War in Ukraine: EU accuses Russia of ‘irresponsible’ violating nuclear security in Zaporozhye

Here are five latest developments to be aware of in the course of Russia’s war against Ukraine this Saturday.

1. The EU accuses Russia of “irresponsible violation of security” at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant

EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell condemned Russia’s military actions around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

The plant is occupied by the Russian army and is subject to airstrikes, which both Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for.

“This is a serious and irresponsible violation of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms,” he said. he said via twitter. He called for immediate access for the IAEA’s international nuclear watchdog.

There were fears of possible radiation leakage amid the strikes.

One of the reactors at the plant has been shut down, the Ukrainian nuclear energy company said on Saturday.

“As a result of the attack on the Zaporozhye NPP, the emergency protection system worked at one of the three operating reactors that stopped,” Energoatom said in a Telegram message.

The source said that as a result of the bombing, the nitrogen-oxygen station and the “auxiliary building” were “seriously damaged”. “The risk of leakage of hydrogen and radioactive substances remains, as well as a high risk of fire,” the report says.

“The bombing (…) created a serious threat to the safe operation of the station,” Energoatom said, adding that it continues to produce electricity and that Ukrainian employees continue to work at it.

Ukrainian authorities on Friday accused Russian forces of carrying out three strikes near a reactor in Zaporozhye, even though Moscow has controlled the area since the invasion began.

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky condemned the shelling of the plant by Russia in his next address to the nation on Friday.

“Today, the occupiers have created another extremely risky situation for everyone in Europe – they fired at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant twice a day,” he said. “This is the largest nuclear power plant on our continent. And any shelling of this object is an open, brazen crime, an act of terror.”

The Russian military said Ukrainian forces were behind the strikes, causing a fire that was extinguished. On July 21, Moscow accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out drone strikes on the plant.

Kyiv claims that Moscow has been storing heavy weapons and ammunition at the plant, which has been occupied by Russian troops since March.

2. The war in Ukraine enters a new phase – British military intelligence

Russia’s war in Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with most of the fighting shifting to a nearly 350-kilometer front stretching southwest from Zaporozhye to Kherson, parallel to the Dnieper River, British military intelligence said on Saturday.

Russian forces are almost certainly concentrating in southern Ukraine, anticipating a counter-offensive or preparing for a possible assault, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Twitter.

Long columns of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery and other weapons continue to move away from the Ukrainian Donbas and head southwest.

The report says that 800 to 1,000-strong battalion tactical groups (BTGs) have been deployed to Crimea and will almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region.

Ukrainian forces are focusing their targets on the bridges, ammunition depots, and railroad tracks increasingly found in its southern regions, including the strategically important rail link that links Kherson to Russian-occupied Crimea, the report said.

3. The head of Amnesty International resigned in protest against reports of “Russian propaganda”

The head of Amnesty International in Ukraine, Oksana Pokalchuk, has resigned after the NGO published a report accusing the Ukrainian armed forces of endangering civilians.

Kyiv has reacted furiously to a report accusing it of stationing bases and weapons in residential areas, including schools and hospitals, in an attempt to repel a Russian invasion.

“I am leaving Amnesty International in Ukraine,” Pokalchuk said on her Facebook page on Friday evening, accusing the report of unwittingly serving “Russian propaganda.”

Read the full story here.

4. Nikolaev imposes a curfew to identify pro-Russian collaborators

On Friday evening, the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv imposed a strict two-day curfew that authorities say will help them find and detain people they believe are helping Russia.

The governor of the region, Vitaly Kim, said that the curfew would help the authorities find collaborators. It happened as rescuers fought fires caused by the latest shelling of the city, which is located near the Russian-occupied parts of the strategically important Kherson.

“Only last week they (law enforcement officers) detained four people. And more at work. This is one of the reasons why a curfew will be introduced,” Kim said.

The southern front-line city of Nikolaev has been under attack since the start of the war, and in recent weeks there has been a significant escalation in Russian shelling.

Kim said that in the latest attack, Russian forces opened fire on the city from the direction of Kherson on Friday afternoon, causing extensive damage, killing an unspecified number of people and injuring at least nine others.

Lyudmila Klymenko, an 80-year-old local resident, while watching firefighters put out the flames, said that shelling is now happening all the time. “The school burned down there, the houses were damaged. And now there are two houses, I don’t know, they probably burned down completely, ”she added.

The latest shelling comes as Ukrainian forces appear to be ramping up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south.

5. UEFA fined Turkish club Fenerbahce for pro-Putin chants

UEFA fined Turkish club Fenerbahce €50,000 for slogans some of its fans chanted in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a match against Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv in Istanbul on July 27.

In its decision on Friday, football’s governing body in Europe also partially closed the Turkish club’s stadium for its next European home game, shutting down at least 5,000 seats.

UEFA said in a statement that the action was taken in response to “thrown objects and transmission of provocative messages of an offensive nature, namely illegal chants”.

The incident occurred during the match of the second round of the Champions League qualification, which Dynamo Kyiv won with a score of 2:1. After Ukrainian Vitaly Buyalsky scored a goal in the second half, several hundred Fenerbahce fans chanted the Russian leader’s name, according to videos posted on social media.

UEFA launched a disciplinary investigation into “alleged inappropriate behavior” by Turkish fans.

Fenerbahce described the reaction from one part of the stands as “unacceptable”, but said it was a provocation from the opposing team.

“Defaming all our fans and holding Fenerbahce Sports Club responsible for an incident that in no way reflects Fenerbahce Sports Club’s views or values ​​is neither a fair nor impartial approach.” the club said in a statement..

Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasily Bodnar condemned the chants the day after the match. “It is very sad to hear from Fenerbahce fans words in support of the killer and aggressor who is bombing our country,” he wrote in Turkish on Twitter.

The pro-Putin slogans also resonated on social media, where many Turkish internet users called them “shameful.”

Quickly condemning the Russian offensive in Ukraine, Turkey opted for neutrality between the two countries and did not join Western sanctions against Moscow.