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War in Ukraine: Recent Developments

#War #Ukraine #Developments

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– “Grave hour” in the Ukrainian nuclear power plant –

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog told the Security Council that fighting near Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant had sparked a “serious crisis” after Kyiv and Moscow again accused each other of shelling near the site.

“This is a serious hour, a difficult hour, and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) must be allowed to carry out its mission to Zaporizhia as soon as possible,” says Rafael Grossi.

Both the Russians and Ukrainians say radiation levels at the facility were normal.

According to Ukraine’s nuclear agency Energoatom, the latest attacks were carried out near one of the power plant’s six reactors and damaged radiation sensors.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the international community to “react immediately” to force Moscow’s troops to pull out of the power plant and denounced “Russian nuclear blackmail” in his daily address to the nation.

The United States supports calls from the United Nations and others to establish a demilitarized zone around the facility.

Tensions have brought back memories of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine, which killed hundreds and spread radioactive contamination across much of Europe.

– First shipment of grain that finally arrives –

The first grain ship to leave Ukraine last week under a United Nations-backed deal is docking in Turkey, maritime authorities have shown, after a report said it has finally found a buyer for its corn.

The Razoni, flying the Sierra Leone flag, left the Ukrainian port of Odessa with 26,000 tons of corn on August 1 and was due to dock in the Lebanese port of Tripoli last weekend.

But Ukrainian officials said the five-month delay in delivery caused by the Russian invasion prompted the Lebanese buyer to cancel the deal once the ship was already at sea.

An agreement signed by the warring parties with officials from the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul last month lifted a Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports and established secure corridors through Kyiv-laid mines to repel any Moscow amphibious assault.

– debt relief –

Ukraine’s lenders have agreed to a moratorium on paying their $20 billion debt until 2024 as their economy was badly hit by the Russian invasion, says Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.

A group of western countries – including Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States – had already agreed last month to allow Ukraine to defer interest payments on its debt and urged others to join the effort.

The World Bank estimates that Ukraine’s economy could shrink by 45 percent this year.

In a further economic boost for Kyiv, a donor conference in Copenhagen representing 26 countries on Thursday pledged 1.5 billion euros (more than $1.5 billion) in aid to train and equip its armed forces.

– “State Sponsor of Terrorism” –

Latvia’s parliament adopts a statement declaring Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” and declaring that its actions in Ukraine constitute “targeted genocide against the Ukrainian people”.

The statement said Parliament “recognizes Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and urges other like-minded countries to express the same view.”

MEPs said they consider “Russia’s violence against civilians, committed in pursuit of political ends, to be terrorism.”

They also condemned the use of cluster munitions “to sow fear and indiscriminately kill civilians.”

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