Russia-Ukraine war latest: what we know on day 177 of the invasion

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The Guardian

Explosions reported at military targets in Russia and Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine; UN chief says any damage to nuclear power plant is suicide

Russian forces may be preparing to stage a “provocation” at the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s military intelligence has warned. Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency said it was concerned that Russia had plans to stage an incident at the plant on Friday, and had information that staff with Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company had left the site.

The UN secretary general has called for an urgent withdrawal of military forces from the site. António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the plant and said it had to be demilitarised, adding: “We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.” Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he agreed with Guterres on a framework for a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog to inspect the power plant. “We are worried. We don’t want another Chornobyl,” the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, added.

At least 17 people were killed and 42 injured in two separate Russian attacks on Kharkiv, according to its regional governor. Three civilians were killed and 17 wounded in a pre-dawn rocket strike on Thursday, after an attack from Russia the day before. “As of now, 17 people have died in Kharkiv … and 42 people have been injured,” Oleh Synehubov said, describing the attacks as “an act of terrorism”.

Four explosions hit an area near a major Russian military airport in Crimea on Thursday, local sources reported, but a pro-Moscow official said no damage had been done. The governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said Russian anti-aircraft forces had downed a Ukrainian drone.

Two Russian villages were evacuated after a fire broke out at an ammunition depot near the border with Ukraine on Thursday, local authorities said. An ammunition depot caught fire near the village of Timonovo, less than 50km (30 miles) from the Ukrainian border in Belgorod province, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement.

The US is readying about $800m of additional military aid to Ukraine and could announce it as soon as Friday, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. President Joe Biden would authorise the assistance using his presidential drawdown authority, which allows the president to authorise the transfer of excess weapons from US stocks.

The Russian military announced that 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.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy took over a major news conference after becoming irked by a interpreter’s failure to translate his comments properly into English. Zelenskiy acted after the interpreter cut short his remarks during an event with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and United Nations secretary general António Guterres.

Zelenskiy confirmed that Ukraine has not changed its position on peace negotiations, saying talks with Russia are only possible if Russian forces leave illegally occupied territory in Ukraine.

Estonia has been hit by extensive cyber-attacks after removing a Soviet-era tank monument from a region whose population is predominantly ethnic Russians, its government said. Estonia’s foreign minister also defended his country’s decision to bar Russian tourists.

Continue reading… August 19, 2022 at 06:15AM Samantha Lock

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