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In The News

Nuclear Plant Attack, Humanitarian Corridors, Oligarchs Targeted

A worker protects one of the statues in the center of Lviv from being damaged by a possible Russian attack

Protecting statues in Lviv, Ukraine

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lorraine Olaya and Laure Gautherin

👋 Halu!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia seizes control of Europe’s largest nuclear plant after a potentially disastrous attack, Ukraine and Russia agree to set up humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians and the U.S. levels new sanctions on Russian oligarchs. Persian-language media Kayhan-London also reports on the unique prism through which Iran is seeing the Russia-Ukraine war.

[*Inuktitut - Inuit]


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• Fear and outrage after Russia attack sparks fire near Ukrainian nuclear plant: Russia has taken control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after reportedly shelling the area around it and sparking a fire. The attack has prompted international horror and condemnation. Nuclear authorities are still verifying any damage to the power station since an explosion could prove disastrous, recalling the Chernobyl accident in 1986. According to local authorities, no immediate rise in radiation was detected nor was any “essential” equipment affected. Russia has blamed Ukraine “saboteurs” for setting the fire.

• Russia and Ukraine agree to establish humanitarian corridors: While negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have made little progress on a possible ceasefire, both countries agreed to establish humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuations. Temporary ceasefires will be upheld for these locations and only for the duration of the evacuations.

• U.S. sanctions Russian oligarchs: The U.S. has imposed more sanctions on Russia, this time zoning in on oligarchs and their families. At least eight Russian elites will lose access to the American financial system, freezing their U.S.-based assets and property, and 19 oligarchs and their family members also face visa restrictions.

• Suicide bombing in Pakistan mosque kills at least 30: A bomb detonated by an attacker exploded inside a Shia mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, killing more than 30 people and injuring dozens during Friday prayers.

• South Korea presidential election: Early voting for South Korea’s March 9 presidential election begins today with a record turnout and a tight race expected between the two main candidates, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and conservative Yoon Suk-yeol.

• Moldova officially asks to join EU: A week after Russia invaded Ukraine, Moldova has officially requested to join the EU. This announcement comes after Georgia, another former Soviet country, also asked to join. Ukraine still awaits membership.

• Soak this up … Moth species renamed: The Entomological Society of America renames the Lymantria dispar species to “spongy moth.” The moth’s previous name had been removed in July 2021 because it contained an offensive term, and left the moth nameless for eight months. The new name which refers to the moth’s spongy eggs, is effective immediately.


Peruvian daily El Comercio reports on the oil spill off the coast near Lima, caused by waves linked to Tonga’s eruption and tsunami. Authorities sealed three beaches near the capital and are demanding compensation to Spanish oil giant Repsol, which operates the refinery that leaked 6,000 barrels of oil, for what could be the worst ecological disaster to hit the country in recent history.



The helmet worn by American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart during her landmark journey as the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane in 1928 has sold for $825,000, more than 10 times its estimate. Four years later, she would make history as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, though Earhart mysteriously disappeared during a subsequent flight in 1937.


Iran's take on Russia-Ukraine: Nuclear arms are our best defense

While cheering the Russian attack on Ukraine, Iranian state media have also drawn the "lesson" from this war that a state can only be strong if it has a nuclear arsenal, writes Persian-language media Kayhan-London.

🇮🇷🇷🇺 So Iran stands with Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, China and Nicaragua in not condemning Russia's attack on Ukraine. Instead, it is voicing support for the conflict's instigator, Russian President Vladimir Putin. One thing this war has done for Iran was to swiftly reveal elements in the political establishment who favor arming the country with nuclear weapons, which is against the regime's official line on non-proliferation. They mostly consist of regime zealots closer to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

☢️ Hardliners have blamed an "American plot" for the attack on Ukraine, then concluded that under such conditions, the Islamic Republic needs its ballistic missiles and a nuclear deterrent to defend itself. It must be the first time they have revealed what they concealed for years: the desire for Iran to have atomic bombs. Ukraine has brought them out of the closet and inspired them to make their analyses.

⚠️ The regime's media readily denounce the West's "hostility," but says nothing about Russia's naked aggression. Its propagandists previously tried to scare Iranians about Iran becoming "another Syria" and now warn it could become "another Ukraine." Yet they never warn of the threat of another Chernobyl disaster in quake-prone Iran. And they seem to forget — oblivious to the likes of Saddam or Gaddafi — that the fate of aggressors can also be wretched.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


How is this even possible? Didn't we fight the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe together in 1986?

— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted to the Russian attack overnight on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, saying it could have caused destruction equal to "six Chernobyls." He addressed the Russian people directly, reminding them of how they together confronted the Chernobyl nuclear disaster during Soviet times, and urging them to "take to the streets and tell your government that you want to live."

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lorraine Olaya and Laure Gautherin

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Vulnerable Are The Russians In Crimea?

Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, and Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become.

Photograph of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with smoke rising above it after a Ukrainian missile strike.

September 22, 2023, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia: Smoke rises over the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

This article was updated Sept. 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Russian authorities are making a concerted effort to downplay and even deny the recent missile strikes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.

The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.

Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram.

But Sokolov was seen on state television on Tuesday, just one day after Ukraine claimed he'd been killed. The Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the admiral partaking in a video conference with top admirals and chiefs, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, though there was no verification of the date of the event.

Moscow has been similarly obtuse following other reports of missiles strikes this month on Crimea. Russian authorities have declared that all missiles have been intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”

Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?

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