Live: UN Security Council to discuss Ukraine nuclear plant crisis
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to address the crisis at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex, the power plant that Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of having bombed, diplomatic sources said. Follow our live updates for all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
8:40pm: UN Security Council to discuss Ukraine nuclear plant crisis
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to address the crisis at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex, the power plant that Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of having bombed, diplomatic sources said.
A source in the Security Council presidency, currently held by China, told AFP on Wednesday that the meeting would occur August 11 at 3:00 pm (1900 GMT).
A second diplomatic source at United Nations headquarters in New York said the council’s 15 member nations would gather at the request of Russia, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council — along with Britain, China, France and the United States — which hold veto power over UN resolutions.
8:21pm: First Ukrainian wheat shipments expected next week, UN says
The first wartime wheat from Ukraine should ship next week under a landmark deal also signed by Russia aimed at tackling the global food crisis, a top UN official said on Wednesday.
The first 12 ships to leave the three Black Sea ports designated by the agreement were carrying 370,000 tonnes of corn and foodstuffs, according to Frederick Kenney, interim UN coordinator at the joint centre in Istanbul overseeing the deal.
But that should change once the ships docked in Ukraine when Russian invaded its neighbour in February leave their ports and new ones come in to pick up wheat that has accumulated with this year’s harvest, Kenney told reporters. “We are dealing with three ports that were essentially frozen in time,” Kenney said. “The silos were full of corn and the ships that were there have been loaded with corn,” he continued.
5:28pm: Ukraine’s creditors agree 2-year freeze on $20 billion overseas debt
Ukraine’s overseas creditors have backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday, a move that will allow the war-torn country to avoid a debt default.
With no sign of peace or a ceasefire on the horizon nearly six months after Russia’s invasion began on February 24, bondholders have agreed to postpone sovereign interest and capital payments for 13 Ukrainian sovereign bonds maturing between 2022 and 2033.
The government in Kyiv launched a consent solicitation, which is a formal request to agree with creditors on changes to sovereign debt contracts, on July 20.
5:10pm: Ukraine says it made bridge in Russian-held Kherson region ‘unusable’
The Ukrainian army said Wednesday it struck and made unusable a bridge in the Russian-held Kherson region, after hitting another key bridge in the same area a few days before.
A “precise and efficient strike” against a bridge near the Kakhovka hydropower plant made it “unusable”, the Operational Command “South” said on Facebook.
Another bridge in the same region, the Antonivskiy bridge – deemed to be strategic for Russian military logistics – was hit a few days earlier, the Ukrainian armed forces had reported on Monday.
4:41pm: China calls US ‘main instigator’ of Ukraine crisis
China, which Russia has sought as an ally since being cold-shouldered by the West over its invasion of Ukraine, has called the United States the “main instigator” of the crisis.
In an interview with the Russian state news agency TASS published on Wednesday, China’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansions of the NATO defence alliance and support for forces seeking to align Ukraine with the European Union rather than Moscow.
“As the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine,” Zhang was quoted as saying.
“Their ultimate goal is to exhaust and crush Russia with a protracted war and the cudgel of sanctions.”
2:23pm: Russian authorities raid home of TV protester who denounced Ukraine invasion
Russian authorities on Wednesday raided the home of a former state TV journalist who quit after making an on-air protest against Moscow’s war in Ukraine, and launched a criminal case against her on the charge of spreading false information about the Russian armed forces, her lawyer said on social media.
The case against Marina Ovsyannikova was launched under a law, enacted after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, that penalises statements against the military, lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said. A conviction is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Zakhvatov told the independent news site Meduza that the case is likely linked to a protest Ovsyannikova staged last month, holding a banner that said “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists.”
He said on Telegram that after the raid Ovsyannikova is expected to be brought into the Investigative Committee for questioning.
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11:59am: Denmark to train Ukrainian soldiers
Denmark will send military instructors to Britain to help train Ukrainian soldiers and also offer to train Ukrainian officers on its soil, the Danish defence ministry said on Wednesday.
“Denmark will support a British-led training project with 130 Danish soldiers and at the same time offer to train Ukrainian soldiers in Denmark,” a ministry statement said.
The instructors will provide basic military training, including urban combat and tactical operations, to Ukrainian soldiers with zero to limited military experience.
Denmark has contributed to both British and Canadian training missions in Ukraine since 2015 and provided weapons and cyber security support to Ukraine since Russia invaded its neighbour in February.
08:39am: Blasts at Crimea air base ‘a psychological setback for Russia’
Tuesday’s explosions at a Russian military base in Crimea – whether due to Russian incompetence or not – will undeniably deal a blow to Russian morale as images of the powerful blasts are now seeping back to Russia via social media. Videos posted online shows sunbathers on nearby beaches fleeing as huge flames and pillars of smoke rose over the horizon from multiple points.
“The word is of course getting back to Russia, despite the efforts of Russian television to try to calm people down and to persuade them that this is all Ukrainian propaganda,” FRANCE 24’s Chief Foreign Editor Rob Parsons explained. “There is no doubt that for Russian morale this is a bit of a blow.”
07:35am: Russia has ‘almost certainly’ established new major ground force, UK says
Russia has “almost certainly” established a major new ground forces formation to support its operations in Ukraine, Britain said on Tuesday.
The unit, called the 3rd Army Corps, is based out of the city of Mulino, east of Russia’s capital Moscow, the British Defence Ministry said in its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter.
The update also added that Russian commanders continued to face “competing operational priorities” of reinforcing its offensive in the eastern Donbas region, as well as strengthening its defence against Ukrainian counterattacks in south.
07:05am: Russian shelling kills 13 in Dnipropetrovsk region
Russian shelling has killed 13 people in Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region overnight, governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on Wednesday.
Reznychenko initially put the casualties at 21, with 11 killed in the district of Nikopol, near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia, and 10 in the town of Marganets. But in a subsequent messages on the Telegram messaging app he revised the number, but without clarifying which initial details were incorrect.
The Zaporizhzhia plant was shelled over the weekend, prompting strong reactions from both the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who warned of the dangers of a potential nuclear disaster. Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame over the attacks.
2:18am: One killed in blasts at Russian air base in Crimea
Local authorities said one person was killed on Tuesday in blasts at a Russian air base in the annexed Crimean peninsula. Moscow said the explosions were detonations of stored ammunition, not the result of any attack.
Witnesses said they had heard at least 12 explosions around 3:20 p.m. local time (1220 GMT) on Tuesday from the Saky air base near Novofedorivka on the west coast of the peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 and used in February as one of the launchpads for its invasion.
1:05am: Russia says Crimea airbase blast was ammo detonation, not attack
Moscow insisted Tuesday that major blasts at a key military airbase on the Russian-annexed Crimea peninsula were caused by exploding ammunition rather than Ukrainian fire.
Dramatic amateur footage shared on social media appeared to show panicked holidaymakers fleeing a Crimean beach with young children, as ballooning clouds of grey smoke rose over the horizon.
The blasts rocked the Saki airfield on the 167th day of Moscow’s invasion.
12:44am: Zelensky aide: Ukraine not responsible for Crimea blasts
Ukraine is not taking responsibility for explosions at a Russian air base in Crimea on Tuesday, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky said, suggesting partisans might have been involved.
Mykhailo Podolyak, asked by the Dozhd online television channel whether Kyiv was taking responsibility, replied: “Of course not. What do we have to do with this?”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)