Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Ukraine says all reactors of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant still disconnected

Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom says all six reactors of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine are still disconnected from the country’s power grid, Reuters reported.

The company added there are currently no issues with the plant’s machinery or its safety systems.

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy says world narrowly avoided radiation disaster

Zelenskyy says the world narrowly escaped a radiation disaster on Thursday when Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid.

Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the world narrowly escaped a radiation disaster on Thursday when Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid.

Zelenskyy said it was only thanks to backup electricity kicking in that the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant was able to operate safely. He said the power plant had been cut off as a result of Russian shelling causing nearby fires, allegations that the Kremlin has denied.

“The emergency protection of the power units worked — after the last working line of the plant’s power return to the Ukrainian power system was damaged by Russian shelling,” Zelenskyy said in an evening address.

He called on the international community to help force Russian forces to immediately withdraw from the power plant, warning that “every minute the Russian troops stay at the nuclear power plant is a risk of a global radiation disaster.”

— Sam Meredith

‘The world is experiencing the worst food security crisis any of us have ever seen,’ U.S. ambassador to UN says

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks to the media after a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the situation between Russia and Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., February 17, 2022.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

The world “is experiencing the worst food security crisis any of us have ever seen,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

The ongoing food crisis was triggered by Covid-19, strained supply lines, higher energy costs and rising temperatures, she said.

“In many conflicts around the world, food is intentionally blocked or destroyed and dictators use starvation as a weapon of war,” Thomas-Greenfield said in a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“We see this no more acutely than with Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Before the war, Russia and Ukraine accounted for almost a quarter of global grain exports. But now Ukraine’s once rolling wheat fields have become battlefields,” she said, slamming Moscow’s weaponization of food.

“It matters because it affects us economically. Food security is directly linked to economic growth. And it matters because food insecurity leads us to political and social instability. And that endangers us all,” she said.

— Amanda Macias

Biden speaks with Zelenskyy about more aid to defend against Russia

President Joe Biden speaking to Vladimir Putin from the White House, Dec. 30, 2021.

Source: White House Photo

President Joe Biden called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to congratulate him on Ukraine’s Independence Day.

Biden also “expressed his admiration for the people of Ukraine, who have inspired the world as they defended their country’s sovereignty over the past six months,” according to a White House readout of the call.

The president reaffirmed U.S. commitment to support Ukraine and provided an update on additional military aid.

“The two leaders also called for Russia to return full control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukraine and for International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA access to the plant,” the readout added.

— Amanda Macias

Putin signs decree to increase size of Russia’s military

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mikhail Klimentyev | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to increase the size of the Russian military from 1.9 million to 2.04 million, an announcement on its government web portal said, as the war in Ukraine passes its six-month mark.

The order will be effective January 1 and will see a rise in combat personnel of 137,000 to 1.15 million.

Russia has steadily cast a wider net as to who it’s willing to recruit as conscripts, including prisoners, retired military personnel, older men and those with only a middle-school level education. Putin reportedly expected the invasion, which the Kremlin calls its “special military operation,” to last only a few days before taking the capital Kyiv.

Russia’s military has instead lost several generals and is estimated by U.S. intelligence to have lost around 15,000 servicemen, though Moscow has not released any recent military casualty figures itself.

Deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexandrovsky Garden near the Kremlin wall in Moscow on June 22, 2022.

Yekaterina Shtukina | Afp | Getty Images

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