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Ukraine, international officials decry ‘alarming’ military activity near nuclear plant: Live updates

  • August 13, 2022

A Ukraine official on Friday decried Russian control of Europe’s largest nuclear plant as the U.N. nuclear chief warned that military activity near the plant is “very alarming.”

Russian troops took over the Zaporizhzhia plant in southern Ukraine, one of the 10 largest nuclear plants in the world, shortly after invading the country in February. Before the war, the plant accounted for about half the electricity generated by nuclear power in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi said in a Facebook post translated by CNN that there is “no adequate control over operations at the plant.”

Monastyrskyi said Ukrainian specialists working at the plant are not always allowed in the areas they should be. He said the Ukrainian government has appealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure proper control of the plant, adding that his office is “preparing for any scenario.”

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Rafael Grossi, the U.N.’s nuclear chief, said both nations need to immediately allow nuclear experts to assess damage to the plant and evaluate its safety and security. 

The situation there “has been deteriorating very rapidly,” he said. At least one nuclear reactor was forced to shut down last week after shelling and explosions at the plant shut down the electrical power transformer and two backup transformers.

Latest developments:

►Russia’s gross domestic product contracted 4% in the second quarter of this year, the first full quarter since Russia sent troops into Ukraine, the state statistical service said Friday.

►A Russian court placed journalist Marina Ovsyannikova under house arrest for nearly two months as she faces charges of spreading false information about the country’s armed forces that could result in a 10-year prison sentence. Ovsyannikova has been critical of the war in Ukraine and was arrested Wednesday after holding up a sign in which she called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer.”

►The invasion of Ukraine has set Russia’s economy back four years in the first quarter sine the invasion amid international sanctions, disrupted trade and stalled consumer spending, setting the country up for one of its longest downturns on record, according to Bloomberg analysis.

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Satellite images appeared to show at least seven damaged aircraft as Russian officials attempted to downplay the blasts, claiming no aircraft had been damaged.

— Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

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