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Russia-Ukraine war latest: what we know on day 191 of the invasion

  • An expert team from the United Nations nuclear agency plan to stay at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) after gaining long-awaited access to the site on Thursday. “We are not going anywhere. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is now there, it is at the plant and it is not moving – it’s going to stay there,” the head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, told reporters after returning to Ukrainian-held territory. He said a group of experts had stayed behind at the plant in south-eastern Ukraine and would provide an impartial, neutral and technically sound assessment of the situation.

  • The physical integrity of the Zaporizhzhia plant had been violated on several occasions, Rafael Grossi said. “It is obvious that the plant and physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times,” he told reporters. “I worried, I worry and I will continue to be worried about the plant until we have a situation which is more stable, which is more predictable.”

  • Russia’s ambassador to international institutions in Vienna told the RIA Novosti news agency Friday that two inspectors would remain permanently at the plant.

  • Ukrainian officials accused Russia of manipulating and distorting information shared with the IAEA. Ukrainian state-owned operator Energoatom said in a statement that Russian officials “are making every effort to prevent the IAEA mission from getting to know the real state of affairs. They spread manipulative and false information about this visit.”

  • Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu accused Ukraine on Friday of “nuclear terrorism”. Russia has occupied Europe’s largest nuclear power plant since March. Pro-Russian proxy authorities in Zaporizhzhia have accused Kyiv of trying to smuggle “spies” into the IAEA inspection team posing as journalists.

  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Friday “We did everything to ensure that IAEA would get access to the ZNPP and I believe that this mission may still have a role to play. Unfortunately we haven’t heard the main thing from the IAEA which is the call for Russia to demilitarise the station.”

  • The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, has restated the expansionist military aims of Russia’s invasion, saying “Our task is to liberate all Russian cities that were founded by Russian people during the time of the Russian Empire, and developed during the Soviet Union thanks to the help of our entire vast country. And this is not only the territories of Novorossia [the Donbas], but also much wider. It will not be any other way.”

  • The general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine said in its daily operation briefing that the main military aim of Russia at the moment continues to be “establishing full control over the territory of Donetsk region and maintaining the occupied areas of Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.”

  • Russia’s foreign minister warned Moldova Thursday that any actions seen as endangering the security of Russian troops in the breakaway region of Transnistria would be considered an attack on Russia. Sergei Lavrov said: “Everyone should understand that any action that would threaten the security of our troops [in Transnistria] would be considered under international law as an attack on Russia.”

  • Russia and China launched large-scale military exercises involving several allied nations on Thursday, in a show of growing defence cooperation between Moscow and Beijing and a demonstration of Moscow’s military might. The Russian defence ministry said the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise would be held until Wednesday in Russia’s far east and the Sea of Japan and involve more than 50,000 troops and 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.

  • United States federal agents searched properties linked to a billionaire Russian oligarch in Manhattan, the Hamptons and an exclusive Miami island on Thursday. FBI agents and Homeland Security Investigations personnel searched the properties, linked to Viktor Vekselberg, who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and whose $120m yacht was seized in April, NBC News reported.

  • Germany’s domestic intelligence agency is investigating allegations that two senior civil servants could have been spying for Russia, according to a local media reports on Thursday. Die Zeit, which first revealed the case, said the officials being investigated had close involvement with energy supply issues and held key positions.

  • Children returned to Ukrainian schools trashed by occupying Russian forces on Thursday. Only schools that are fit for use, are in areas that do not face a regular threat of shelling and that have enough students opt for in-person teaching will reopen. School administrations have been preparing for the new academic year by outfitting basements as shelters and training teachers on what to do in case of an attack.

  • A senior Russian oil executive died Thursday after falling from the window of a Moscow hospital, months after his company criticised the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ravil Maganov, the chair of Lukoil, Russia’s largest private oil company, “fell from a window at Central clinical hospital”, the Interfax news agency reported on Thursday, citing a source. “He died from injuries sustained.” Maganov is the second top Lukoil executive to die in mysterious circumstances in recent months.

  • Russian forces have been forcibly transferring Ukrainian civilians to Russia or areas of Ukraine under their control, according to Human Rights Watch. Forced transfers were “a serious violation of the laws of war that constitute war crimes and potential crimes against humanity”, it said.

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