Zaporozhye nuclear power plant

Citing the Russian Defense Ministry media reports said:

Ukraine plans to carry out artillery strikes on the Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant on Friday, and then accuse Russia of causing a disaster at the site.

The predicted attack will be timed to coincide with the ongoing visit to Ukraine by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The Russian ministry said it has detected movements of Ukrainian troops, indicating a looming “provocation.”

Kiev has deployed units trained in responding to the use of weapons of mass destruction, pre-positioning them to report a radiation leak and demonstrate a purported action to mitigate it, Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

The ministry said it expects a Ukrainian artillery unit to attack the plant on Friday from the city of Nikopol. “The blame for the consequences will be attributed to the Russian armed forces,” the statement said.

Possible Scenario For A Disaster

In a separate statement on Thursday, Igor Kirillov, head of the Russia’s Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense Troops, said his directorate has modeled possible scenarios for a disaster at the Zaporozhye plant. A plume of radioactive materials from the site may reach Poland, Slovakia and Germany, he warned.

Russia has accused Ukraine of conducting frequent drone and artillery strikes against the nuclear power plant in the city of Energodar over the past few weeks. Kiev has denied responsibility and said Russian forces were attacking the plant to discredit Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have also claimed that Russia is using the Zaporozhye facility as a military base.

During the briefing, Konashenkov denied Ukrainian claims that Russia has deployed heavy weapons at the Zaporozhye plant and is attacking Ukrainian troops from the site. The only Russian troops at the facility are lightly armed guards providing physical security, the official said.

The ministry pledged to do its best to prevent damage to the nuclear facility.

Ukraine Could Be Put On Ammo Diet, Says U.S. Military Expert

Ukraine’s European backers may be about to put the country on an “ammunition diet,” an U.S. military analyst has claimed in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel. Michael Kofman said these nations may already have reached their limit in terms of weapons supplies to Kiev.

In an article published on Tuesday, Kofman was quoted as saying it is not in the Ukrainian military’s best interests to bide its time, as the weather will soon begin to worsen, making any counteroffensive more difficult to pull off. On top of that, according to the U.S. expert, Russian troops could use a hiatus to regroup and “solve some of their personnel problems.”

He noted that time would be on Kiev’s side if Western support was unlimited. However, that is likely not the case, and the Ukrainian leadership is well aware of this, Kofman suggested.

He added that the “Ukrainians are apparently quite concerned about for how long they can expect further support, especially from the Europeans.”

The analyst went on to suggest that Kiev’s European backers may already have “given Ukraine most of the weapons they are ready to give.”

“The Ukrainians will likely go on a kind of ammunition diet,” Kofman predicted.

The analyst told journalists that, with this in mind, the leadership in Kiev may be concerned that Ukraine “could come under pressure to accept the stalemate in the absence of any major success by the start of next year. Such a scenario “would be a defeat for Ukraine” he noted.

Kofman concluded that Kiev’s ability to reclaim territories seized by Russia ultimately hinges on the extent of its Western support.

He also acknowledged “some small Russian successes in the southern part of Donbass, like Peski,” adding, however, that the offensive is largely being carried out by the militaries of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), as well as by “Wagner mercenaries.”

When asked about the possibility of a Ukrainian counteroffensive to reclaim the southern city of Kherson, which is currently held by Russian forces, Kofman pointed out that while Kiev has a lot of personnel on paper, only a limited number of units are “really trained equipped for that.”

The U.S. expert also argued that, simply because Ukrainian officials say they will launch the counteroffensive, it does not necessarily mean that it will actually materialize.

At the same time, he told Der Spiegel that the Russians’ position in Kherson is rather vulnerable as well.

So far, however, save for retaking a few cities in the region, the Ukrainian military’s progress has been “not really spectacular” near Kherson for the past three months, Kofman said.

According to the analyst, the government in Kiev is facing a dilemma: to launch a rather risky counteroffensive in earnest now and secure further Western support or accept the new status quo.

‘Kremlin-friendly’ Politicians May Grab Power In West, Says The Spectator

Public disquiet over sanctions on Moscow could propel pro-Russian politicians to power in Western countries, Czech writer Josef Bouska has said in an opinion piece for the Spectator magazine.

Support for punishing Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine through economic means has been on the decline in the EU in recent months as “opinion polls reveal that energy prices are scaring more people than Russian nukes,” Bouska pointed out in his article on Monday.

In case the conflict continues into the winter – and Moscow appears to be ready for this – “the rising cost of living will further shrink pro-Ukrainian enthusiasm in the West,” he wrote.

However, an “even greater risk looms on the horizon,” which would be Russia ending the conflict, proclaiming its victory and fortifying its territorial gains in southeastern Ukraine, Bouska stressed.

“Ukraine could never accept such an outcome” and because of this “the public image of the conflict could then quickly transform, with Russian propaganda presenting Ukrainians as warmongers sabotaging the Kremlin’s peace efforts,” he explained.

If this is allowed to happen “before Western audiences accept that sanctions on Russian resources exist for our own sake, nothing will convince them to keep sacrificing money and comfort in support of Ukraine,” the writer said.

“Governments will face increasing pressure to ‘normalize’ relations with Russia. Those resisting may be replaced by Kremlin-friendly politicians. In short, Russia would win,” he warned.

