The leaders of Ukraine, Turkey and the UN met to review the grain export deal in Lviv, as well as to discuss the rising tensions at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, and Volodymyr Zelenskiy agreed upon the parameters of a possible mission led by the International Atomic Energy Agency to the power plant, with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, warning of the dangers of “another Chornobyl”.
In the meeting, Guterres told Zelenskiy of a UN fact-finding mission to Olenivka in Donetsk to investigate allegations of Russian mistreatment against Ukrainian prisoners of war. Zelenskiy asked Guterres also to investigate “the issue of compliance by the Russian side with the agreements reached in the context of the withdrawal of Ukrainian defenders from Azovstal”.
Erdoğan signed a memorandum with Ukraine to help reconstruct infrastructure destroyed by the war. “While continuing our efforts to find a solution, we remain on the side of our Ukraine friends,” he said.
At least 15 people were killed in a series of Russian missile strikes on Kharkiv that took place late Wednesday and early Thursday morning, Ukraine’s state emergencies services said. Zelenskiy called the attack a “devious and cynical strike on civilians with no justification”. He said: “We will not forgive, we will take revenge.”
Russia has warned it may shut down the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant if Ukraine continues to shell the facility – a claim Kyiv has denied. Meanwhile,
Ukraine’s military intelligence believes Russia is planning a “provocation” at the nuclear power plant on Friday, by announcing an unexpected “day off” and closing entry to all other employees. Scientists with the Ukrainian Hydrometeorology Institute simulated the radiation spread of a nuclear disaster and found that with the weather conditions of the past few days, radioactive contaminants could reach as far north as the Baltic Sea, hitting Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland along the way, as well as Belarus. Heading west, radioactive contaminants could enter Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Estonia has been hit by extensive cyber-attacks after removing a Soviet-era tank monument from a region whose population is predominantly ethnic Russian, its government has said. Russian hacker group Killnet claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said blocked access to more than 200 state and private Estonian institutions, but the Estonian government said the impact of the attack was limited and went “largely unnoticed”.
The Russian military announced it has deployed warplanes armed with state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to the country’s Kaliningrad region, a move that has been broadly interpreted as a response to the west arming Ukraine. The Kinzhal hypersonic missiles have a range of up to 2,000km (1,2oo miles) and fly at 10 times the speed of sound, making it hard to intercept, the Russian military said. Russia has used the weapon to strike several targets in Ukraine.
Russia has replaced the commander of its Crimea-based Black Sea fleet after explosions rocked the peninsula this week. Russia’s RIA news agency cited sources as saying Igor Osipov had been replaced with Viktor Sokolov. If confirmed, it would mark one of the most prominent sackings of a military official in the war so far.
Chinese troops will travel to Russia to take part in joint military exercises “unrelated to the current international and regional situation”, China’s defence ministry has said. Other countries will include India, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan. In July, Moscow announced plans to hold “Vostok” exercises from 30 August to 5 September.
Ukrainian authorities performed disaster response drills near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Wednesday. This followed repeated shelling at the Russian-occupied plant, the largest of its kind in Europe.
The main bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland must be “dismantled”, the Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said. The 19-km (12-mile) Kerch Bridge is Moscow’s key military and civilian land corridor to the peninsula. “The bridge is an illegal object,” Podolyak said. It “must therefore be dismantled. Not important how – voluntary or not”, implying the bridge could become a military target for Ukrainian forces.
The top official in Russian-annexed Crimea has claimed the FSB security service has broken up a six-person terrorist cell of a banned Islamist group. It followed a series of strikes on Russian bases and other infrastructure across the region that Russia has sought to blame on sabotage.
At least 12 Russians were reportedly killed in a strike on a base in the occupied city of Nova Kakhovka, according to the Ukrainian military. Footage posted to Telegram by the state border guard service showed numerous burnt-out trucks, collapsed buildings, and debris.
Ukraine has not lost any US-supplied Himars rocket launchers, the Ukrainian defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said in contradiction to Russian claims. Ukraine has received at least 20 of the US-made launchers, and has used them to attack Russian ammunition depots, command posts, and air defences.
The mayor of the village of Verkhnyo Rogachytsk in the Kherson region has been kidnapped, according to the deputy chair of the regional council. Yuri Sobolevsky said Svitlana Ivanivna was taken from her home at about 11am on Tuesday.
The first wartime shipment of UN food aid for Africa reached the Bosphorus Strait on Wednesday under a UN-backed deal to restore Ukrainian grain deliveries across the Black Sea. Marine traffic sites showed the MV Brave Commander taking its cargo of 23,000 tonnes of wheat across the heart of Istanbul bound for its final destination in Djibouti next week.
Canada has disbursed C$450m ($348m) in loans for the purchase of heating fuel before winter for Ukraine, the finance minister in Ottawa, Chrystia Freeland, has announced.
Russia foresees a 38% rise in energy export earnings this year due to higher oil export volumes, coupled with rising gas prices, according to an economy ministry document seen by Reuters. Russia’s earnings from energy exports are forecast to reach $337.5bn this year, a 38% rise on 2021.