World Inside

Ukraine power plant shelled again, Zelenskiy rails at Russian ‘nuclear terror’

Publish: 09:44 AM, 08 Aug, 2022


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Ukraine said on Sunday that renewed Russian shelling had damaged three radiation sensors and hurt a worker at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, in the second hit in consecutive days on Europe’s largest nuclear facility.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called Saturday night’s shelling “Russian nuclear terror” that warranted more international sanctions, this time on Moscow’s nuclear sector.

“There is no such nation in the world that could feel safe when a terrorist state fires at a nuclear plant,” Zelenskiy said in a televised address on Sunday.

However, the Russian-installed authority of the area said it was Ukraine that hit the site with a multiple rocket launcher, damaging administrative buildings and an area near a storage facility.

Reuters could not verify either side’s version.

Events at the Zaporizhzhia site - where Kyiv had previously alleged that Russia hit a power line on Friday - have alarmed the world.

“(It) underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster,” International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Mariano Grossi warned on Saturday.

Elsewhere, a deal to unblock Ukraine’s food exports and ease global shortages gathered pace as another four ships sailed out of Ukrainian Black Sea ports while the first cargo vessel since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion docked.

The four outgoing ships had almost 170,000 tonnes of corn and other food. They were sailing under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to try to help ease soaring global food prices that have resulted from the war.

Before Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion, which Russian President Vladimir Putin calls a “special military operation”, Russia and Ukraine together accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports. The disruption since then has threatened famine in some parts of the world.

Battle For Donbas

Putin’s troops are trying to gain full control of the Donbas region of east Ukraine where pro-Moscow separatists seized territory after the Kremlin annexed Crimea to the south in 2014.

Russian forces stepped up their attacks north and northwest of Donetsk city in the Donbas on Sunday, Ukraine’s military said. The Russians attacked Ukrainian positions near the heavily fortified settlements of Piski and Avdiivka, as well as shelling other locations in the Donetsk region, it said.

In addition to tightening its grip over the Donbas, Russia is entrenching its position in southern Ukraine, where it has gathered troops in a bid to prevent a potential counter-offensive near Kherson, Kyiv has said.

As the fighting rages, Russians installed in the wake of Moscow’s invasion have toyed with the idea of joining Ukraine’s occupied territory to Russia. Last month, a senior pro-Russian official said a referendum on such a move was likely “towards next year.”

In his video address, Zelenskiy said that any “pseudo-referendums” on occupied areas of his country joining Russia would eliminate the possibility of talks between Moscow and its Ukrainian counterparts or their allies.

“They will close for themselves any change of talks with Ukraine and the free world which the Russian side will clearly need at some point,” Zelenskiy said.

Also Sunday, Ukraine’s chief war crimes prosecutor said almost 26,000 suspected war crimes committed since the invasion were being investigated, with 135 people charged, of whom 15 were in custody. Russia denies targeting civilians.

Shelling and missile strikes were reported overnight in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and around military sites in the western region of Vinnitsya, among other places, Ukrainian authorities said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Beyond Ukraine, a proxy battle played out at the International Chess Federation where former Russian deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich won a second term as president, defeating Ukraine’s Andrii Baryshpolets.

And after days of controversy, Amnesty International apologised for “distress and anger” caused by a report accusing Ukraine of endangering civilians. That had infuriated Zelenskiy and prompted the head of the rights group’s Ukraine office to resign.

- Reuters


Russia   Ukraine   Ukraine Crisis   Nuclear Power Plant  


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World Inside

Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in the West Bank

Publish: 04:46 PM, 03 Oct, 2022


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Israeli forces said they shot and killed two Palestinians in the West Bank who they said tried to carry out a car-ramming attack on troops conducting a security operation, while a Palestinian official described the incident as an "execution".

The latest in a near-daily series of security incidents in the West Bank took place before dawn in the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah.

The Israeli military said soldiers went into the camp to apprehend an individual suspected of "terror activity".

During the operation, "two suspects attempted to carry out a ramming attack against IDF soldiers. The soldiers responded with fire and neutralized the two suspects", said the Israeli military.

The account was disputed by a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who said the troops had carried out an "execution."

"Such a reckless policy will not bring security or stability for anyone," said the spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

Awatef Basbous, the mother of one of the dead men, said her son had been going to his job at a bakery when he was shot.

"It never crossed my mind they would kill him on his way to work," Awatef Basbous said, as she met women neighbours who came to the house to pay their respects.

