'Very high risk' of disaster at Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in Ukraine

·28-min read
Zaporizhzhia Power station seen from across the River Dnipro - Paul Grover 
Zaporizhzhia Power station seen from across the River Dnipro - Paul Grover

Shelling near Europe's biggest nuclear power plant means the "risk is very high" of something going dangerously wrong, the head of Ukraine's state nuclear power firm has warned.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling the site of the vast nuclear power station in recent days.

Energoatom's chief, Petro Kotin, said that last week's Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.

He added some of the shelling landed near storage facilities for spent fuel, an area that has 174 containers of highly radioactive material, warning of the dangers of them being hit.

"This is... the most radioactive material in all the nuclear power plant. This would (mean) the distribution (of it) around this place and then we will have like a radiation cloud and then the weather will decide... which direction the cloud goes," he said.

"The risk is very high."

He added that it was vital Kyiv regains control of the Zaporizhzhia plant from the Russians in time for winter.

06:58 PM

That's all for today

Today's top stories included:

  • One person was killed and four people were injured in a series of blasts at an airfield near a Russian military airbase in western Crimea

  • Europe's biggest nuclear plant faces a 'very high' risk of shelling and must be retaken from the Russians

  • Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft blames sanctions for the halting of supplies to southern Europe

  • France banned Russians from entering a medieval fortress because of the war

  • Russia launches an Iranian satellite amid it will be used to spy on Ukraine

06:53 PM

US approves $89m mine-clearing gear and training for Ukraine

The US State Department has approved $89 million worth of assistance for mine-clearing equipment and training for Ukraine.

It will help it equip 100 ordnance removal teams for a year, a State Department official said on Tuesday.

05:14 PM

Ukrainian forces imply they were not behind fatal Crimea blasts

Ukraine's defence ministry has implied its forces were not behind the explosions which killed one person near a Russian airbase in western Crimea this afternoon.

It said on Facebook that it "cannot establish the cause of the fire", and went on to mock Moscow over the blasts at the Saki airfield near Novofedorivka base.

"The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine cannot establish the cause of the fire, but once again reminds of the rules of fire safety and the prohibition of smoking in unspecified places," it said.

04:32 PM

At least one dead in Crimea blasts, head of peninsula says

One person has died following a series of explosions near a Russian military airbase in western Crimea, the head of the peninsula's administration Sergei Aksyonov has said.

The Moscow defence ministry said earlier the blasts were caused by the detonation of aviation ammunition on the territory of the Saki airfield near Novofedorovka airbase, and were not the result of any attack.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

04:01 PM

Estonia joins countries backing Zelensky's calls to ban all Russian visitors

Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has backed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's calls on Western countries to ban all Russian visitors.

Mr Zelensky told The Washington Post that Russians should "live in their own world until they change their philosophy".

A day after her Nordic neighbour Finland backed restrictions on Russian visitors, Ms Kallas tweeted: "Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right."

Last month, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said that EU countries should restrict issuing visas for Russians, with an exemption for humanitarian reasons.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said "it's not right that at the same time as Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists".

Estonia and Finland are expected to raise the visa issue at an EU foreign ministers' meeting soon, the BBC reports.

03:53 PM

Child and four others injured in Crimea blast - health authority says

A child was among five people who were injured in a series of explosions near a Russian military airbase in western Crimea, the head of the annexed peninsula's health department has said, according to TASS.

"Some 30 people were evacuated from nearby houses. People will be accommodated in hotels and sanatoriums and will be provided with meals. The airfield has been cordoned off," Oleg Kryuchkov, an aide to the Moscow-installed head of Crimea, added on his Telegram channel.

The Russian defense ministry earlier said no one was hurt and no damage was done to aircraft after several aviation bombs exploded on the territory of the Saki airfield near Novofedorovka.

03:28 PM

Ukraine 'have shown they can hit Crimea'

Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at St Andrews University, suggests Ukrainan forces were behind the blast at a Russian military airbase in western Crimea.

He tweeted: “What the Ukrainians are doing is extremely important. By showing they can hit Crimea, they will further stretch Russia defensive capabilities. The Russians are going to have to protect a huge area behind the front lines.”

03:05 PM

Explosion at Russian military base in Crimea was not attack, defence ministry says

Aviation ammunition was the cause of the blast at a Russian military airbase in western Crimea, Moscow's defence ministry said, adding there were no casualties, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

It said there had been no attack, and no military equipment had been damaged.