According to the author, attempts by some Western politicians to present the rising cost of living as a necessary sacrifice for Ukraine’s freedom were a “surefire recipe for trouble.”

Only last week, EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell said that “the public must be willing to pay the price of supporting Ukraine and for preserving the unity of the EU,” He insisted that “these things are not free,” something Brussels should explain to European citizens, adding that the bloc was “at war.”

Bouska, suggested that Western leaders should put more effort into explaining that Russia has become “an unambiguously hostile nation” and that “remaining at its mercy means a massive threat to national security of each and every European democracy.”

Germany Mulls Drastic Nuclear Decision

Facing a cold and dark winter without enough energy sources to heat homes and businesses, Germany is poised to postpone the long-planned shutdowns of its last three nuclear power stations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified German government officials.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet hasn’t formally agreed to the postponement, which also will likely require a vote in parliament, the newspaper said.

Those steps would not be finalized until an assessment of Germany’s energy needs is completed in the coming weeks, but with Russian gas currently flowing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline at less than 20% of capacity, officials said it is a “foregone conclusion” that supplies would not be adequate without the nuclear plants.

Germany already decided to prohibit thermostats in public buildings from being set above 19 degrees Celsius during the fall and winter months, Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said recently.

Former Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to phase out all of Germany’s nuclear power plants by the end of 2022, in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima reactor meltdowns in 2011. Just three of the country’s 17 reactors are still operating, and they account for about 6% of German electricity output. At least some government officials reportedly believe it will be both necessary and safe to keep the plants running temporarily.

“The reactors are safe until December 31, and obviously, they will remain safe also after December 31,” an official told the WSJ.

However, the government would not consider reopening any of its previously decommissioned nuclear plants, including the three that were closed last winter, according to the report. Despite the energy crisis, environmental groups have vowed to take legal action if the final shutdowns are postponed.

With gas shortages staring them in the face, German consumers have rushed out to buy wood to heat their homes. But with stove and wood supplies reportedly exhausted, they are purchasing electric heaters. About 600,000 electric heaters were sold in this year’s first half, up 35% from 2021’s pace, according to research firm GFK.

The problem is, the German power grid might collapse if everyone turns on their electric heaters at the same time. “If everyone uses it to heat at the same time because it is cold everywhere at the same time, then the network will be overloaded. The protective devices switch off the lines,” Peter Lautz, managing director of the Stadtwerke Wiesbaden Netz utility, told public broadcaster ZDF this week.

Germany, like many other EU countries, has been hit by an energy crunch due to rising global prices. One of the factors exacerbating the crisis has been uncertainty over natural gas supplies from Russia. However, President Vladimir Putin has rejected accusations that Moscow could cut off gas supplies to the EU, stating that Russian energy giant Gazprom is “ready to pump as much as necessary” but that the bloc has “closed everything themselves.”

Top of Form

Western Countries Waiting For Fall Of Ukraine, Says Ukrainian FM

Several countries in the West are waiting for Kiev to surrender and think their problems will immediately be solved when it happens, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba claimed in an interview published on Tuesday.

“I often gets asked in interviews and while speaking to other foreign ministers: how long will you last? That is instead of asking what else could be done to help us defeat Putin in the shortest time possible,” Kuleba said, noting that such questions suggest that everyone “is waiting for us to fall and for their problems to disappear on their own.”

The foreign minister went on to suggest that some Western countries are ready to accept Ukraine’s surrender in the ongoing military conflict with Russia and have it concede some of its territories – something Kiev has repeatedly insisted it would never agree to.

Last week, Mikhail Podolyak, an aide to President Zelensky, ruled out Kiev’s military defeat as a possible scenario and stated that it would fight “to the last Russian citizen in Ukrainian territory,” with the help of Western weapons which he says will be funneled into the country regardless of the cost.

Podolyak also suggested that nobody would try to negotiate a truce with Russia at the expense of Ukraine, due to the reputation of President Zelensky for “not allowing any such talks behind his back.”

Zelensky has repeatedly condemned the insistence of some Western countries on a peaceful resolution to the conflict without considering Kiev’s interests, stating in June that “everyone wants to push us to some result, definitely not desirable for us,” while pursuing their own financial and political interests.

“Fatigue is growing, people want some kind of result for themselves. And we need a result for us,” the Ukrainian leader stated.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has predicted that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine would eventually end with a negotiated settlement but insisted that Kiev must continue to receive military support from the West to improve its negotiating position.

New Zealand Troops To Train Ukrainians

New Zealand is set to send 120 soldiers to help train Ukrainian personnel in the UK, the government said, though stressed that there would be no direct involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Defense Minister Peeni Henare announced the move on Monday, noting that at least 120 troops, or two infantry teams, would travel to the UK to assist the training of 800 Ukrainian servicemen, part of a group of 10,000 London previously committed to train in “frontline combat.”

The trainers are set to depart to the UK sometime over the next three weeks and will return in November.

While the PM boasted of more than $25.7 million in military and economic assistance to Kiev since Moscow’s military operation kicked off in February, she insisted New Zealand soldiers “have not and will not engage in combat in Ukraine’s territory,” maintaining that her country would not get directly involved in hostilities.

The latest training deployment is not New Zealand’s first, having sent around 30 soldiers to instruct Ukrainian troops on artillery operation last May, though Ardern said the new mission would be on a “much larger scale.”


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