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Russia says it may shut down nuclear power plant, warns of effects of potential accident

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 4, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Thursday that it may shut down the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant if Ukrainian forces continue, as it claims, shelling the facility.

Ukraine denies shelling the facility and instead blames Russia for endangering the nuclear power plant, saying it is storing ammunition and military equipment there.

Ukraine and the international community have warned of the potential for a catastrophic accident at the plant. On Wednesday, Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry conducted a nuclear catastrophe exercise in Zaporizhzhia in case of an accident.

Igor Kirillov, the head of Russia’s radioactive, chemical and biological defense forces, said Thursday the plant’s backup support systems had been damaged as a result of shelling, Reuters reported.

He also said that in the event of an accident at the plant, radioactive material would cover Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is visiting Ukraine today and the status and fate of the nuclear power plant are on the agenda.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed separately on Telegram today that Kyiv was planning a “provocation” at the power plant during Guterres’ visit to Ukraine, “as a result of which the Russian Federation will be blamed for creating a man-made disaster at the power plant.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that “in order to prepare for the provocation” it was deploying radiation observation posts near Zaporizhzhia and organizing training exercises for a number of military units in the region “on measures to be taken in conditions of radioactive contamination of the area.” 

Russia presented no evidence for its claim and has often been accused of “false flag” operations.

The possibility of an accident at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is a terrifying prospect for Ukraine, a country that still lives with the scars of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russians move planes, helicopters in Crimea following blasts, Ukraine says

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has said Russian forces are moving their planes and helicopters “deep” into Crimea, and back to Russia, following several attacks in recent weeks on Russian bases on the peninsula.

“The occupiers are carrying out measures to partially transfer aviation equipment from forward-based airfields in Crimea to reserve airfields and airfields permanently based on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the intelligence directorate within the defense ministry claimed Wednesday.

The ministry said that, among the aircraft being moved, were SU-34 fighter bombers and KA-27 helicopters like the one below.

A Russian Helix KA-27 helicopter flies near the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf while conducting operations in the Gulf of Aden, in this U.S. Navy picture taken Feb. 9, 2009.

US Navy | MC2 Jason R. Zalasky | Reuters

“Such activity was noted after a series of explosions at the military infrastructure facilities of the temporarily-occupied Crimean peninsula,” the ministry noted including blasts at the Saky airfield on Aug. 9 and Gvardiyske airfields on Tuesday.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the report. On Tuesday, a fire caused a Russian ammo depot to explode in northern Crimea and damaged a nearby railway and electricity sub-station. Ukraine has not openly admitted or denied carrying out an attack on the base.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine working to get IAEA mission into occupied nuclear power plant

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, on Aug. 4, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday night that Ukrainian diplomats, its nuclear scientists and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are “in constant touch” and working to get a team of inspectors into the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The plant has been occupied by Russian troops since the start of the war in Ukraine but there have been increasing fears that a nuclear catastrophe could take place as shelling has intensified around the plant, which Ukraine says has been used by Russia to store ammunition and military equipment.

Russia, for its part, has accused Ukraine of shelling the plant and has sought to cast Kyiv as an irresponsible actor in the nuclear energy sector.

On Telegram, Zelenskyy said last night that “only absolute transparency and [a[] controlled situation at and around the ZNPP can guarantee a gradual return to normal nuclear safety for the Ukrainian state, for the international community, and for the IAEA.”

Zelenskyy reiterated calls by Ukraine and the international community for the Russian army to withdraw from the territory of the nuclear power plant “and all neighboring areas, and take away its military equipment from the plant.”

“This must happen without any conditions and as soon as possible,” he added. “Ukraine is ready to ensure proper control of the IAEA, and the relevant mission can be sent to the Zaporizhzhia plant in a legal way, very fast and as efficiently as possible.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Now, Kyiv is fighting back

Smoke rises after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, on Aug. 9, 2022.

Stringer | Reuters

When Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014 little was done to stop it or actively help Ukraine get its territory back, a salient point given Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor that begun earlier this year.

But now, Ukraine appears to be finally in a position to fight back on the peninsula with a spate of recent incidents in which Russian military positions and infrastructure in Crimea have been damaged.

These, it’s believed, are likely to be a part of Ukraine’s tentative counteroffensive in the south as it seeks to dislodge the occupying forces and eventually reclaim its territory, once and for all.

The latest incidents in Crimea took place on Tuesday when a fire caused multiple explosions in a Russian ammunition depot near Dzhankoi in the north of the peninsula. A nearby railway and electricity sub-station were also damaged as well as residential buildings, Russia’s defense ministry said.

Read more on the story here: Russia took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Now, Kyiv is fighting back

Ukraine’s state energy company says it was hit with a Russian cyber attack

The Russian flag displayed on a laptop screen with binary code code overlaying.

Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukraine’s state energy company said it was targeted by a Russian cyber attack, according to a statement on the Telegram messaging app translated by NBC News.

“The most powerful hacker attack since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation took place on the official website of EnergoAtom State Enterprise,” the company said, adding that the cyber attack came from within Russian territory.

“The mentioned attack did not significantly affect the work of the website of and remained invisible to users,” the company added.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry conduct nuclear catastrophe exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia

Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry conducts a nuclear catastrophe exercise in Zaporizhzhia in case of a potential accident at the city’s nuclear power plant.

Ukraine remains deeply scarred by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear catastrophe when a Soviet-era reactor exploded and spewed radiation into the atmosphere in the country’s north.

Russian forces took over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant a few days after the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuers attend an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located near the city. 

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuers attend an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located near the city.

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuers attend an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located near the city. 

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuers attend an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located near the city. 

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

— Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

U.N. secretary-general will not meet with Russian officials during trip

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is not expected to meet with any Russian officials following his visit to Ukraine.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that Guterres will take meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week. He added that Guterres has no plans to hold discussions with Russian officials.

Dujarric said that Guterres will also meet separately with Zelenskyy to discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

— Amanda Macias

Russian military sites in Crimea keep exploding, hinting at growing Ukrainian ambitions and abilities

Smoke rises after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea August 9, 2022.

Stringer | Reuters

Crimea is now at the heart of what appears to be an audacious Ukrainian effort to target Russian supply lines and morale. 

A series of blasts hit a Russian military depot in the annexed peninsula Tuesday — rocking the relaxed summer holiday destination for the second time in a week and suggesting a growing Ukrainian ability to strike deep behind enemy lines.

It’s a significant development that could shift the dynamics of the war as it nears the six-month mark, and which defies warnings from Moscow against attacking a region that holds deep strategic and symbolic value for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read more here.

— NBC NEWS



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