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War in Ukraine: Recent Developments

#War #Ukraine #Developments

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– Putin and Macron call for inspection of nuclear site –

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron are calling for independent inspections of the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the Kremlin says.

In their first call in three months, the two heads of state are calling on experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the plant “as soon as possible” and “assess the actual situation on site,” the Kremlin says.

The facility, the largest in Europe, was seized by Russian troops in March and recent fighting around it has raised the specter of a nuclear incident comparable to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Both Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other this week of preparing “provocations” at the facility.

Putin “stressed that the systematic shelling of the territory of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant by the Ukrainian military creates the danger of a large-scale disaster that could lead to the radiation of large areas,” the Kremlin said.

The French presidency specifies that Putin dropped his request that the IAEA team travel to the site via Russia, saying it could arrive via Ukraine “out of respect for Ukrainian sovereignty”.

– UN chief urges Russia to power grid –

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged that the Zaporizhia station not be cut off from Ukraine’s power grid, after Ukrainian reports in Moscow plan to do so.

“Of course, the electricity from Zaporizhia is Ukrainian electricity… This principle must be fully respected,” he said during a visit to the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian energy operator Energoatom has claimed that Russian troops are planning to “shut down” the reactors in Zaporizhia, which can power four million homes.

– Putin denounces barriers to food and fertilizer exports –

During their phone call, Putin tells Macron that Russia faces obstacles in exporting its food and fertilizers.

“There are still obstacles to the mentioned Russian exports that do not help solve problems related to ensuring global food security,” the Kremlin says.

Last month in Istanbul, Russia and Ukraine signed landmark deals with Turkey and the United Nations that opened safe corridors for grain exports to exit Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

A similar deal signed at the same time allowed Russia to export its agricultural products and fertilizers despite Western sanctions over Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

The French Presidency denies any “obstacles” hampering Russian agricultural exports.

– “Total lack of progress” for Russia: Pentagon –

Ukrainian forces have stalled the Russian advance in recent weeks and Russian military positions on the ground have been weakened, a senior US defense official says.

“You see a complete and utter lack of progress by the Russians on the battlefield,” the official says, speaking to reporters for the sake of anonymity.

Separately, the US Department of Defense announces a new $775 million package of defense equipment and ammunition for Ukraine, including Himars missiles, artillery and mine clearance systems.

– Russia seizes Donbass –

Russian forces continue to attack Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, with Kyiv reporting that five people have been killed in the industrial province of Donetsk in the past 24 hours.

Ukrainian head of the region Pavlo Kyrylenko said on social media that Russian attacks in three settlements killed five people and injured ten others.

Strikes early Friday in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killed one person and damaged a school and a private business, the head of the region said. More than a dozen people have been killed in Russian attacks around Kharkiv in the past two days.

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