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Offline Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Has The World Holding Its Breath

At the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger, Lila Paulou, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

The transmission line connecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant with the power system in Ukraine was disconnected due to Russian shelling. Three other transmission lines had also been damaged during Russian shelling earlier in the conflict. As a result, two operating units of the power plant were disconnected from the grid, causing the complete disconnection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant from the power grid.

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In his nightly address, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that back-up diesel generators ensured power supply, which are vital for systems at the plant. "If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident," he said. He also stated that the coming winter will be the most difficult in the history of Ukraine due to high gas prices.

As a result of the continued risks around the nuclear plant, the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi announced the visit of an IAEA delegation to the station in the coming days. “Almost every day there is a new incident at or near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. We can't waste any more time. I intend to personally lead the IAEA mission, which will arrive at the station in the coming days, to help stabilize the situation in the field of nuclear and physical security,” said Grossi on French news broadcast France24.

The visit of the IAEA mission to the plant has been discussed since the beginning of August, when the plant began to be actively shelled. Russia and Ukraine continue to blame each other for the attacks.

Putin Signs Decree To Increase Russian Troops By 10%

Moscow Higher Military Command School

Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday to raise the number of Russian troops by 137,000 military personnel. Previously, the limit was set to 1,013,628 people, while the number of civilian staff should not exceed 900,000. The decree asks for funds from the federal government to be unlocked. The change should be effective by Jan. 1, 2023.

It is unclear whether the new troops will be found through voluntary recruitment or through conscription. Russian men between 18 and 27 can be enlisted for a year in the army, though it is easy for them to be exempted or to reduce the time of their service for medical reasons or by enrolling in higher education. They can be sent to the front after four months of training.

According to Western officials, between 70,000 and 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since the beginning of the invasion on Feb. 24. Popular enthusiasm for joining the army has been very limited since Russian progress stalled in Ukraine. In response, a recruitment campaign offers large cash incentives for volunteers.

Chaplyne Attack Death Toll Rises, Ukraine Military Fights Back

Missile Attack On Chaplyne

Dmytro Smolienko/Ukrinform/Zuma

Russia has stated that the attack on the Chaplyne railway station in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday killed 200 Ukrainian military personnel. Meanwhile, Kyiv reported that the attack killed 25 civilians, but Moscow denies these reports.

The Russian ministry said an Iskander missile hit a military train at Chaplyne station that was to deliver arms to Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbas region.

Meanwhile, according to the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian assaults on the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region. They also said they had struck ammunition storages in the southern Kherson region.

Zelensky’s “Great” Phone Call With Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Adam Schultz/White House/Planet Pix/Zuma

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a telephone call with U.S. President Joe Biden during which they discussed further financial support for Ukraine.

“Had a great conversation with POTUS. Thanked him for the unwavering support of the Ukrainian people in the field of security and financial assistance from the United States. We discussed Ukraine's next steps,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

Russia Burns Off Millions Worth Of Gas Amid EU Energy Crisis

With nowhere to sell it, Russia is burning around $10 million worth of natural gas a day, according to independent energy research company Rystad Energy. The flames and heat spotted by Russia’s Finnish neighbors in early June are said to be coming from the liquefied natural gas plant of Portovaya, located near the border and close to the start of the Nord Stream pipeline that provides gas to Germany.

The move is seen as a statement of Russia's dominance over the European energy markets, as prices keep surging and countries struggle to find alternatives and turn to energy-saving measures. Experts say they have never seen gas flaring of that scale and worry about its environmental impact, as the burning releases an estimated 9,000 tons of CO2 every day.

A Million Russians Have Entered The EU Since War Began

Russian passport


Deutsche Welle reports that 998,085 Russian citizens have entered the European Union between Feb. 24, and Aug. 22. Over 60% of those did so via Estonia and Finland, according to the union's border guard agency, Frontex.

This news comes as more and more European countries are unilaterally restricting the issuance of Schengen visas for Russian citizens. Such measures have already been taken by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. Finland plans to follow in September, and Poland is considering the possibility. Denmark insists on a pan-European decision on visas for Russians, warning that otherwise, it will act on its own.

Duma Says Moscow Ready To “Discuss And Respond To” Negotiations With Kyiv

LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky

Russian State Duma/TASS

The head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky said that Moscow would discuss the possibility of negotiations with Kyiv if it received a signal of readiness for dialogue.

“If the Ukrainian side declares that it is ready for negotiations at any level, in any format, then we will discuss and respond to this,” Slutsky said following the unscheduled Council of the State Duma.

Negotiations between the delegations of Russia and Ukraine were terminated by Kyiv. Russia's permanent representative in Geneva said last week that he sees no possibility for contact between the two countries.

U.S. Still Importing $1 Billion Of Russian Goods

In spite of heavy sanctions, AP reports that Russian exports to the U.S. still account for nearly $1 billion. In the wake of Russia's war against Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden promised to enact strict sanctions to cripple Russia's economy, but the U.S. continues to import raw materials, including wood, metals and rubber, among others.

Latvia Orders Removal Of All Soviet Statues

A view of the Monument to Liberators of Riga in Victory Park

Taisiya Vorontsova/TASS/Zuma

The Latvian parliament has ordered the removal of all remaining Soviet statues and plaques in the country. The first monument to be brought down was the 79-meter high World War II memorial in Riga, which was suspected of attracting Latvian Kremlin supporters.

Latvia follows in the footsteps of Estonia, which started removing Soviet-era monuments from public spaces in mid-August. The replica of a T-34 tank in Narva, a city close to Russian borders, was moved to the Estonian War Museum.

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Why The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

A woman holds a lock of her hair during a London rally to protest the murder of Mahsa Amini in London

Roshanak Astaraki


The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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