UK News

Ukraine war briefing: attacks on nuclear plant are Russian ‘false flag’, Kyiv tells UN security council

  • Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, has accused Russia of a “a well-planned false-flag operation” endangering the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, as the two countries traded accusations at the UN security council over alleged attacks on Europe’s largest nuclear power station. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, said without attributing blame that three “reckless” attacks since 7 April had put the world “dangerously close to a nuclear accident”.

  • Ukraine and its allies on Monday again blamed Russia for dangers at the site. “Russia does not care about these risks … If it did, it would not continue to forcibly control the plant,” US deputy ambassador Robert Wood told the security council. Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said that while the IAEA had not pinpointed which side was behind the attacks, “we know full well who it is”. Grossi, outside the security council meeting, said: “We are getting dangerously close to a nuclear accident. We must not allow complacency to let a role of the dice decide what happens tomorrow.”

  • Voldoymyr Zelenskiy has called on allies to show Ukraine the same unity they displayed in helping Israel fend off Iranian attacks. The Ukrainian president issued a fresh plea for air defences to protect against Russian strikes on cities and infrastructure. Zelenskiy said: “Israel is not a member of Nato … and no one was drawn into the war,” he said. “They simply helped save lives. Shaheds [drones] in the skies of Ukraine sound just like in the skies of the Middle East. Ballistics strike the same everywhere if not shot down.” Western allies have hesitated to send additional air defences to Ukraine which needs 26 Patriot systems for full protection. Germany has pledged to deliver one additional system.

  • In the US, the House speaker, Mike Johnson, has unveiled a proposal to separate out Ukraine military aid from other assistance for Israel and Taiwan, instead of passing a $95bn combined bill that already has Senate approval. The US president, Joe Biden, called on the House to take up the Senate funding package immediately: “They have to do it now.” Johnson insisted the House would this instead this week consider separate bills for Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific security.

  • Johnson said the new House bills provide roughly the same amount of foreign aid as the Senate bill but would include differences including some aid in the form of a loan. However, critics say it amounts to further unnecessary delay as the Senate bill was passed two months ago. “If House Republicans put the Senate supplemental [spending bill] on the floor, I believe it would pass today, reach the president’s desk tonight and Israel would get the aid it needs by tomorrow,” said the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer.

  • The US has imposed sanctions on 12 Belarus entities and 10 individuals, accusing them of supporting Russia’s war on Ukraine. The treasury department said among the entities targeted were a machine tool building firm, a company selling control systems for the Belarus armed forces, and another producing radio communication equipment.

  • Asylum claims from Russians, including soldiers who have deserted, have surged since the full-scale invasion but few are winning protection, the Associated Press has reported. In France, asylum requests rose more than 50% between 2022 and 2023, to a total of about 3,400 people, according to the French office that handles the requests. In 2023, Germany got 7,663 first-time asylum applications from Russian citizens, up from 2,851 in 2022. US Customs and Border Patrol officials encountered more than 57,000 Russians at US borders in fiscal year 2023, up from about 13,000 in fiscal year 2021. The Independent Russian media outlet Mediazona has documented more than 7,300 cases in Russian courts against deserting soldiers since September 2022; cases of desertion leapt sixfold in 2023, AP said.


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