Main news of the day – The New Voice of Ukraine newsletter

8 August 2022, 04:30 PM
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With six reactors, Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is the largest in Europe. The photo shows a Russian soldier against the background of the occupied station (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

With six reactors, Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is the largest in Europe. The photo shows a Russian soldier against the background of the occupied station (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

This newsletter was compiled by Romeo Kokriatski, Managing Editor of the  New Voice of Ukraine, August 8, 2022.

Weekend Catch-up Edition

The Russian attack damaged a power line, which necessitated disconnecting the reactor from the grid. A hydrogen pipeline also caught on fire due to the attack. Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear operator, stated that a nitrogen/oxygen pump had also been affected, raising the risk of a hydrogen leak and radioactive contamination. The plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, has been under Russian occupation since March 4. Ukrainian intelligence believes the latest attack is thought to be a form of nuclear blackmail to lessen Western aid for Ukraine.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director General, Rafael Grossi, has expressed “extreme concern” regarding Russia’s actions at the ZNPP, stressing the very real risk of a nuclear disaster if the plant is not properly maintained. "I strongly and urgently appeal to all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in the vicinity of this important nuclear facility, with its six reactors,” Grossi said, in a statement on Aug. 6. He again called upon the occupying authority to provide access for an IAEA mission to the facility, but Russia has thus far refused to cooperate with the international nuclear watchdog.

Russian forces are currently attempting to advance deeper into Ukrainian-held territory in Donetsk Oblast, but have so far been unable to take the heavily-fortified town of Avdiyivka. Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, on Aug. 6, said that the nearby village of Pisky still remains in Ukrainian hands, despite Russian claims that it had fallen to their soldiers – something Kyrylenko calls “fake news,” though the village is still “hotly contested.”

Following on the successful voyage of the first grain cargo ship to depart a Ukrainian port after Russia’s full-scale invasion, four more ships, laden with nearly 170,000 tons of cargo, have left Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Ukrainian government will be working on raising throughput “to at least 100 ships per month,” for an estimated total of 3 million tons of cargo per month. If the multi-lateral agreement on the partial blockade lift of Ukrainian ports holds, then Ukraine may be able to alleviate prior risks of global hunger.

In Luhansk Oblast, Russian puppet authorities are attempting to use food supplies as a means of coercing residents into voting for a sham annexation “referendum”.

According to regional governor Serhiy Hayday, Russian troops delivering ‘humanitarian aid’ are requiring residents of captured Ukrainian cities to provide their personal information in order to receive food supplies, water, and construction materials. Hayday says that propaganda efforts to convince residents to vote in favor of Moscow are increasing ahead of a planned “vote” that would see the oblast be fully annexed by the Russian Federation, or joined to the existing Luhansk puppet authority.

A Ukrainian-American congresswoman, embroiled in a spat with the Zelenskyy administration, refused an invite to meet with Zelenskyy’s chief-of-staff.

The invite was offered after Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-IN) sharply criticized Zelenskyy chief-of-staff Andriy Yermak for what she believes to be “serious allegations” regarding Yermak’s loyalty to the Ukrainian state, as well as corruption. The congresswoman said that a meeting with Yermak would “not be productive.” According to Spartz, Yermak’s appointment of Oleh Tatarov, a former top Interior Ministry official under Yanukovych, to the post of deputy chief-of-staff, has harmed anti-corruption efforts, and has blamed Yermak for various failed Ukrainian operations. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in turn, has accused Spartz of attempting to return “Russian propaganda narratives” to U.S. politics.

That’s according to a statement by President Zelenskyy, in his nightly video address to the nation on Aug. 5. Another 900 assets are under consideration for seizure. One of the more notable Russian assets in Ukraine is the Ocean Plaza mall in Kyiv – the second largest mall in the capital, belonging to Russian oligarch Arkady Rotenberg.

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Pifer stresses the importance of letting Ukraine decide when on what terms negotiations should be held, and argues against voices saying Washington should negotiate a cease-fire with Moscow directly.

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