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Ukraine news – live: Nuclear power ‘must not be instrument of war’, Macron warns

‘Radiation disaster’ narrowly avoided, says Zelensky, as one of six reactors ‘reconnected to grid’

Boris Johnson celebrates Ukraine's Independence Day

Nuclear power must not be used “as an instrument of war”, French president Emmanuel Macron has warned, after the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant – Europe’s largest – was disconnected from the Ukrainian grid due to shelling nearby.

The United States accused Moscow of turning the plant into an “active war zone” as part of “its strategy to create an energy crisis in Europe”, with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky warning that the world narrowly avoided a “radiation disaster” after electricity to the plant was cut.

Ukraine’s state nuclear firm Energoatom said one of the plant’s six reactors had been reconnected to the grid on Friday afternoon, as hopes were raised for International Atomic Energy Agency officials to be permitted to visit the plant, which was captured by Russia in the early days of Vladimir Putin’s war.

In a sign that he expects the war to grind on for months to come, Mr Putin this week signed a decree to expand the Russian army by 137,000 troops, following widespread claims that the Kremlin’s forces have suffered severe casualties over the past six months.


Russian Patriarch cancels meeting with Pope

The controversial head of the Russian Orthodox Church will no longer attend an interfaith meeting in Kazakhstan where he was suppose to meet with Pope Francis.

The Moscow Patriarchate, which has been supportive of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, said Kirill will no be going to the meeting next month.

Kirill has caused schisms in the Russian Orthodox Church by justifying the invasion and blessing Russian soldiers being sent to the frontlines.

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 08:35

Ukrainian Independence Day in photos

Yesterday, Ukrainian Independence Day marked 31 years since Kyiv broke away from the Soviet Union.

The anniversary was celebrated not just by Ukraine, but by other countries across the world.

Here are some photos from the US, Europe and the Middle East:

Celebrations are held in Baabda, Lebanon.
Celebrations are held in Baabda, Lebanon. (Fadel Itani/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)
A Ukrainian Independence Day gathering in Warsaw, Poland.
A Ukrainian Independence Day gathering in Warsaw, Poland. (Piotr Lapinski/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)
A giant Ukrainian flag is unfurled in Central Park, New York City.
A giant Ukrainian flag is unfurled in Central Park, New York City. (Ron Adar/Shutterstock)
Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 08:52

Russian attack on passenger train kills 25, says Ukraine

A Russian attack on a passenger train in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast has left at least 25 people dead, Ukraine has said.

The Ukrainian authorities revised the death toll up from 22 on Thursday.

Moscow’s forces hit the train in the village of Chaplyne on Wednesday, with four carriages catching fire.

Children are said to be among the victims.

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 09:16

EU condemns arrest of Russian opposition figure

The EU has condemned Russia’s detention of opposition figure Yevgeny Roizman for his criticism of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign affairs representative, said it was “yet another grim act of oppression by the Kremlin”.

“The EU calls for his immediate and unconditional release,” he added.

Mr Roizman served as mayor of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, from 2013 to 2018.

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 09:43

Ukrainian town grieves for victims of Russian strike

Ukrainian families grieve for their loved ones in Chaplyne, the town hit by deadly Russian shelling on Wednesday.

As search and rescue efforts neared their conclusion, three more bodies were discovered, bringing the number of fatalities to 25.

Local resident Sergiy’s 11-year-old son died in the strike. “We looked for him there in the ruins, and he was lying here. Nobody knew that he was here. Nobody knew,” he said, beside his child’s covered body.

Moscow has declined to comment on the attack.

Responding to the strike on Ukrainian Independence Day, US secretary of state Antony Blinken tweeted: “Russia’s missile strike on a train station full of civilians in Ukraine fits a pattern of atrocities. We will continue, together with partners from around the world, to stand with Ukraine and seek accountability for Russian officials.”

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 10:09

Russian and French defence ministers discuss Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The Russian and French defence ministers have spoken about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the Kremlin has said.

The conversation comes amid fears of a potential nuclear disaster there.

The Ukrainian plant, which is the largest in Europe, was captured by Russia early in the war.

World leaders have called for the site to be demilitarised.

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 10:30

Russian tourists must be banned from Europe and beyond, says Ukraine’s foreign minister

Russian tourists must be banned from Europe and elsewhere as they all bear a “common social responsibility” for the horrors inflicted by their country against Ukraine, the Ukrainian foreign minister has said.

In an op-ed for Politico, Dmytro Kuleba said an “overwhelming majority of them [Russians] support this war”.

“Yet, massive popular support in Russia for the war is a grim reality that not all European leaders seem ready to appreciate,” he added.

Acknowledging that Russians who oppose the war could face persecution at home, he argued they would still be able to seek asylum abroad, even if a travel ban is introduced.

“Tourism is an achievement of peace and humanity. Belligerent nations that break international peace must lose access to the privileges of peaceful coexistence,” Mr Kuleba wrote.

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 11:00

Russia’s war in Ukraine speeding up renewable energy transition, says US climate diplomat

Russia’s war in Ukraine has sped up the world’s shift towards renewable energy, the US deputy special envoy for climate has said.

While addressing a university forum in Australia, Rick Duke said: “The European Union has tripled down on its efforts to deploy renewables and heat pumps and to electrify its vehicle fleet and otherwise respond to this crisis.

“That’s going to take time, but the pace is quickening because of the conflict.” 

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 11:20

Kremlin admits deadly shelling of Chaplyne railway station

Russia’s defence ministry has admitted that its troops hit Chaplyne railway station yesterday.

The attack in Ukraine’s Dniptropetrovsk region killed 25 people, including several children, Kyiv said.

The Kremlin claimed its missile destroyed arms that were being sent to the frontline in the eastern Donbas region.

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 11:36

Experts ‘very close’ to being able to visit Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, says IAEA boss

The UN nuclear watchdog is “very, very close” to being able to send experts to inspect the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia plant, its boss has said.

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said talks were ongoing, but appeared to be going in the right direction.

This comes weeks after he described the situation at the nuclear facility as “completely out of control”.

Rory Sullivan25 August 2022 12:00

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