Shelling temporarily disconnected Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant from Ukraine’s power grid. Fires caused by shelling cut the last remaining power line to the plant on Thursday, temporarily disconnecting it from Ukraine’s national power grid for the first time in nearly 40 years of operation, the country’s nuclear power company Energoatom said.
Ukraine’s Energy Minister, Germany’s Galushchenko, said the UN nuclear watchdog could travel to the Zaporizhzhya plant in the coming days. The chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, previously said his team was “very, very close” to get to the factory.
The White House called on Russia to agree to a demilitarized zone around the factory, after US President Joe Biden spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Biden congratulated him on the country’s 31st Independence Day, which was celebrated on Wednesday. Zelenskiy said he had “a great conversation” and thanked Biden for his “unwavering” support. It comes a day after Biden announced nearly $3 billion in new military aid to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft missiles, artillery, counter-drone defenses and radar equipment, the largest tranche of US military aid to date.
Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to increase the size of Russia’s armed forces from 1.9 million to 2.04 million as the war in Ukraine enters its seventh month with no signs of abating. The Russian president’s decree appears to point to the country’s aim to replenish its army, which has been badly damaged in Ukraine and failed to achieve its goal of taking the capital, Kiev.
At least 25 people have been killed in a Russian rocket attack on a Ukrainian train station. Russian troops attacked a train in the village of Chaplyne, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on Wednesday. The deputy head of the president’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, reported on Telegram that two children were killed in the attack. Russia has since confirmed that it was behind the attack.
The mayor of the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, has said a building allegedly used by Russian-backed officials in the region has been “blown up”. Fedorov, who is not in the city, posted a video that reportedly shows damage to the building, which he says was used to plan a “pseudo-referendum” by the Russian-backed authorities on whether the region should join Russia.
Vatican diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine suffered two setbacks on Thursday When the head of the Russian Orthodox Church canceled a meeting with Pope Francis and Ukraine, the Papal ambassador called for complaining about Francis’ latest comments about the war. The pope upset Kiev by listing Darya Dugina, the daughter of Russian nationalist TV channel Alexander Dugin who was killed in a car bomb on Sunday, as one of the “innocents” who fell victim to the ” madness of war’. Russia has accused Ukrainian intelligence of the bombing, which Ukraine denies.
Latvia has toppled a Soviet-era obelisk amid resistance to Russia. The nearly 80-meter concrete obelisk topped with Soviet stars was the centerpiece of a monument to the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany, the latest in a series of Soviet monuments torn down after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
British opposition leader Keir Starmer is planning a trip to Ukraine in the coming months to strengthen his relations with Kiev. The Labor leader approached the government this summer about the possibility of a visit as an opposition leader, with the Labor party writing a letter seen by the Guardian.