Follow the latest news on Russia's war in Ukraine here and read more about today's developments in the posts below.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, is calling for a safety zone around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine to prevent a nuclear disaster, stating in a report released Tuesday that it remained "gravely concerned" about the situation following its mission to the site last week.
Here are the latest developments:
IAEA report says safety principles were violated at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and calls for safety zone: The agency emphasized the urgent need for interim measures "to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means." To achieve this, the IAEA called for the establishment of "a nuclear safety and security protection zone.” The report added, “The IAEA is ready to start immediately the consultations leading to the urgent establishment of such a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the ZNPP,” The agency says its team saw first-hand the damage shelling has caused to the facility and “noted with concern that the shelling could have impacted safety related structures, systems and components, and could have caused safety significant impacts, loss of lives and personnel injuries.”
UN nuclear watchdog saw military vehicles and equipment inside Zaporizhzhia plant, according to report: The International Atomic Energy Agency saw Russian military equipment and personnel inside the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during its visit of the facility, Director General Rafael Grossi said in a report published on Tuesday. “The team observed the presence of Russian military personnel, vehicles and equipment at various places at the ZNPP, including several military trucks on the ground floor of the Unit 1 and Unit 2 turbine halls and military vehicles stationed under the overpass connecting the reactor units,” according to the report. The IAEA said the presence of military personnel and equipment creates “very challenging circumstances” for staff trying to maintain normal operations at the plant.
IAEA warns of potential interference after team saw unit of Russian nuclear agency at Zaporizhzhia plant: The IAEA said the team it sent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine saw a unit of Russia's nuclear agency at the facility. The IAEA inspectors “observe[d] the presence of an expert group from Rosenergoatom,” which is a unit of Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, according to a report published on Tuesday. “It was explained to the team by the Ukrainian plant staff and managers that the role of this expert group was to provide advice on nuclear safety, security, and operations to the management of the ZNPP,” the IAEA said. But “the presence of Rosatom senior technical staff could lead to interference with the normal lines of operational command or authority and create potential frictions when it comes to decision-making,” according to the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.
Zelensky called for the demilitarization of nuclear plant: Ukrainian President Zelensky said in his nightly address Tuesday, “The [IAEA] mission, which had visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, has presented a documentary summary of its work."
“The report notes the presence of Russian military equipment on the territory of the NPP, emphasizes pressure on our nuclear workers, and makes clear references to the Russian military occupation. That's good,” he said. Zelensky added, “As for IAEA Director General Grossi's proposal to create a protection zone at the plant, we need to we need to look into the specific sense of such tool: what exactly can be considered protection? If the sense of this proposal is to demilitarize the territory of the nuclear power plant - and this is logical, because it was the Russian military presence that put the Zaporizhzhia station on the brink of a radiation disaster - then we can support such a demilitarized protection zone."
The White House told CNN Tuesday there’s “certainly no indications” that Russian-purchased arms from North Korea have made their way to the battlefield in Ukraine, following reports earlier that Russia had begun the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from the isolated autocratic nation.
“We don't have an indication that the purchase has actually occurred yet, so it's difficult to say what it's actually going to end up looking like,” John Kirby, White House National Security Council Strategic Coordinator for Communications, told reporters during a briefing Tuesday, later telling CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reports of the potential purchase “is just another indication of how desperate Putin’s becoming.”
“He was buying drones from Iran, now he's got to buy artillery rounds from North Korea,” Kirby said. “It's an indication of how much his defense industrial establishment is suffering as a result of this war and the degree of desperation that he's reaching out to countries like Iran and North Korea for assistance, but no indication that they're on the battlefield right now.”
Earlier Tuesday, a US official told CNN that Russia is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea, indicating the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions.
US Defense Department press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon Tuesday that Russia has approached North Korea to "request ammunition."
