UN inspectors on scene ain’t stopping the fighting around the Ukraine nuclear plant….
President Biden will not designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism….
Ukraine forces make small gains in the Kherson area….
Here’s what we know:
The nuclear watchdog agency, which will later brief the U.N. Security Council, said that shelling around the Zaporizhzhia complex should be “stopped immediately.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency calls for a ‘safety and security protection zone’ at the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Russia is buying North Korean artillery, according to U.S. intelligence.
Ukraine seeks a safe route for civilians wanting to flee the region of an embattled nuclear plant.
North Korea appears to draw closer to Russia with possible artillery sales and labor exports.
Russia sentences a prominent journalist to 22 years in prison on treason charges….
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency detailed its findings on the “safety, security and safeguards” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is controlled by Russian forces in Ukraine. Inspectors left the site after an IAEA mission that overcame halting negotiations and the risk of artillery fire, with two representatives staying behind to monitor the situation. The report noted that shelling continues to pose a threat and has damaged the electricity network and buildings near the reactors. The agency also said the conditions under which Ukrainian staff are operating the plant are “extremely stressful” and “not sustainable.”
- “They are playing with fire and something very, very catastrophic could take place,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. He said the attacks were “simply unacceptable,” but he did not single out either side.
- A backup power line linked to the Zaporizhzhia plantwas disconnected to extinguish a fire but not damaged, the IAEA said. For safety, the plant is receiving electricity from its sole operating reactor, it said. Ukrainian state company Energoatom said earlier that Russian shelling had caused a fire, while Russia also accused Ukraine of shelling nearby. The Washington Post could not confirm either side’s claims.
- The European Commission on Tuesday proposed the full suspension of a visa facilitation accord with Russia, a move aimed at making it more difficult and expensive for Russian tourists to get visas but not banning them completely. It’s now up to the European Council to adopt the proposal. The question of what to do about Russian visitorshas divided the bloc. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has repeatedly called for an outright ban on Russian tourists, said the decision was “an important step” but that more should be done. “Europe is not a place for promenade for murderers and those who support them,” he said in his nightly address.
- The Russian Defense Ministry “is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells” from North Korea, according to declassified U.S. intelligence. A U.S. official did not specify how much weaponry was involved. “This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine,” the official said. Both Russia and Ukraine have struggled to source artillery shells for Soviet-era weapons.
- Zelensky spoke with newly minted British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Tuesday — the first call with a foreign leader during her tenure. Truss has pledged continued support for Kyiv and a tough posture toward Moscow. Zelensky said he invited Truss to Ukraine and said the U.K. premier signaled support for further economic and defense aid. Russia’s top diplomat criticized Truss and called her “inherently anti-Russian.”
- Ukrainian officials say they made some gains in the occupied Kherson region, wresting two villages from Russian hands in the south. A Ukrainian presidential adviser said troops were also counterattacking in parts of the country’s east and southeast.
- An American assessment on Tuesday appeared to confirm modest Ukrainian gains in the south. U.S. officials have seen “continued offensive operations” by Ukraine in the Kherson region, Pentagon press secretary Patrick Ryder said at a briefing. “They continue to make some forward movement. We are aware that they have retaken some villages.” The Post could not independently verify the claims. Zelensky said earlier that Ukrainian flags were “returning to the places where they should be by right.”
- A “referendum” in Kherson on becoming part of Russia has been “paused,” Russian new agencies said, quoting a pro-Moscow official in the region. Kirill Stremousov blamed security conditions but said Kyiv would not get in the way. Washington has denounced Russian plans for such votesas illegitimate “sham” referendums that seek to annex more of Ukraine.
- The Russian-backed leader of an occupied city in the Zaporizhzhia region was seriously injured in a car bombing, occupation authorities said Tuesday. In a Telegram post showing a burned-out SUV parked on a narrow street, authorities accused Ukrainian forces of blowing up the car of Artyom Bardin, the head of the Russian-backed occupation administration in Berdyansk, a port city in southeastern Ukraine. Bardin was hospitalized “in a serious condition,” the post said. The Ukrainian military did not immediately release any information about the alleged bombing….