03:02 PM

'Our airport is on fire' - Crimean official

An airfield used by Russian naval aircraft in western Crimea is on fire, an official has said.

A blast has rocked an airdrome in Crimea’s Saki district, Viktoria Kazmirova, deputy head of the local administration, told TASS news agency on Tuesday.

“Our airport is on fire. All the windows have been shattered," she said.

The Saki military airdrome near Novofedorovka is used by the Russian defense ministry, including for naval aircraft.

The airdrome has a ground-based testing and training system NITKA, one of Russia’s two such simulators to drill the skills of takeoff and landing of ship-based aircraft, reported TASS.

02:52 PM

RT editor claims blasts in Crimea were sabotage

Margarita Simonyan, the influential editor-in-chief of the RT news channel, tweeted on Tuesday that the explosions were not caused by a Ukrainian airstrike but by sabotage.

02:28 PM

Oil price jump after Russian flows to southern Europe halted

Russia's pipeline monopoly has blamed western sanctions for the suspension of its oil supplies to southern Europe.

Transneft announced it had halted shipments via the Druzhba route via Ukraine on August 4, leading to a $2 jump in Brent crude to trade near $98 per barrel.

It said Ukraine had suspended the Russian oil flows because Western sanctions prevented it from receiving transit fees from Moscow.

From March this year, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have relied extensively on supplies of Russian Urals crude via the Druzhba pipeline and reduced their purchases of maritime crude.

02:18 PM

Russians shouldn't have been barred from entering medieval castle, French defence ministry says

Two Russians were barred entry to a French fortress and popular touristic site because its security guards had applied a ban on them entering military installations too rigidly, the defence ministry has said.

It confirmed Russian nationals were banned from entering military installations because of its invasion of Ukraine.

But said that the rule cannot be applied in the same way for strategic sites and ones open to the public such as Chateau de Vincennes.

The medieval castle on the edge of Paris is for the most part open to the public but is technically a military installation and covered by the ban as it houses part of the French armed forces' historical archives, to which access is restricted.

Applying the rule, security guards at the Chateau de Vincennes denied two Russian women access to the monument on July 28.

The ministry told AFP that the guards had in fact "indiscriminately applied a rule established in February concerning all military installations".

"This rule cannot be applied in the same way for strategic sites and for sites accessible to the public, such as museums," a spokesman said.

02:03 PM

Explosions and black smoke rising from Russian military base in Crimea

Several loud explosions and black smoke have been seen rising from the direction of a Russian military airbase in  Crimea.

Witnesses claimed Russia's Saki Air Base in Novofedorivka in the west of peninsula had been hit by Ukrainian forces.

Videos shared on social media showed a plume of smoke in the area.

01:46 PM

Unitaid donates 220 breathing devices to save premature babies in Ukraine

Unitaid has donated 220 specialised breathing devices that can help save premature babies in frontline hospitals to Ukraine.

Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the global health aid agency, said the stress of the war on pregnant women had led to an increase in the number of premature births, which had tripled in some areas.

The new bubble nasal continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) devices are now available in 25 facilities across Ukraine, Mr Verhoosel said.

Unitaid funds medical innovation programmes, mainly in poor countries, and is hosted by the World Health Organisation.

12:25 PM

Kaliningrad transit quotas for sanctioned goods reached

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has reached its quotas for goods it can import across Lithuania from mainland Russia or Belarus, the region's governor has said.

Moscow reacted with fury after Lithuania banned the land transit of goods such as concrete and steel to the Baltic territory after EU sanctions on them came into force.

Last month the bloc agreed to impose limits on the volume of sanctions being imported into mainland Russia or Belarus by land.

The quotas were based on average volumes over the last three years to prevent Kaliningrad being used to dodge sanctions.

Today Kaliningrad governor Anton Alikhanov said some quotas had already been reached, making it impossible, for instance, for Kaliningrad to import cement from Belarus - which used to account for around 200,000 tonnes a year.

Alikhanov estimated that the limits permit Russia to ship around 500,000 tonnes of sanctioned goods in total in both directions each year.  Moscow says trade with its outlying territory should not be subject to limits.