A US representative immediately called out Russia for its “song and dance” of tales in the UN Security Council, adding the invading country is exposing the world to the possibility of “nuclear catastrophe,” with regards to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
“Despite Russia’s song and dance here today to avoid acknowledging responsibility for its actions, Russia has no right to expose the world to unnecessary risk and the possibility of nuclear catastrophe,” said Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, senior adviser for Special Political Affairs.
Following the release of the IAEA report, the US representative told the security council “It is essential that Russia allow Ukrainian operators to implement any and all measures the IAEA team and Ukrainian operators deem important for the safe and secure operation of the plant to decrease the risk of a nuclear incident”
“Worse this is a situation entirely of Russia making,” DeLaurentis added, saying the current danger is a result of Russia’s “unprovoked” and “unlawful” invasion of Ukraine.
“Over the weekend shelling once again lead to the disconnection of an external power line putting at risk the plants operations,” the US official said
DeLaurentis also noted that Russian forces are increasing stress and duress on human operators increasing chance of “human error.’
“The potential danger here is enormous and it concerns us all," he said.
The Russian ambassador to the United Nations continued to blame Ukraine for the shelling’s on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and claimed the report shows the plant “is functioning normally and there are no internal threats to its security” thanks to cooperation from the Russian armed forces.
The only threat created is the “shelling and sabotage from the Ukrainian armed forces” said Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, something Ukraine has consistently denied.
Ukraine blames Russia for the shelling, and accuses them of using the ZNPP as a shield.
Nebenzya peppered the IAEA director with questions about its report including questioning what “military equipment” was observed threatening the maintenance of the plant.
He also said he regretted that the source of the shelling was not named in the report.
Nebenzya also reiterated that Russian federation ensured the safety of the IAEA operators
“We continue doing everything we can to ensure that the ZNPP works safely,” by way of technical personnel “with the support of Russian specialists.”
The radiation situation is “normal” he added.
He alleged “if provocations by the Kyiv regime continues there is no guarantee that there won’t be serious consequences and the responsibility for that lies fully with Kyiv and its western backers and all other members of security council who so far have not found in themselves the courage to call things their proper name and call on Kyiv to stop its reckless acts against the ZNPP which create a real threat to international peace and security.”
Later in the meeting, while Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency did not answer the Russian Ambassadors questions explicitly he did thank the parties involved in ensuring the success of the mission.
Acknowledging Russia had asked questions, Grossi said, “I will be very soon approaching relevant parties with some very concrete elements for their consideration in order to try to move forward in the next logical step after this important first one which will be to establish an immediate protection to the plant.”
Ukrainian President Zelensky said in his nightly address Tuesday, “The [IAEA] mission, which had visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, has presented a documentary summary of its work."
“The report notes the presence of Russian military equipment on the territory of the NPP, emphasizes pressure on our nuclear workers, and makes clear references to the Russian military occupation. That's good,” he said.
Zelensky added, “As for IAEA Director General Grossi's proposal to create a protection zone at the plant, we need to we need to look into the specific sense of such tool: what exactly can be considered protection? If the sense of this proposal is to demilitarize the territory of the nuclear power plant - and this is logical, because it was the Russian military presence that put the Zaporizhzhia station on the brink of a radiation disaster - then we can support such a demilitarized protection zone."
He continued, “In any case, there is a feeling that modern international organizations need a much broader mandate for their actions. I believe that the world not only deserves, but needs the representatives of the IAEA to force Russia to demilitarize the territory of the NPP and return full control to Ukraine."
“If Russia has put the world on the brink of a radiation disaster, then the world must have adequate means to put Russia in the conditions where the terrorist state will be forced to stop terror," the Ukrainian president said.
The IAEA director appealing to the United Nations Security Council Tuesday with regards to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant said that “we are playing with fire and something very, very catastrophic could take place.”
“The hits that this facility has received and that I could personally see and assess together with my experts is simply unacceptable,” said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
On the heels of the IAEA report released Tuesday he stressed that agency inspectors remained at the site ensuring capacity for direct evaluation of the situation.
