The International Atomic Energy Agency will establish a “permanent” presence at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, the agency’s chief said Friday. The move to constantly monitor the facility followed heavy fighting between Russia and Ukraine that raised fears among world leaders of a potential nuclear catastrophe.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Gas transport along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which links western Russia and Germany, has fully stopped, Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom announced Friday. The key pipeline has been shut down in recent days for what the Russian energy giant described as “routine maintenance.” In a statement Friday, Gazprom said an oil leak was discovered at a compressor station in the course of maintenance work, so the pipeline would not reopen Saturday as planned.
- Two IAEA inspectors will remain at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on a “permanent” basis, agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said at a news conference in Vienna Friday evening following his trip to the facility. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s envoy to the agency, told The Washington Post earlier Friday that Russian authorities “welcome this intention.” Grossi led a 14-person delegation on an inspection tour of the Russian-held facility Thursday. The two monitors set to stay on will serve as the agency’s eyes and ears on the ground, providing much more reliable access to information about the safety of the site, Grossi said.
- Grossi said “the physical integrity of the plant” had been violated “several times,” adding that he had seen impact holes and markings on buildings from shelling. He called attacks on the plant “unacceptable.” Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for shelling on the plant in the past month. Grossi said safety and security systems at the site were functional, and backup diesel generators were operating normally. Some radiation monitoring and emergency response systems are working well, after interruptions. Grossi voiced concern about Ukrainian workers who continue work in an atmosphere of “latent tension” under Russian supervisors, and praised their professionalism.
- The risk of a nuclear accident will remain as long as fighting around the site continues, Grossi said. “I was worried, I am worried, I will be worried, for as long as we don’t have a stabilized situation in a permanent manner,” he said. But the IAEA director rebuffed Ukrainian calls for the agency to throw its support behind the creation of a demilitarized zone around the plant, arguing that it was not the agency’s job to wade into politics. “Frankly speaking, there are enough political players in this game,” he said.
- Lithuania called for an “internationally enforced” safe zone at the Zaporizhzhia plant. The Lithuanianforeign minister said this was “the only way to prevent” a nuclear disaster, after the country’s deputy police commissioner offered to send officers to Ukraine in the event that a U.N. peacekeeping force is formed.
- In the southern Kherson region, some residents told The Post that artillery fire from both sides has ramped up. Russian forces now control most of the region, including its Black Sea port city of the same name, and people in the Ukrainian footholds have had to find ways to flee, such as crossing a makeshift bridge of gravel and pipes or swimming the Inhulets River.
- Russian forces fighting to seize the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have focused their firetoward the front-line city of Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military said. In an operational update Friday, the military’s General Staff said Ukrainian forces had repelled the Russian’s offensive in the Bakhmut direction.
- Canada began training Ukrainian soldiers in the United Kingdom. Canadian instructors are training the recruits as part of a “large scale effort” in partnership with Britain and allied countries, Canadian Armed Forces Operations said in a Facebook post Thursday.
- Ukrainian students carried “emergency backpacks” and practiced air raid drills at a school’s opening ceremony this week. Others could not attend in person because their school building was bombed.The Post spoke to students and parents across Ukraine as the country begins an unprecedented academic year…