12:17 PM

Fears of nuclear accident as at least three killed and 23 wounded by Russian shelling

At least three Ukrainian civilians were killed and 23 others were wounded by Russian shelling in the last 24 hours, the office of Ukraine's president has said.

The Russians were said to have fired over 120 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at the southern town of Nikopol, which is across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant - the largest in Europe.

Dnipropetrovsk Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko said several apartment buildings and industrial facilities were damaged.

Ukraine and Russia accused each other in recent days of shelling the nuclear plant, which is the largest one in Europe, and increasing the risks of a nuclear accident.

12:11 PM

Oil deliveries to Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Rep halted 'due to sanctions'

The supply of Russian oil to three European countries through Ukraine has been halted as the transit payment cannot be processed due to sanctions, Russian firm Transneft has claimed.

"On August 4, the delivery of Russian oil via the territory of Ukraine was halted," the oil pipeline operator said in a statement, adding that this would affect deliveries to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

12:05 PM

Putin's oligarchs 'laughing at Germany' as none declares their assets

Germany's sanction regime has become a laughing stock as it emerged not a single penalised Russian oligarch has declared their assets to the authorities.

Berlin has frozen some €4.28 billion in assets belonging to Russians since to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Germany's sanctions law says those targeted by EU sanctions who fail to declare their assets immediately face a fine or up to a year in prison.

The economy ministry says the seized assets included €2.3 billion in deposits at German banks but no declarations have been received by "the Bundesbank or the Federal Office for Economy and Export Control," state secretary Udo Philipp said in a letter to the Left party legislator Christian Goerke.

Mr Goerke said: "The duty of transparency should be extended to people who do business with oligarchs, like notaries, brokers, used car dealers, art dealers and banks.

"It's not enough to put the names of oligarchs on sanctions lists.

"Putin's oligarchs are laughing like a drain while authorities are despairing of ever tracking down and freezing their assets."

11:45 AM

Russians barred from French fortress 'because of the war'

Two Russian women were refused access to the Chateau de Vincennes because of the war in Ukraine, officials have said.

The mediaeval fortress and popular French tourist attraction is on the edge of Paris has some 150,000 annual visitors.

On July 28, two Russian women were refused access.

"A guard at the metal detector asked to see my passport," said one of the women, 31, who works as a journalist and has been in France for five months, having left Russia "because of the war".

Official confirmed to AFP news agency that the French military barred their access due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Once the residence of French kings and among Europe's best-preserved monuments of its kind, the castle is for the most part open to the public, including for tours, concerts, theatre plays and other events.

It also houses part of the French armed forces' historical archives, to which access is restricted.

Each year some 150,000 people visit the chateau, paying 9.50 euros (£8.03) per adult admission.

11:39 AM

Ukraine 'receives mine-resistant AVs from Turkey'

Ukraine has received a delivery of mine-resistant AVs from Turkey, it has been claimed.

The "Military Informant" Telegram channel said Kyiv sources have reported deliveries of the BMC Kirpi 4x4s  from Turkey - which has acted as mediator between Ukraine and Russia.

"Similar MRAPs could be seen during joint Russian-Turkish patrols in Syria," the channel told its 445,151 subscribers.

"It is alleged that the Ukrainian army has already received 50 Turkish armored vehicles, and another 150 'dear friend' Erdogan (the Turkish president) will deliver in the near future."

11:26 AM

Moscow destroys 'more than 300 weapons in depot storing Himars and M777 howitzers'

Russia's defence ministry has claimed its forces have destroyed an ammunition depot near Uman in Ukraine storing US-made Himars missiles and M777 howitzers, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The ministry said in its daily briefing that it had destroyed more than 300 rockets in the strike.

Kyiv has hailed the arrival of the advanced, long-range Himars from the US as a possible gamechanger, while Moscow has accused the West of "dragging out" the conflict by arming Ukraine.

11:24 AM

MoD shares latest map on the Ukraine war

11:19 AM

More than 10.5m people have left Ukraine since the war

More than 10.5 million people have crossed border from Ukraine since Russia's invasion began, the United Nations Refugee agency UNHCR has said on its website.

The agency said in a statement last month that it has expanded "protection, housing and assistance programmes, especially to reach those living in the areas hardest hit by the war.

"The current focus is on preparations for the upcoming winter."

11:14 AM

Iran registers its first cryptocurrency order to import £8.25m worth of goods

Iran has registered its first official order to import £8.25m ($10m) worth of goods in cryptocurrency, which it is using to get around US-sanctions, according to the semi-official Tasnim agency.

