September 21, 2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be at the center of President Biden's address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, as the U.S. warns Russia is trying to annex more Ukrainian land.

September 21, 2022

Russian media on Wednesday broadcast a pre-recorded speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing a "partial mobilization" of military reservists for his war in Ukraine, effective immediately. "Only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience," he said. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking after Putin, said about 300,000 reservists will be called up.  Shoigu tried to "dampen down the fears of Russian men across the country about this sudden 'partial mobilization' to Ukraine," BBC Eastern Europe correspondent Sarah Rainsford writes. But despite his assurances, "the war that many Russians have been trying, largely, to ignore, has now been brought much closer to home for tens of thousands of them and their families." Russia's stock market took a tumble after Putin's announcement, and Russians started searching online for ways to get out of the country as rumors of the speech spread Tuesday. Putin's mobilization bombshell capped a speech in which he blamed the West for his invasion, welcomed the upcoming "referendums" in four Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine, and threatened NATO countries with nuclear retaliation. "When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal — this is not a bluff," he said. "Those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can turn in their direction." "The threat is clear," The Economist's Oliver Carroll tweeted. "'We will annex Ukrainian territories with bombs and referenda. If you try to take them back, we reserve the right to nuke you.' Fundamentally, doesn't change much on the battlefield. The aim, I'd suggest, is to test Western support of Ukraine." "Putin's breaking of his own promise not to mobilize parts of his population" is an "admission that his invasion is failing," British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace responded. "No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united, and Russia is becoming a global pariah." Besides, "it takes months to mobilize, equip, and organize new fighting forces, even if those being called up have previous military experience." the BBC's Paul Adam writes. "And given Russia's catastrophic material losses, Moscow may struggle to give new units the equipment they need to fight effectively."

September 20, 2022

Concerns about Russia's war on Ukraine sparking a nuclear disaster are growing after a missile on Monday hit within 1,000 feet of a Ukrainian power plant amid alarm over the security of another Russian-held energy facility."There is no other way to characterize this except for nuclear terrorism."The missile struck near the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP), which is about 160 miles west of the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Europe's largest such station. Shelling of that Russian-controlled facility—which Russia and Ukraine have blamed on each other—has fueled fears of a disaster in the nation home to Chernobyl.Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), addressed both the missile strike close to the SUNPP and a disconnected power line that had provided the ZNPP with electricity from the Ukrainian grid in a statement Monday."The situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant remains fragile and precarious. Last week, we saw some improvements regarding its power supplies, but today we were informed about a new setback in this regard," he said. "The plant is located in the middle of a war zone, and its power status is far from safe and secure. Therefore, a nuclear safety and security protection zone must urgently be established there.""While we have recently focused on the urgent need for action to prevent a nuclear accident at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant—establishing an IAEA presence there earlier this month—today's explosion near the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant all too clearly demonstrates the potential dangers also at other nuclear facilities in the country," Grossi added. "Any military action that threatens nuclear safety and security is unacceptable and must stop immediately."Energoatom, the state-run operator of Ukraine's four nuclear stations, said that Russian forces "carried out a missile attack on the industrial site" of the SUNPP. No staff was harmed and all three reactors "are operating in a normal mode," but the "powerful explosion" damaged buildings, broke over 100 windows, and shut down a hydropower unit as well as three high-voltage power lines."Acts of nuclear terrorism committed by the Russian military threaten the whole world," Energoatom added. "They should be stopped immediately to prevent a new disaster!"The head of the nuclear operator and a Ukrainian official issued similar warnings, according to The New York Times:"There is no other way to characterize this except for nuclear terrorism," Petro Kotin, the head of Energoatom, told Ukrainian national television on Monday. He said that although the heavily fortified concrete buildings that house nuclear reactors are built to withstand a plane crash, the blast from the overnight strike would have been powerful enough to have damaged the containment structures, had the missile struck closer."A few hundred meters and we would have woken up in a completely different reality," Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office, said in a statement.The Associated Press reported that while the Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately comment on the missile strike, Patricia Lewis, the international security research director at the Chatham House think tank in London, said that attacks on the plants suggest Russia is trying to shut down both power stations before winter."It's a very, very dangerous and illegal act to be targeting a nuclear station," she told the AP. "Only the generals will know the intent, but there's clearly a pattern.""What they seem to be doing each time is to try to cut off the power to the reactor," Lewis continued. "It's a very clumsy way to do it, because how accurate are these missiles?"Responding to the strike near SUNPP, Beyond Nuclear said Monday that "until now, all eyes have been focused on the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, far closer to the most intense of the military action. But there are four operational nuclear sites in Ukraine with 15 reactors total, all of which present a grave danger should the fighting embroil them."The U.S.-based advocacy group also noted that "at Beyond Nuclear, we have been warning about these risks since before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24."Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.Comments



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