AS IT HAPPENED

UN inspectors need 'urgent' access to Ukraine nuclear plant, NATO says

File photo taken May 1, 2022 of a Russian military convoy on the road to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine.
File photo taken May 1, 2022 of a Russian military convoy on the road to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine. © AP file photo

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said it was “urgent” that the UN’s atomic watchdog be given access to inspect the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Read our live blog to see how all the day's events unfolded. 

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9:35pm: Russian strike on Kharkiv kills 6, says mayor

A Russian strike killed at least six people and wounded 16 others in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, according to the city's mayor.

The attack started a fire in an apartment block, Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov said on the Telegram app.

5:11pm: Ukraine buries unidentified victims of Bucha massacre

Unidentified remains of 21 victims of the Bucha massacre were buried Wednesday in a cemetery in the Kyiv satellite town that saw atrocities committed by retreating Russian forces in late March.

Reporting from Bucha, FRANCE 24’s Rob Parsons said the bodies were brought from the Bucha morgue, where they were being held while investigators tried to match the victims’ DNA. “But so far, for these ones at least, that’s proved not possible. Meanwhile each grave is marked with a number, so if investigations into the DNA come up with some kind of answers, the relatives will be notified and they can moved their loved ones to graveyards of their own choice,” explained Parsons.

© France 24

 

4:08pm: NATO says 'urgent' need to inspect Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

It is "urgent" that the UN's atomic watchdog be allowed to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine that is under Russian military control, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

Russia's seizure of the plant "poses a serious threat to the safety and the security of this facility (and) raises the risks of a nuclear accident or incident," he told reporters in Brussels.

"It is urgent to allow the inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency and to ensure the withdrawal of all Russian forces," he said.

3:05pm: Russian Black Sea fleet names new commander: state news agency

Russia's Black Sea fleet based in annexed Crimea has installed a new commander, RIA news agency cited sources as saying a day after Russian military bases on the peninsula were rocked by explosions in the past nine days.

If confirmed, the removal of the previous commander Igor Osipov would mark the most prominent sacking of a military official in the nearly six months since Russia launched its war on Ukraine, in which it has suffered heavy losses in men and equipment.

State-owned RIA cited the sources as saying the new chief, Viktor Sokolov, was introduced to members of the fleet's military council in the port of Sevastopol.

12:25pm: Russia says it has 'neutralised' Islamist cell in Crimea

The top official in Russian-annexed Crimea has said Russia's FSB security service has broken up what he described as a six-person terrorist cell of a banned Islamist group, a day after explosions rocked one of Russia's military bases there.

"All of them are detained. The activities of the terrorists were coordinated, as one would expect, from the territory of the terrorist state of Ukraine," Sergei Aksyonov, the official, said on Telegram.

Aksyonov said the suspects were members of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

7:17am: Moscow denounces Crimea arms depot explosions as 'sabotage' 

Explosions and fires ripped through an ammunition depot in Russian-occupied Crimea on Tuesday in the second attack on the peninsula in just over a week, forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people.

The explosions, which targeted an important supply line for the Russian invasion, prompted Moscow to blame the blasts on an “act of sabotage”. 

Ukraine neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack, although a senior Ukrainian official told the New York Times that an elite Ukrainian military unit operating behind enemy lines was responsible for the explosions.

Russia blamed last week's explosions on an accidental detonation of munitions, but some military analysts said satellite photos and other evidence pointed to a Ukrainian attack, perhaps with anti-ship missiles. 

If Ukrainian forces were behind the explosions, it would represent a significant escalation in the war. Such attacks could also indicate that Ukrainian operatives are able to penetrate deeply into Russian-occupied territory.

According to FRANCE 24’s chief foreign editor Rob Parsons, reporting from Kyiv, “the Ukrainians are remaining tight-lipped about what’s going on".

"They prefer to maintain a policy of strategic ambiguity when it comes to what they are doing and what their intentions are behind Russian lines,” Parsons said. “But it’s pretty clear all the same that the idea is to keep the Russians feeling insecure, to destroy their communication lines, to hit their weapons depots, to make sure that they don’t feel safe anywhere." 

 

6:42am: Ship carrying first Ukraine grain cargo sets sail for Africa 

The MV Brave Commander left the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi and will sail to Djibouti "for delivery to Ethiopia", the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry said on Telegram.

The ship is carrying 23,000 tonnes of wheat.

It is the first ship chartered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to leave Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion in February. The government has said it hopes two or three similar shipments will follow soon.

9:02pm: Macron says he discussed Ukraine crisis with India's Modi

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed via telephone on Tuesday the crisis in Ukraine with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the two agreed to work together to try to end the conflict, said the French presidency.

Macron also held a call earlier on Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the French leader underlined his concerns about risks to Ukraine's nuclear facilities as result of the fighting with Russia.

8:42pm: Ukraine nuclear power company says Russian hackers attacked website

Ukraine's state nuclear power company Energoatom said a Russian hacker group launched a major three-hour attack on its website on Tuesday but had not caused significant problems.

"The Russian group 'People's Cyber Army' carried out a cyber attack using 7.25 million bot users, who simulated hundreds of millions of views of the company's main page," Energoatom said in a statement. "(This) did not significantly affect operations of the Energoatom website."

 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

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