There have been conflicting reports of continued shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Ukraine’s nuclear energy company said it had been shelled ten times by Russian forces on Thursday, resulting in staff being unable to change shifts. Energoatom said the plant was operating normally.
However Russian news agency Tass reported that the local Russian-imposed authorities in occupied Zaporizhzhia said the plant had been fired upon by Ukrainian forces. Russian-imposed authorities in Zaporizhzhia region have also claimed Thursday that anti-aircraft defence systems thwarted Ukrainian attacks on the occupied city of Enerhodar. None of the claims have been independently verified.
On Wednesday, Ukraine accused Russia of firing rockets from around the captured plant, killing at least 13 people and wounding 10, knowing it would be risky for Ukraine to return fire. Ukraine says Russia targeted the town of Marhanets, which Moscow says Ukraine has used in the past to shell Russian soldiers at the plant, which Russia seized in March. Calling on foreign allies to send more powerful weapons, Zelenskiy said in a late-night video address that Kyiv “will not leave today’s Russian shelling of the Dnipropetrovsk region unanswered”, and vowed to inflict as much damage on Russia as possible to end the war quickly.
UN secretary-general, António Guterres, called on Thursday for an immediate end to military activity near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe’s largest. “I am calling on the military forces of the Russian Federation and Ukraine to immediately cease all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the plant and not to target its facilities or surroundings,” he said in a statement.
Ukraine’s air force said it believed up to a dozen Russian aircraft were destroyed on the ground in Tuesday’s dramatic explosions at the Saky airbase in Crimea, which Russia said killed one, wounded 13 and damaged dozens of nearby houses. Political sources in Ukraine said it had carried out the attack, but Kyiv did not publicly claim responsibility. One expert said it may have been the product of a daring raid rather than a missile strike.
Russia has doubled the number of air strikes on Ukraine’s military positions and civilian infrastructure compared with the previous week, Ukrainian brigadier general Oleksiy Hromov said. “The enemy’s planes and helicopters avoid flying into the range of our air defences, and therefore the accuracy of these strikes is low,” he told a news conference.
The British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said he thought the Saky airbase in Crimea was a “legitimate target” for Ukraine. “First and foremost, Russia has illegally invaded, not just in 2014, but now Ukrainian territory,” he said. “Ukraine, under UN articles, is perfectly entitled to defend its territory and take what action it needs to against an invading force.”
Britain and Denmark will provide more financial and military aid to Ukraine, they said on Thursday as European defence ministers met in Copenhagen to discuss long-term support for the country’s defence against Russia’s invasion. Britain, which has already donated advanced weapons systems to Ukraine and given thousands of its troops military training, said it would send more multiple-launch rocket systems. Denmark will increase its financial aid to Ukraine by 110m euros, said the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.
Russia has turned down a Swiss offer to represent Ukrainian interests in Russia and Moscow’s interests in Ukraine because it said it no longer considers Switzerland a neutral country.
Pro-Russian separatists accused Ukraine of shelling a brewery in the occupied eastern city of Donetsk on Wednesday, killing one person and triggering a leak of ammonia that sparked a fire, Reuters reported.
Russia’s governor of Kursk, Roman Starovoyt, said that two settlements that border Ukraine were shelled on Thursday morning.
The Ukrainian parliament commissioner for human rights has issued updated figures for child casualties since Russia began its latest invasion of Ukraine. The official figures are that 361 children have been killed and 705 children injured. As of 11 August, the commissioner says that 204 are considered missing, and that 6,159 have been deported.
The EU has been urged to put a travel ban on Russian tourists, with some member states saying visiting Europe is “a privilege, not a human right” for holidaymakers. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has told the Washington Post that the “most important sanction” is to “close the borders, because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land”.
Latvia’s parliament, the Saeima, has named Russia as a terrorist-supporting state. In a statement, it said Russia had chosen a “cruel, immoral, and illegal tactic, using imprecise and internationally banned weapons and ammunition, targeting disproportionate brutality against civilians and public places” in Ukraine.
Sweden’s government has decided to extradite a man to Turkey wanted for fraud, it said, the first case since Turkey demanded a number of people be extradited in return for allowing Stockholm to formally apply for Nato membership.
China, which Russia has sought as an ally since being cold-shouldered by the west, has called the US the “main instigator” of the crisis, Reuters reported. In an interview with the Russian state news agency Tass published on Wednesday, China’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansion of the Nato defence alliance.
The UN expects to see a “big uptick” in applications for ships to export Ukrainian grain after transit procedures were agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, a senior UN official said on Wednesday. The number of inbound vessels is expected to “grow in the near future” as grain deals are made, said Frederick Kenney, interim UN coordinator in Istanbul. So far, 24 grain carrying ships have left Ukrainian ports.
Estonia said it had summoned the Russian ambassador and formally protested about the violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter on Tuesday. “Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable,” the ministry announced, saying the helicopter had flown over Estonia’s south-east without permission.
Ukraine’s overseas creditors have backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20bn in international bonds, allowing it to avoid a debt default, Reuters reported. Ukraine’s prime minister says it will save the country almost $6bn, while helping to stabilise its economy and strengthen its army.