelling delays reopening of bridge in Russia-controlled Kherson

Ukrainian forces again shelled the Antonovsky bridge in the Russian-controlled city of Kherson, damaging construction equipment and delaying its reopening, Interfax news agency quoted a local Russian-appointed official as saying on Monday.

The bridge is one of only two crossing points for Russian forces to territory they have occupied on the western bank of the Dnipro river in southern Ukraine. It has been a key target for Ukrainian forces in recent weeks, with Kyiv using high-precision US-supplied rockets to try to destroy it in possible preparation for a counter-offensive to retake Russian-controlled areas of the south.

Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of Kherson’s city administration, told Interfax there had been no “critical damage” from the latest shelling. He did not say how long this would delay its planned reopening.

08:07am: Highly likely Russia is deploying anti-personnel mines in Donbas, UK intelligence says

Russia is highly likely to be deploying anti-personnel mines along its defensive lines in the Donbas region of Ukraine, Britain said on Monday, without citing evidence.

In Donetsk and Kramatorsk, Russia has highly likely attempted the employment of PFM-1 and PFM-1S scatterable anti-personnel mines, commonly called the ‘butterfly mine’, Britain’s defence ministry said on Twitter.

These are “deeply controversial, indiscriminate weapons”, the ministry said in the regular bulletin.

08:04am: Russia launches assault on eastern Ukrainian cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka

Russian forces launched an assault on two key cities in the eastern Donetsk region over the weekend, Ukraine’s military and local officials said.

Both cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka had been considered key targets of Russia’s ongoing offensive across Ukraine’s east, with analysts saying Moscow needs to take Bakhmut if it is to advance on the regional hubs of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

07:50am: Russia-backed Kherson official dies after attack

Vitaly Gura, an official with the Russian occupying authorities in Ukraine’s Kherson region, has died of his injuries after an assassination attempt, local Moscow-backed authorities said.

Gura, the deputy chief of the Kakhovka district, was attacked at home on Saturday morning and gravely wounded by bullets, a source in the Russian-backed administration told TASS news agency. Kakhovka is about 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Kherson city.

Several assassination attempts have been reported against officials in Ukrainian regions seized by Russia since the start of its military operation in Ukraine in February.

7:44am: Four more grain ships leave Ukrainian ports

Four more ships loaded with grain set off from Ukrainian ports on Sunday, and an additional two on Monday morning, local and international officials said.

Among Sunday’s shipments, three vessels departed from Chornomorsk and one from Odesa, carrying around 170,000 tonnes of agriculture-related merchandise.

On Monday, a ship carrying 11,000 tonnes of soybeans also left the port of Yuzni for Italy, and a second loaded with 48,458 tonnes of corn departed from Chernomorsk for Turkey.

4:05am: UN chief says any attack on a nuclear plant is “suicidal”

Any attack on a nuclear plant is “suicidal”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday after fresh shelling hit a huge atomic power complex in southern Ukraine.

Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for the latest strike at the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power site, which has been under Russian control since the early days of the war.

“Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing. I hope that those attacks will end, and at the same time I hope that the IAEA will be able to access the plant,” Guterres said.

12:25am: American actress Jessica Chastain meets President Zelensky

American actress Jessica Chastain visited Kyiv Sunday in a show of support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine. She also met President Volodymyr Zelensky, who thanked her for her “support”.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

© France Médias Monde graphic studio