Last month Iran's supreme leader offered his staunch support to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country's war in Ukraine.

Today Alireza Peymanpak, an official from the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, said: "This week, the first official import order registration worth 10 million dollars was successfully completed using cryptocurrency.

"By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widely used in foreign trade with target countries."

In May, a study by blockchain analytics firm Elliptic found: "Iran has recognised that bitcoin mining represents an attractive opportunity for a sanctions-hit economy suffering from a shortage of hard cash, but with a surplus of oil and natural gas.

"The Iranian state is therefore effectively selling its energy reserves on the global markets, using the Bitcoin mining process to bypass trade embargoes.

"Iran-based miners are paid directly in Bitcoin, which can then be used to pay for imports - allowing sanctions on payments through Iranian financial institutions to be circumvented."

11:04 AM

Putin and Israeli president speak over dissolution of Jewish Agency's Russian arm

Vladimir Putin and Isaac Herzog discussed the Jewish Agency, which promotes emigration to Israel, over the phone today, the Kremlin said.

Russia has moved to dissolve the agency's Russian arm in a move seen as retaliation for Israel's criticism of its invasion of Ukraine.

10:56 AM

Russia launches Iranian satellite

Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - ROSCOSMOS/via REUTERS 
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - ROSCOSMOS/via REUTERS
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - YURI KADOBNOV /AFP
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - YURI KADOBNOV /AFP
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - ROSCOSMOS/via REUTERS 
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - ROSCOSMOS/via REUTERS

10:35 AM

Zelensky's call for ban on all Russians is irrational - Kremlin

The Kremlin has dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's call for a travel ban on all Russians as irrational, saying that Europe would ultimately have to decide if it wanted to pay the bills for Mr Zelensky's "whims."

In an interview with The Washington Post, Mr Zelensky called on Western leaders to stop allowing Russians to travel to their countries as punishment for President Vladimir Putin's decision to send troops into Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no chance Russians could be isolated from the rest of the world, and questioned if Europe should continue supporting Mr Zelensky.

"The irrationality of his thinking in this case is off the scale,"Mr  Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.

"This can only be seen extremely negatively. Any attempt to isolate Russia or Russians is a process that has no prospects."

Sooner or later Europe will "start wondering whether Zelensky is doing everything right, and whether its citizens should pay for his whims," Mr Peskov added.

Mr Zelensky was quoted by the Post as saying that Russians should be forced to "live in their own world until they change their philosophy."

10:17 AM

'Getting desensitised to the war is a dangerous thing' - Lord Hague

Conservative peer and former party leader Lord Hague of Richmond has warned that "getting desensitised to the war is a dangerous thing".

He told Times Radio: "We're getting so used to 'oh there's a war going on over there' that when that happens, the Russians are firing from around that plant, to put explosives and mines there, potentially, a potential nuclear catastrophe in the view of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it's not such big news any more is it?

"I mean it is on the news, but it's not dominating things, so this sort of - getting desensitised to the war is a dangerous thing, because it is the main thing happening and the threat to everybody's security and economic prosperity in the end."

09:51 AM

Two more grain ships leave Ukraine

Two more grain-carrying ships have left Ukraine's Chornomorsk port, Turkey's defence ministry said, as part of a deal to unblock Ukrainian sea exports, bringing the total to leave the country under a safe passage deal to 12.

The Ocean Lion left for South Korea, carrying 64,720 tonnes of corn, it said, while the Rahmi Yagci was carrying 5,300 tonnes of sunflower meal to Istanbul.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the agreement last month after warnings that the halt in grain shipments caused by the conflict could lead to severe food shortages and even outbreaks of famine in parts of the world.

Four ships that left Ukraine on Sunday are anchored near Istanbul and will be inspected on Tuesday, the defence ministry statement said.

09:17 AM

Anti-aircraft defence around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant will be 'beefed up'

Anti-aircraft defences around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant will be strengthened following days of reported shelling on the site, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted a Russian-installed separatist official as saying on Monday.

Yevgeny Balitsky, head of the Russian-backed administration in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region also said the nuclear station, Europe's largest, was working normally and damaged power lines have been restored.

Both Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for attacks on the power station, located in Russian-controlled territory, over recent days.

