Ukraine war: Zaporizhzhya bombing, more military aid, Swiss ‘no longer’ neutral

1. More bombing damages radiation sensors at Ukrainian nuclear plant

Several radiation sensors at the Zaporizhzhya power plant were damaged on Thursday following further explosions.

“The situation is getting worse, as there are radioactive materials nearby and several radiation sensors have been damaged,” said Ukrainian operator Energoatom, noting that the site was bombed again earlier today.

Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for the strikes on Europe’s largest nuclear plant.

According to Energoatom, the attacks “have been affected.” [a] sewage pumping station” and caused smoke to start rising around the nuclear plant in southern Ukraine.

“Currently, no pollution has been detected at the station and the level of radioactivity is normal,” a Ukrainian official said, noting that “several tons” of radioactive waste are stored at the site.

The strikes came ahead of a UN meeting on Thursday afternoon over Zaporizhia, called for by Russia, which had seized the site early in the war.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the two sides to halt military activity around the nuclear power plant as soon as possible.

“I call on the military forces of the Russian Federation and Ukraine to immediately cease all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the plant and not to target their facilities or their surroundings,” he said in a statement.

UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi earlier warned that the situation in Zaporizhia is “totally out of control”.

2. Russia challenges Switzerland’s claims of neutrality

Russia said Thursday that it no longer considers Switzerland a neutral country, rejecting a Swiss offer to act as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow.

Moscow said it rejected a proposal by Switzerland to represent Ukrainian interests in Russia and Russian interests in Ukraine because it believed the country was taking sides.

Switzerland has a long history of neutrality, with the state often acting as a mediator between countries with strained relations.

But Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechaev said that this is not possible in the current situation.

“We answered very clearly that Switzerland has unfortunately lost its status as a neutral country and cannot act as a mediator or representative,” Nechayev told reporters. Bern has joined the illegal Western sanctions against Russia.

Switzerland has reversed almost all of the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

3. A German reservist stands trial for spying for Russia

A German army reservist went to trial Thursday in Dusseldorf after being accused of providing sensitive military information to Russia.

Prosecutors alleged that the 65-year-old lieutenant colonel from the reserve force had been actively working for the GRU since 2014.

Only identified as Ralph G. In line with German privacy rules.

German news agency DPA reported that the man, who works for a US company, provided German military intelligence with information from public and non-public sources, including private contact details of high-ranking members of the German military.

According to the attorney general, he also provided the GRU with “an overview of the security and defense policies of the United States and its Western allies.”

Federal prosecutors claimed that the defendant knew he was dealing with Russian spies and was eager to help them — apparently for free — through his sympathies for Russia, the DPA reported.

4. An additional 1.5 billion euros pledged to Ukraine

Western countries pledged on Thursday to give Ukraine another 1.5 billion euros in military aid at an international conference and said there was more in the near future.

The money will go to boost the production of weapons, including artillery and ammunition, train Ukrainian soldiers, and help demining efforts in regions in Ukraine.

“All the countries that came to Copenhagen came with the intention of supporting Ukraine,” Danish Defense Minister Morten Podskov said at the conclusion of the meeting between 26 countries.

Britain’s Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, said the talks proved that Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s ambition (with the West losing its willingness to support Ukraine) has failed”.

“We’re still determined,” he said.

All countries who came to attend the conference in Denmark pledged to support training activities and there were some “tangible donations”, Podskov said, adding that the funds will be used in 2022 and next year.

The exact amounts provided by France, Germany and the United States to Ukraine have not been made public. But Denmark announced that it would provide an additional 110 million euros, bringing its total contribution to the Ukrainian war effort to nearly 417 million since the start of the Russian invasion.

Britain, which co-hosted the meeting with its Scandinavian ally and Ukraine, pledged 300 million euros.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksich Reznikov said: “Our partners know that we need money and have announced their willingness to support us financially. It is a marathon and for a marathon you need energy and frankly in this case, the main energy is money.” added.

The donor group is due to meet again in September.

5. Sanctions affecting the Russian defense industry: British Ministry of Defense

The British Ministry of Defense claimed Thursday that sanctions against Moscow are hurting Russia’s defense exports.

In an intelligence update, she said Western sanctions against Russia are affecting the country’s defense industry, a sector that Moscow has long been proud of.

The update said that because of the war and sanctions, “its military-industrial capabilities are now under great pressure, and the credibility of many of its weapons systems has been undermined due to their association with the poor performance of Russian forces.”

Britain has said Moscow is already under pressure from the need to produce armored combat vehicles for its forces in Ukraine and is therefore “unlikely to be able to meet some export orders”, in a sector it has always been proud of.

Russia’s military credibility came under further pressure on Wednesday when Ukraine said nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in a series of explosions at an air base in Russia-controlled Crimea that appeared to be the result of a Ukrainian attack.

Russia has denied that any aircraft were damaged in the bombings – or that any attack took place. But satellite images clearly showed that at least seven combat aircraft at the base had been blown up and others may have been damaged.

The defense industry is a strategically important sector and a large employer in Russia.

Before the war, Russia was the world’s second largest arms exporter, second only to the United States.

Earlier on Thursday:

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