With fears of a disaster at the Zaporizhzhia power plant on the world’s mind, three men met on Thursday in Lviv, to discuss nuclear security in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres — and once again vowing to play a part in finding a solution to the conflict, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Since the start of the war, Turkey has offered its services as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia. During the trilateral meeting, Erdogan voiced his concern about Zaporizhzhia, saying it was imperative that a repeat of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster be avoided.
The Turkish president emphasized that he would like to organize peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, adding that he is planning on addressing the situation at the nuclear plant with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We will discuss this issue with Putin and ask him specifically for Russia to do what it must as an important step for world peace," Erdogan said. Zelensky responded that the only way he would agree to negotiate with the Kremlin was if Russian troops left Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's Energoatom state nuclear company said on Friday that Russian forces planned to switch off the functioning power blocks at the nuclear power plant and disconnect them from the Ukrainian power grid.
During the Lviv meeting, Guterres insisted that any potential damage to the nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia would be “suicide”. The UN chief also called for the area to be “demilitarized” and added that this agreement was urgently needed to "re-establish Zaporizhzhia as purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area." A pro-Russian local official rejected the UN’s proposal and, according to the Russian state news agency, said that it was “an irresponsible statement.”
Lviv Meeting And Fears Of A Chernobyl Repeat On Turkish Daily Milliyet's Front Page
“We don’t want another Chernobyl,” reads the front page of Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet, echoing Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s words to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UN chief Antonio Guterres. The three met yesterday in Lviv to discuss the worrying situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
U.S. Prepares $800m Of Extra Military Aid To Ukraine
U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration is reportedly preparing an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine and may announce it as early as Friday.
Biden is set to authorize the financial assistance using his Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to approve the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks, sources told Reuters.
Crimea Explosions And Update And Rising Death Toll In Kharkiv
Explosion on Kharkiv building
Last night, fires and explosions were reported at military targets inside Russia and Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. Two Russian villages were forced to evacuate after fires at a munitions depot near the Ukrainian border in Belgorod province. At least four explosions also hit near the major Belbek airbase, north of Sevastopol, in the occupied Crimean peninsula.
Air defenses were also activated near Kerch, the city at the Crimean end of a bridge to mainland Russia, which is a strategically vital supply route that many in Ukraine would like to see destroyed.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian state emergency service says the death toll has risen to at least 12 after a Russian rocket attack on an apartment building in Kharkiv during Wednesday night.
Russia Deploys Hypersonic Missiles In Kaliningrad
\u201c#Russia is deploying three MiG-31 aircraft with "Kinzhal" hypersonic missiles to the Kaliningrad region as part of additional strategic deterrence measures.\u201d— NEXTA (@NEXTA) 1660826597
The Russian military says it has deployed warplanes armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in the Kaliningrad region. The new missiles, placed on MiG-31 jets, boast a range of up to 2,000km, fly at ten times the speed of sound, and are part of an "additional measure of strategic deterrence," according to Russia's Defense Ministry.
Wedged between Poland and Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave is Russia's closest territory to European Union members and has been the scene of heightened tensions between the West and Moscow in recent months.
EU Commission To Help Clear Ukraine Rubble
School destroyed in Mykolaiv, Ukraine
The European Commission has announced it will provide $21 million to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to clear debris from collapsed buildings and restore critical infrastructure in Ukraine, according to the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
“Quickly repairing critical infrastructure in war-torn areas is a top priority, especially as a harsh winter looms. This project is aimed at restoring electricity and water supply facilities, as well as heat supply. These are vital services that provide residents with a decent life and comfort,” said Manal Fouani, the acting UNDP Permanent Representative in Ukraine.
Finland Accuses Russian Fighter Jets Of Violating Airspace
MiG-31 fighter jets
AJEnglish via Twitter
Finland's Defense Ministry says it has launched a "preliminary investigation" into two Russian MiG-31 fighter jets suspected of violating Finnish airspace in the coastal city of Porvoo in southern Finland on Thursday morning. Defense Ministry Spokesman Kristian Vakkuri added that the jets were in the national airspace for two minutes and “the depth of the suspected violation into Finnish airspace was one kilometer.”
The incursion comes just weeks after Finland announced its decision to apply for NATO membership. The application, criticized by Russia, could take up to a year to be ratified by the 30 state members of the military alliance.
Estonia Repels Large-Scale Cyberattack By Russian Hackers
Estonia says it repelled its worst cyber attack in 15 years.
Estonia reports that it has repelled a series of cyberattacks by Russian hackers targeting state and private institutions.
According to Luukas Ilves, the country’s under-secretary for digital transformation at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, on Wednesday “Estonia was subject to the most extensive cyber attacks it has faced since 2007.” The attacks, for which Russian hacker group Killnet claimed responsibility on the messaging platform Telegram, “were ineffective,” Ilves added.
The hackers say the attacks were motivated by the removal Tuesday of a Soviet-era monument in Narva, near Estonia’s border with Russia.
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