08:52 AM

Germany's economy to shed £220bn due to war - study

Germany's economy will lose more than 260 billion euros (£220 billion) in added value by 2030 due to the Ukraine war and high energy prices, spelling negative effects for the labour market, according to a study by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

In comparison with expectations for a peaceful Europe, Germany's price-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) will be 1.7pc lower next year and there will be about 240,000 fewer people in employment, said the study published on Tuesday.

The employment level is expected to stay at around this level until 2026, when expansive measures will gradually begin to outweigh the negative effects and lead to a plus of about 60,000 gainfully employed in 2030.

One of the big losers will be the hospitality industry, which was already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and is likely to feel the pinch of consumers' waning purchasing power.

Energy-intensive sectors, such as the chemical industry and metal production, are also especially likely to be affected.

If energy prices, which have so far shot up by 160pc, were to double again, Germany's 2023 economic output would be almost 4pc lower than it would have been without the war, according to the study. Under these assumptions, 660,000 fewer people would be employed after three years and still 60,000 fewer in 2030, it said.

08:31 AM

The war, in pictures

Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - Evgeniy Maloletka /AP
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - Evgeniy Maloletka /AP
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - Evgeniy Maloletka /AP
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - Evgeniy Maloletka /AP
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu 
Ukraine war: Russia launches Iranian satellite 'to spy on Ukraine' - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu

08:09 AM

Heavy Russian shelling bombards front lines as fighting rages in Donbas

Heavy Russian shelling bombarded front line towns in Ukraine on Tuesday, with Ukrainian officials reporting intense fighting near the eastern city of Donetsk.

Officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks in a bid to seize control of the industrialised Donbas region.

"The situation in the region is tense - shelling is constant throughout the front line ... The enemy is also using air strikes a great deal," Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television.

"The enemy is having no success. Donetsk region is holding."

Around Kharkiv in the northeast, Ukrainian troops captured the town of Dovhenke from Russian occupiers and were advancing towards Izium, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video on YouTube.

"The situation is very interesting. Ukraine's forces are moving very successfully. Attempts by Russia to regain lost ground were not successful. Ukraine may end up encircling them," he said.

In the southeast, Ukrainian forces again targeted the key Antonovskyi bridge over the Dnipro river in an attempt to disrupt Russian supply lines.

Yuri Sobolevsky, deputy head of Kherson regional council ousted by Russian occupation forces, said on Telegram the bridge had been seriously damaged after "overnight actions".

07:45 AM

EU emergency gas plan can stabilise or even lower prices

The head of Germany's network regulator welcomed the European Union's gas emergency plan, which came into effect on Tuesday, in comments to the ZDF broadcaster.

"If all countries in Europe save gas, this can stabilise the price so to speak, maybe even reduce it, and contribute to making sure that there is enough gas supply for us to make it through the autumn and winter," Bundesnetzagentur President Klaus Mueller said.

The deal asks EU countries to reduce their gas demand, to attempt to fill gas storage and prepare for a possible full Russian cut-off. It also asks them to voluntarily cut gas use by 15% this winter and could make the cuts binding in a supply emergency, albeit with numerous opt-outs for some countries and industries.

07:20 AM

'Donetsk region is holding'

Ukraine has reported intense Russian shelling across the frontlines on Tuesday.

Heavy fighting was reported in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk, where Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks as they try to seize control of the industrialised Donbas region.

"The situation in the region is tense - shelling is constant throughout the front line ... The enemy is also using air strikes a great deal," Donetsk regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television.

"The enemy is having no success. Donetsk region is holding."

Around Kharkiv in the northeast, Ukrainian troops captured the town of Dovhenke from Russian occupiers and were advancing towards Izium, Ukrainian Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video posted on YouTube.

06:45 AM

MoD's morning update

06:44 AM

Russia unable to 'generate capable combat infantry'

The Ministry of Defence has said that Russia continued to focus efforts on reinforcing defences in southern Ukraine over the weekend.

"Despite the shift in effort, Russia has maintained attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk oblast," it tweeted.

"Over the last 30 days, Russia’s assault towards the town of Bakhmut has been its most successful axis in the Donbas; however, Russia has only managed to advance about 10km during this time.

"In other Donbas sectors where Russia was attempting to break through, its forces have not gained more than 3km during this 30-day period; almost certainly significantly less than planned.