More than 70 Palestinians have been killed this year as Israel has stepped its operations in West Bank cities following a series of deadly Palestinian street attacks in Israel earlier in the year.

Raids by Israeli security forces and clashes with militant groups in West Bank cities like Nablus and Jenin have escalated as Israel approaches a general election on Nov. 1.

Initial media reports spoke of three casualties in the incident and one witness, who declined to be identified, said he had seen troops carrying three bodies away from the site. However Israeli military spokesmen said there were only two casualties.

- Reuters


Israeli forces   Palestinians   West Bank  


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World Inside

Svante Pääbo wins Nobel Prize in Medicine

Publish: 03:50 PM, 03 Oct, 2022


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Scientist Svante Paabo won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries “concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” the award-giving body said on Monday.

The prize, arguably among the most prestigious in the scientific world, is awarded by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($900,357).

It is the first of this year’s batch of prizes.


Svante Pääbo   Nobel Prize   Medicine   2022  


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World Inside

Road accident in India leaves 27 dead: reports

Publish: 10:57 AM, 02 Oct, 2022


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A tractor pulling a trolley packed with pilgrims returning from a shrine in India overturned Saturday and plunged into a pond, killing as many as 27 people, Indian media reported.

The accident in the city of Kanpur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh left another 22 people injured, reported The Times of India.

Other news media gave slightly lower death tolls.

The tractor-trolley was bringing Hindu pilgrims back from the Chandrika Devi temple, reports said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences in a tweet.

"Distressed by the tractor-trolley mishap took place in Kanpur. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones and prayers with the injured," Modi said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said this kind of vehicle -- a tractor pulling a large cart -- should be used only to transport farm goods and freight, not people, The Hindu said.

"The road accident in Kanpur district is very heart-wrenching," he said.

– BSS/AFP


India   Road Crash  


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World Inside

Germany to supply Ukraine with air defence system in days

Publish: 09:53 AM, 02 Oct, 2022


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Germany will deliver the first of four advanced IRIS-T air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming days to help ward off drone attacks, its defence minister Christine Lambrecht said during an unannounced visit to Odessa on Saturday.

As air raid sirens sounded in the port city above, Lambrecht held talks with her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov in an underground bunker. Lambrecht had extended a visit to nearby Moldova for the meeting.

"In a few days, we will deliver the very modern IRIS-T air defence system," she told ARD television. "It is very important for drone defence in particular."

Ukraine has been seeing more attacks from Iranian-made kamikaze drones in recent weeks, costing lives and causing serious damage to infrastructure.

It first emerged in May that Berlin was considering sending the IRIS-T surface-to-air defence system, which costs 150 million euros ($147 million) apiece.

The German armed forces themselves do not currently own the system, reckoned among the world's most advanced.

Earlier, meeting her Moldovan counterpart Anatolie Nosatii in Chisinau, she urged Western countries not to be deterred from arming Ukraine by threats that Russia could use nuclear weapons.

"We have to be very careful," she said. "But we mustn't let ourselves be paralysed."

Germany is facing calls to step up its support for Ukraine, including by sending offensive weapons such as the modern tanks Kyiv says it needs to take the fight to Russian forces.

Berlin has so far resisted such calls, arguing that such moves would escalate the situation and pointing out that no other country has so far sent tanks more modern than old Soviet stock sent by former Warsaw Pact countries.

- Reuters


Germany   Ukraine   Air defence systems  


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World Inside

Turkey rejects Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territory

Publish: 04:47 PM, 01 Oct, 2022


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Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it rejects Russia's annexation of four regions in Ukraine, adding the decision is a "grave violation" of international law.

Turkey, a NATO member, has conducted a diplomatic balancing act since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. Ankara opposes Western sanctions on Russia and has close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, its Black Sea neighbours. It has also criticised Russia's invasion and sent armed drones to Ukraine.

The Turkish ministry said on Saturday it had not recognised Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding that it rejects Russia's decision to annex the four regions, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

"This decision, which constitutes a grave violation of the established principles of international law, cannot be accepted," the ministry said.

"We reiterate our support to the resolution of this war, the severity of which keeps growing, based on a just peace that will be reached through negotiations," it added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of the regions on Friday, promising Moscow would triumph in its "special military operation" even as he faced a potentially serious new military reversal.

His proclamation came after Russia held what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. Western governments and Kyiv said the votes breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.

The United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions in response.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy said on Friday his country had submitted a fast-track application to join the NATO military alliance and that he would not hold peace talks with Russia while Putin was still president.

- Reuters


Russia   Ukraine   Annexation   Turkey  


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