A second caravan of ships with Ukrainian agriculture products sailed from Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Sunday, according to Ukrainian and Turkish authorities. Meanwhile, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog raised grave concerns over the shelling at the Zaporizhzhia plant, as the Ukrainian military said Russian forces had attacked dozens of front-line towns. Follow FRANCE 24’s live coverage of the crisis. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
8:43pm: Zelensky: no talks if Russia stages referendums
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that if Russia proceeded with referendums in occupied areas of his country on joining Russia there could be no talks with Ukraine or its international allies.
“If the occupiers proceed along the path of pseudo-referendums they will close for themselves any chance of talks with Ukraine and the free world, which the Russian side will clearly need at some point,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
Russian and Ukrainian officials held several sessions of talks soon after Russian forces launched their invasion of Ukraine. But no meetings have been held since late March, with each side blaming the other for the halt to contacts.
5:02pm: Amnesty regrets ‘distress and anger’ caused by Ukraine report
Amnesty International said Saturday it “deeply regrets the distress and anger” caused after it documented alleged violations of international law by Ukrainian forces fighting Russian invaders.
“While we fully stand by our findings, we regret the pain caused,” the rights group said in a statement, adding: “Nothing we documented Ukrainian forces doing in any way justifies Russian violations.”
3:27pm: Ukraine investigating almost 26,000 suspected war crimes cases
Ukraine is investigating almost 26,000 suspected war crime cases committed since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion and has charged 135 people, its chief war crimes prosecutor told Reuters.
Of those charged, around 15 are in Ukrainian custody and the remaining 120 remain at large, Yuriy Bilousov, head of the war crimes department of the Prosecutor General’s office, said in an interview in the capital Kyiv.
2:46pm: First ship since Russian invasion arrives in Ukraine, ministry says
The first cargo vessel since the Russian invasion arrived at Ukrainian Black Sea port of Chornomorsk for the future transportation of grain to international markets, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry said on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, four ships carrying Ukrainian foodstuffs sailed from Ukrainian Black Sea ports as part of a deal to unblock the country’s sea exports. “Bulk carrier FULMAR S has arrived at Chornomorsk port and is ready for loading,” the ministry said on Facebook.
2:00pm: New strike on Ukraine nuclear plant according to Russian authorities
Russian occupation authorities at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Sunday said a strike by Ukrainian forces damaged administrative buildings inside the complex.
Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest atomic power complex that was occupied by Russia early in its offensive, has in recent days been the scene of military strikes that have damaged several structures, forcing the shutdown of a reactor.
As Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the attacks, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned on Saturday of “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster.”
On Sunday, Russian occupation authorities in the city of Energodar where the plant is located said that overnight, “the Ukrainian army carried out an attack with a cluster bomb fired from an Uragan rocket launcher.”
The projectiles fell within 400 metres of a working reactor,” Russia’s TASS state news agency quoted them as saying. The strike damaged some administrative buildings and fell in a “zone storing used nuclear fuel”. The information could not be independently verified.
1:06pm: Worker wounded in new Russian strike on Zaporizhzhia plant: Ukraine
Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom said on Sunday that a worker was wounded when Russian forces again shelled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe, on Saturday evening.
In a post on Telegram, Energoatom said the site of the plant’s dry storage facility, where 174 containers with spent nuclear fuel are stored in the open air, was hit by rocket attacks.
1:03pm: Zelensky calls for tougher international response after shelling of nuclear plant
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Sunday for a stronger international response to what he described as Russian “nuclear terror” after shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe.
During a phone call with European Council President Charles Michel, Zelenskiy called for sanctions to be imposed on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel, the Ukrainian leader wrote on Twitter.
Talked with @eucopresident Charles Michel, told about the situation on the battlefield, in particular at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Russian nuclear terror requires a stronger response from the international community – sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel. (1/2)
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) August 7, 2022
11:47am: Russia hails re-election of ex-deputy PM to chess body
The re-election of a Russian former deputy premier as head of the international chess federation was a “victory” for Moscow, said the Kremlin.
The re-election of Arkady Dvorkovich as International Chess Federation (FIDE) president was “clearly very good news and a very significant victory,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying.
“It’s very cool. This is an important organisation, with lots of work to be done, and we hope Dvorkovich will be successful in this work,” Peskov said.
In the race for the top job at FIDE, 50-year-old Dvorkovich – who served as deputy prime minister under President Vladimir Putin from 2012 until 2018 – saw off Ukrainian challenger, grandmaster Andrii Baryshpolets, who accused him of being part of Moscow’s “war machine”.
But a crushing majority of 157 out of 179 national chess associations voted for his re-election in a meeting in India.
9:27am: Russia-backed official in Ukraine’s Kherson dies after attack
An official with the Russian occupying authorities in Ukraine’s Kherson region has died after an assassination attempt, local Moscow-backed authorities said.
Vitaly Gura, the deputy chief of the Kakhovka district, “died of his injuries”, local official Katerina Gubareva, said on Telegram.
Gura was attacked at home on Saturday morning and was gravely wounded by bullets, a source in the Russian-backed administration told TASS news agency.
Kakhovka is about 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Kherson city.
Several assassination attempts have been reported against officials in Ukrainian regions seized by Russia since the start of its military operation in Ukraine in February.
8:20am: UN nuclear watchdog issues warning on Zaporizhzhia plant
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency raised grave concern about shelling at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine, as its military said Russian forces had attacked dozens of front-line towns.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin termed a “special military operation”, the conflict has settled into a war of attrition fought largely in Ukraine’s east and south.
But the fighting over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the south, captured by Russian forces in the opening stage of the war but still run by Ukrainian technicians, has raised the prospect of a wider disaster.
“I’m extremely concerned by the shelling yesterday at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement.
The @iaeaorg team must go to Zaporizhia just as we did to Chornobyl and South Ukraine earlier in the year. We can put together a safety, security and safeguards mission and deliver the indispensable assistance and impartial assessment that is needed. pic.twitter.com/yc4ZWyknJt
— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) August 7, 2022
8:08am: Cargo ships sail from Ukraine: Turkish, Ukrainian officials
Four ships carrying Ukrainian foodstuffs sailed from Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Sunday according to Ukrainian and Turkish officials said.
The four bulk carriers were loaded with more than 160,000 tonnes of corn and other foodstuffs.
The resumption of grain exports is being overseen by a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul where Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel are working.
The UN and Turkey brokered the deal last month after UN warnings of possible outbreaks of famine in parts of the world due to a halt in grain shipments from Ukraine that had squeezed supplies and sent prices soaring.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)