"Despite its continued heavy use of artillery in these areas, Russia has not been able to generate capable combat infantry in sufficient numbers to secure more substantial advances."

06:39 AM

Save gas, stabilise the price

The head of Germany's network regulator welcomed the European Union's gas emergency plan, which came into effect on Tuesday, in comments to the ZDF broadcaster.

"If all countries in Europe save gas, this can stabilise the price so to speak, maybe even reduce it, and contribute to making sure that there is enough gas supply for us to make it through the autumn and winter," Bundesnetzagentur President Klaus Mueller said.

The deal asks EU countries to reduce their gas demand, to attempt to fill gas storage and prepare for a possible full Russian cut-off.

It also asks them to voluntarily cut gas use by 15pc this winter and could make the cuts binding in a supply emergency, albeit with numerous opt-outs for some countries and industries.

06:00 AM

‘I was raped by a Russian soldier – he was the same age as my son’

It is only when Viktoria Martsyniuk feels the soft, gloopy clay running through her fingers that she allows herself to think about what happened to her one awful night in March this year.

The invading Russian soldiers had gone on the hunt for women to rape. She was one of their victims.

“I like sculpting because it helps keep me calm,” she said. “It’s good to do things with my hands.”

Before the war, if someone had told the 42-year-mother of two that she would one day be in therapy, she would have laughed. It is the kind of treatment people “with lots of money” do, she said, but thanks to the state of Ukraine they are paying for her to process the traumas that she endured when the Russian Army invaded her rural village near the city of Borodyanka, about 60 km outside Kyiv.

Read the full story by Danielle Sheridan here

Viktoria Martsyniuk, the victim of a brutal rape - Paul Grover
Viktoria Martsyniuk, the victim of a brutal rape - Paul Grover

05:01 AM

Listen to our daily podcast live from Ukraine

04:31 AM

Zelensky calls for more sanctions amid threat of 'nuclear disaster'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for more sanctions against Russia after raising the threat of a nuclear disaster as strikes bombarded Europe's largest nuclear power plant last week.

Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame on the shelling of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex amid international alarm their battle for control of the plant could trigger catastrophe.

Speaking in his nightly video address on Monday, Mr Zelensky said the world "should not forget about Chernobyl" and remember the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the biggest in Europe.

The Chernobyl power station in Soviet Ukraine was the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

"New sanctions are needed against the terrorist state and the entire Russian nuclear industry for creating the threat of a nuclear disaster," Mr Zelensky said.

"Russia will not pay attention to words and concerns. The Chornobyl disaster is an explosion in one reactor, the Zaporizhzhia NPP is six power units."

Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - AFP
Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - AFP

03:47 AM

British technology found in Russian weapons used in Ukraine

British technology has been found in Russian weapons used against Ukraine, a new report has revealed.

Oscillators and crystals produced by Somerset-based Golledge Electronics have been built into Russian radars and missile systems.

The highly sophisticated components show that Moscow’s war machine is reliant on highly sophisticated Western technology, according to the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi).

Russia has lost so many cruise and ballistic missiles, electronic warfare equipment and specialist radios in Ukraine that “the degradation in Russian military capability could be made permanent if appropriate policies are implemented”, the report says.

Read the full story by Dominic Nicholls here

Russian troops undertake military exercises using Orlan-10 drones, which contain components from around the world - TASS
Russian troops undertake military exercises using Orlan-10 drones, which contain components from around the world - TASS

02:32 AM

Today's top stories

  • Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations that each side is shelling Europe's biggest nuclear power plant, in southern Ukraine.

  • Ukraine reported intense Russian shelling across the front lines on Tuesday, as fighting rages in the Donbas

  • The Pentagon announced $1 billion in fresh military aid for Ukraine, including additional precision missiles for the Himars system that have helped Kyiv's forces attack Russian troops far behind the front lines.

  • The World Bank on Monday said it was mobilising a $4.5 billion grant for Ukraine provided by the United States that will help Kyiv meet urgent needs created by Russia's invasion, including healthcare, pensions and social payments.

  • A Russian soldier has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after a Ukrainian court found him guilty of violating the laws and customs of war by firing tank shells at a multi-storey apartment block.

  • Ukraine has arrested two people working for Russian intelligence services who planned to kill Ukraine's defence minister and the head of its military intelligence agency, Ukraine's domestic security service, the SBU has said.