Kyiv raises the Ukrainian flag in Kherson .. and a fire at the "Zaporozhye" nuclear plant

Kyiv raises the Ukrainian flag in Kherson .. and a fire at the “Zaporozhye” nuclear plant

The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday, citing information from Ukraine, that the backup line that supplies the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant with electricity was deliberately disconnected to put out a fire, while Kyiv announced the “liberation” of a town in Kherson.

Russia and Ukraine accused each other of raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe by bombing areas near the plant in southern Ukraine, which was seized by Russia but is still operated by Ukrainian engineers.

The last of the four regular 750-kilovolt lines supplying the station with the electricity necessary for its safety was disconnected on Friday. The International Atomic Energy Agency said Ukrainian workers at the plant had told its experts that they planned to repair it, but that it would take several days.

The 330 kV backup line can power the nuclear plant from a nearby coal-fired power plant.

“The Zaporozhye plant continues to receive the electricity it needs for safety from its only working reactor,” the agency added in a statement.

She added that Kyiv had told her that “this backup line will be reconnected once the fire has been extinguished.”

The agency stated that once the backup line is operating again, the operating reactor will be reconnected to the electricity grid. The Zaporizhia plant includes six reactors and is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

This came as Ukraine came out with its boldest claim yet about its gains in its week-old counter-attack on Russian forces in the south.

After days of silence about the new offensive, Ukrainian officials posted a photo online of three soldiers raising a flag over a town in Kherson, a southern region occupied by Russia since the days of the first war.

and published flag picture Which was placed on the highest rooftop in Visokopila, in the north of Kherson, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country’s forces captured two towns in the south and one in the east. He did not specify the locations in his nightly speech.

Having been subjected to Russian artillery attacks in the east for months, Ukraine finally began its long-awaited counter-offensive, its largest since Russian forces were pushed back from the Kyiv suburbs in March.

Ukraine has kept most details of its new campaign under wraps, denying journalists access to the front lines and providing little public comment in order to maintain tactical surprise.

Russia said it had repelled attacks in Kherson, but in a rare acknowledgment of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the TASS news agency quoted a Moscow-appointed official in the region as saying that plans for a referendum on joining Russia had been frozen due to the security situation.

In an update on the situation issued on Monday evening, Ukraine’s General Staff said its forces repelled Russian forces in an unspecified area near Kramatorsk, a key town in the eastern Donetsk region, while Russian forces bombed about a dozen towns in the south.

squander gains

Zelensky’s declaration of control of a town in the east suggests that Ukraine is using pressure in the south to try to offset gains Russia has made elsewhere in the past few months.

And Zelensky, in his nightly speech on Sunday, softened his statements about the success of the Ukrainian counter-attack by warning European countries that they may face a severe winter.

European markets fell sharply on Monday, after Russia kept its main gas pipeline to Germany closed.

Moscow blames the shutdown of gas flowing through Nord Stream 1, its main pipeline to Germany, to disruptions in equipment repair and maintenance due to Western sanctions. Russia was due to reopen the pipeline on Saturday, but said it would remain closed indefinitely.

“The gas supply problems are caused by the sanctions that Western countries, including Germany and Britain, have imposed on our country,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

European countries and the United States say Russia is using energy as a weapon, but is cooperating to ensure supplies.

“As a result of these efforts, European gas storage (sites) will be full by the winter heating season,” a White House official said. “We still have more work to do.”

European countries, led by Germany, provided billions of euros in aid to consumers and businesses, which last week helped push European gas prices down sharply from record highs.

gloomy winter

But news over the weekend of an extension of Nord Stream’s shutdown sent prices up again on Monday, with the European benchmark price up more than 35 percent, raising fears of a bleak winter for consumers and businesses across the continent.

In terms of stocks and currencies, the German DAX index fell more than two percent and the euro fell below 99 US cents for the first time in decades, and the pound was not far from its lowest level since the mid-1980s against the dollar with the announcement of Liz Terrace as the new prime minister in Britain.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov spoke a little earlier, sharply criticizing Trump, saying Britain’s anti-Russian rhetoric meant relations could worsen.

“I don’t think we can hope for anything positive,” he added.

He added that Moscow intends to respond to the West’s recent proposal to put a ceiling on the price of Russian oil exports, starting in December, in order to reduce Moscow’s main source of income.

And in Russia, which has effectively banned independent media since President Vladimir Putin launched his “special military operation” in February, a judge revoked the license of the liberal newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, one of the last unofficial votes.

Its editor-in-chief Dmitriy Muratov, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said of the newspaper’s struggle for freedom of expression, that the ruling was “political targeting that lacks the slightest legal basis”.

A Russian court also sentenced a former journalist to 22 years in prison for treason after prosecutors said he “revealed state secrets”, and his supporters say the case is revenge for his disclosure of details of international arms deals to Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyal urged the European Union on Monday to supply Kyiv with more weapons and equipment while offering to help supply the bloc with gas to reduce its dependence on Russia.

With the fighting shifting to southern Ukraine, international attention in the past few weeks has focused on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which was seized by Russia but still operated by Ukrainian engineers and connected to Ukraine’s electricity grid.

The two sides accuse each other of risking a nuclear disaster by bombing the areas near the plant. Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company, Energoatom, said the plant’s last operating reactor was disconnected from the Ukrainian grid on Monday after Russian bombing disrupted power lines. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

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