“We in this case have the historical ethical imperative to prevent something from happening,” and establishing this presence — and in tandem establishing a safety and security protection zone — he believes they have the capacity to prevent catastrophe.
“This is something that can be done now,” he said adding “we have the inspectors there already deployed they are doing their work.”
“We can agree on a very simple but incredibly necessary protective mechanism to avoid what is happening now as we speak which is the shelling of a nuclear power plant.”
Addressing the UN Security Council he said it’s time to “seize this opportunity so fundamental for peace for security and to protect the populations of Ukraine and beyond.”
He reiterated agenda items of his “neutral,” and “technical” report released Tuesday in particular calling for the establishment of a nuclear safety security protection zone around the perimeter of the plant.
The report also found operators operating under “extremely challenging circumstances together with military equipment and vehicles in different parts of it” and the IAEA called for the immediate removal of this military equipment so to not interfere.
His report also called for operators to be able to perform without external pressures.
The report also recommends the off site power supply line redundancy be re-established meaning all military activities that affect that power supply systems “must be stopped immediately”
He also called for uninterrupted supply chain transportation to and from the site.
He elaborated on his reports findings and 7 recommendations earlier Tuesday to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he was the first foreign leader to speak to the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss.
“I became the 1st foreign leader to have a conversation with the newly elected PM Liz Truss. Invited her to Ukraine,” Zelensky tweeted on Tuesday. “Thanked UK people for the major defense & economic aid for Ukraine.”
A Downing Street spokesperson confirmed that a call took place between the two counterparts.
Truss spoke to her Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky on Tuesday evening, in her first call with a foreign leader after becoming the country's leader, according to the spokesperson.
Truss in the call reiterated the UK’s “steadfast support” for Ukraine’s freedom and democracy, the spokesperson said.
“In her first call with a counterpart since becoming Prime Minister, she reiterated to the Ukrainian leader that he had her full backing, and Ukraine could depend on the UK’s assistance for the long term," Downing Street noted.
Zelensky thanked Truss for the UK’s “staunch support” and congratulated the prime minister on her appointment, Downing Street said.
“The leaders discussed the need to strengthen global security and the measures necessary to cut off the funds fuelling Putin’s war machine.”
The two leaders "deplored Putin’s attempts to weaponise energy, and the Prime Minister said it was vital Russia’s blackmail did not deter the west from ensuring Putin fails. She also underscored the importance of ensuring the UK and our allies continue to build energy independence."
Truss praised the Ukrainians’ fight for “sovereignty and self-determination and said it was essential Ukraine succeeds and Russia fails,” Downing Street said.
The British leader was "delighted" to accept an invitation to visit Zelensky in Ukraine soon, it added.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi told CNN that there must be a differentiation between establishing a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant versus creating a “nuclear safety and security zone.”
“You have to make a differentiation here. The concept of demilitarization is a wider concept that has a geographical, it has an operational scope of a completely different nature," Grossi said to CNN's chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour in his first television interview since returning from his visit to the plant.
"What we are talking about here is the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone immediately — which means something ... perhaps more modest than a full demilitarization of the area, but extremely effective in getting commitment from all sides to avoid any aiming at the plant, any shelling at the plant, any use of any means and calibers of artillery in a direction of the plant," Grossi continued.
“So here I have to make this distinction: What we need now, and it may be a step toward a full demilitarization or ambitious things like that, but – at the moment, what is urgently needed, now, today, is that we agree on establishing a protection ... a shield, a bubble around the perimeter of the facility. This is not something which is impossible to do. Not at all," he said.
He said creating this type of zone is within the IAEA’s mandate to protect the safety and security of the plant and the workers there, and that he hopes he might consult “very quickly” and “establish an interim measure.”
“What we need desperately is to protect this nuclear plant because it is being shelled,” he said.