Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1661533821

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.


Thanks for following our live coverage, we are pausing updates for the evening.

Katy Clifton25 August 2022 20:50

Ukraine narrowly escaped nuclear catastrophe, says Zelensky

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said the world narrowly avoided a radiation disaster as electricity to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was cut for hours due to Russian shelling in the area.

Moscow, however, has denied the allegations.

He said Russian shelling on Thursday sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal power station that disconnected the reactor complex from the power grid.

“If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident,” Mr Zelensky said in his evening address.

“Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation one step away from a radiation disaster.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 August 2022 04:53

Soviet-era monument’s iconic obelisk taken down in Latvia

An obelisk with Soviet stars at the top that was the centrepiece of a monument commemorating the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany was taken down Thursday in Latvia’s capital Riga.

Heavy machinery was spotted behind a green privacy screen fence at the foot of the nearly 80-metre obelisk shortly before its removal.

The column, which had stood like a high-rise in the landscape of downtown Riga, crashed into a nearby pond at Victory Park.

A leading Latvian media outlet broadcast the event live, showing onlookers cheering and applauding as the obelisk fell. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to it.

Read more here.

Soviet-era monument's iconic obelisk comes down in Latvia

A concrete obelisk with Soviet stars at the top that was the centerpiece of a monument commemorating the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany has been taken down in Latvia’s capital

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 August 2022 05:39

Seven Russian ammunition deports destroyed last week, claims Ukraine

Ukrainian troops have destroyed seven ammunition deports of the Russian army in the past week, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command said.

“Ammunition warehouses are one of the priority targets of our artillery, in particular, and air strikes, as these are stocks that the enemy would plan to use against our units,” Nataliya Humenyuk was quoted by Radio Free Europe as saying.

“Despite the fact that they are trying to disperse these stocks, as they have already felt that our interventions are quite spot-on and absolutely targeted, we still find places of new dislocation and destroy them anew.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 August 2022 05:56

Putin orders another 137,000 Russian troops

Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian military to increase by another 137,000 troops from next year as Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine passes the six-month mark.

The Russian president’s decree, signed on Thursday, did not explain whether the military will increase its ranks by drafting a bigger number of conscripts, taking more volunteer soldiers or using a combination of both.

The Kremlin has said that only volunteer contract soldiers take part in what it calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine, rejecting claims that it was considering a broad mobilisation.

The order comes amid reports that Russian forces have suffered heavy losses, though Moscow is yet to publish any official number of its casualties.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain reports.

Putin orders another 137,000 Russia troops amid reports of heavy casualties

Western and Kyiv officials predict Russia’s losses in the thousands

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 August 2022 06:23

US report identifies 21 ‘filtration’ locations run by Russia

Russia and its proxy forces in Ukraine are operating 21 locations used to detain, interrogate and process prisoners of war and civilians, a new report claims.

The report by Yale University researchers backed by the US state department cites commercial satellite imagery and open-source information to identify with “high confidence” the separate locations, which include former schools, markets and regular prisons, Reuters reported.

It also identifies possible graves at one prison complex.

Nathaniel Raymond, the humanitarian research lab’s executive director, said the findings showed Russia and its proxies had established a “system of filtration” to sort people in areas that fall under Russian occupation that represents a “human rights emergency.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 August 2022 06:45

ICYMI | India on Wednesday voted against Russia in UN security council

For the first time since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, India on Wednesday voted against Russia during a “procedural vote” at the UN security council.

India had so far abstained from several resolutions on the war, but called on both sides to end the violence. New Delhi has also refused to criticise Moscow for the unprovoked invasion.

The 15-member UN body had invited Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to address a meeting through a video conference on Wednesday.

Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily A Nebenzia, objecting to Mr Zelensky’s virtual participation, called for a procedural vote.

India’s vote went in favour of Mr Zelensky’s participation, while Russia voted against it. China abstained from the vote.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 August 2022 07:06

All six reactors at Zaporizhzhia still disconnected from grid, Energoatom says

As of 9am local time (7am BST), all six reactors of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine are still disconnected from Ukraine's electricity grid, state nuclear company Energoatom said.

The Ukrainian company said electricity for the plant’s own needs was currently being supplied through a power line from Ukraine's electricity system.

Work is underway to prepare the connection of two power units of the power plant to the grid, Energoatom said.

Andy Gregory26 August 2022 07:46

US national security expert likens Zaporizhzhia situation to ‘Russian Roulette’

Paul Bracken, a national security expert and professor at the Yale School of Management, told Reuters that a main concern over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is that artillery shells or missiles could puncture the reactor walls and spread radiation across potentially a large area – much like the 1986 accident involving the Chornobyl reactor.

A failure at the Zaporizhzhia plant could “kill hundreds or thousands of people, and damage environmentally a far larger area reaching into Europe,” Prof Bracken said.

“Russian Roulette is a good metaphor because the Russians are spinning the chamber of the revolver, threatening to blow out the brains of the reactor all over Europe,” added Prof Bracken.

Andy Gregory26 August 2022 08:00

Zelensky urges stronger international efforts over Zaphorizhzia

In his nightly video address, Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv was doing everything possible to prevent an emergency scenario at Zaporizhzhia, “but it depends not only on our state”, with international pressure key to forcing Russia to withdraw from the power plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other international organisations “must act much more quickly, because every minute that the Russian military remain at the nuclear plant there is a risk of a global radiation disaster”, Mr Zelensky was quoted as saying.

IAEA officials are “very, very close” to being able to visit Zaporizhzhia, the agency’s director-general Rafael Grossi has said.

(Volodymyr Zelensky/screengrab)
Andy Gregory26 August 2022 08:25

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in