Energoatomwhich oversees nuclear facilities in Ukraine, reported this morning that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant works normally. It is in an area currently occupied by Russian forces and was the source of a dispute between Ukraine and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which wanted to visit and inspect it, which the Ukraine was trying to prevent.
Romain Starovoyt, the governor of Kursk, posted to Telegram to say that this morning there was shooting from Ukraine at the Krupets checkpoint in the Rylsky district of Russia. The Kursk region borders the Sumy region in northeastern Ukraine. Starovoyt says there were no casualties and border guards responded. Claims have not been independently verified.
British intelligence appears to have confirmed Ukraine’s claims that several hundred Ukrainian civilians were sheltering in underground bunkers at the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk.
Russian forces now control the majority of the Ukrainian city, the UK Ministry of Defense said in its latest report.
Temporary silos will be built along Ukrainian border, Biden says
US President Joe Biden has said temporary silos will be built along the border with Ukraine, including in Poland, in a bid to help export more grain from the war-torn country.
Biden said at a union convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, as Reuters reported:
I am working closely with our European partners to bring 20 million tonnes of locked grain to market in Ukraine to help bring down food prices.
He cannot go out through the Black Sea because he will be blown out of the water…
So we are going to build silos, temporary silos, on the borders of Ukraine, including in Poland.
Biden said the United States was working on a plan to get grain out of Ukraine by rail, but noted that Ukraine’s rail gauge was different from Europe’s, so grain had to be transferred to different trains at the border.
He said the grain could be moved from those Ukrainian railcars to the new elevators and then to European freight railcars to “carry it out to the ocean and take it across the world.”
“But it takes time,” he added.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blockade of its Black Sea ports, grain shipments have stalled and more than 20 million tonnes are stuck in silos. Sea mines laid by Russia also mean that some 84 foreign ships are still stuck in Ukrainian ports – many with grain shipments on board.
About 500 civilians trapped in the Azot factory try to flee
Some 500 civilians believed to be trapped alongside soldiers inside Azot, a chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk, are preparing this morning to flee the city through a possible humanitarian corridor.
Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said around 500 civilians, including 40 children, were sheltering from heavy Russian attacks at the city’s Azot chemical plant.
The shelling on Azot was so strong that “people can’t stand it in the shelters anymore, their psychological state is at an end,” Haidai added.
Late Tuesday, Russia appeared to offer civilians the option to evacuate through a humanitarian corridor.
Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev appeared to promise that civilians would be freed if Ukrainian fighters “lay down their arms” from 8 a.m. Moscow time (5 a.m. GMT), the Interfax news agency reported.
Ukraine has yet to comment on the reported humanitarian corridor. He has previously accused Russia of violating ceasefire agreements.
Russia tells Sievierodonetsk defenders to surrender
Russia asked Ukrainian forces locked in a chemical plant in the eastern town of Sievierodonetsk to lay down their arms on Wednesday morning.
Ukraine says more than 500 civilians are trapped alongside soldiers inside Azot, a chemical plant where its forces have withstood weeks of bombardment and Russian assaults that reduced much of Sievierodonetsk to ruins.
Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the officer in charge of the devastating siege of Mariupol, said the fighters should “cease their senseless resistance and lay down their arms” from 8 a.m. Moscow time (0500 GMT).
The Russian army shifted most of its military efforts to capturing Sievierodonetsk in its bid to take full control of Lugansk and Donetsk, collectively known as Donbass. Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, told Ukrainian television on Tuesday that two more tactical groups of Russian battalions had been moved to the area.
The struggle for Sievierodonetsk is becoming one of the bloodiest battles of the war and is seen as a potential turning point in Russia’s advances in Donbass.
Summary and welcome
Hello, it’s Samantha Lock back with you to deliver all the latest developments from Ukraine.
Russia told Ukrainian forces locked in a chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk to lay down their arms by Wednesday morning under the promise of a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians trapped in the besieged city.
Here are the main changes:
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the outcome of the battle for the Donbass region will determine the course of the war, adding that Ukrainian forces are suffering “painful losses” in Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. The battle for Sievierodonetsk from Luhansk is now the biggest fight in Ukraine as its defenders try to repel a fierce Russian attack in the Eastern Twin Cities.
- Russia told Ukrainian forces holed up in the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk to lay down their arms on Wednesday morning. The fighters must “cease their senseless resistance and lay down their arms” from 8:00 a.m. Moscow time (5:00 GMT), Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s national defense management center, told the Interfax news agency.
- Russia said it would set up a humanitarian corridor on Wednesday for trapped civilians seeking to flee intense fighting in the devastated city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine. Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said around 500 civilians, including 40 children, were sheltering from heavy Russian attacks at the city’s Azot chemical plant.
- Zelenskiy reiterated his call for the West to step up the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said the country only received 10% of what it asked for and there was no way to victory without the aid: “No matter how hard Ukraine tries, no matter how professional our army, without the help of Western partners, we cannot win this war.” Zelenskiy added that Ukraine does not have enough anti-missile systems to shoot down Russian projectiles targeting its cities. “Our country does not have enough of them…nothing can justify delays in providing them.”
- NATO must establish ‘even higher readiness’ and boost weapons capabilities along its eastern border, the head of the military alliance said on Tuesday ahead of a summit in Madrid at the end of the month. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance needed a “more robust, combat-ready forward presence and even higher readiness and more pre-positioned equipment and supplies”.
- The leaders of seven European NATO members have pledged to support the candidacies of Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. “My message on the membership of Sweden and Finland is that I very much welcome it. It is a historic decision. It will strengthen them, it will strengthen us,” Stoltenberg told reporters after a meeting in The Hague on Tuesday.
- US President Joe Biden has said temporary silos will be built along the border with Ukraine, including in Poland, in a bid to help export more grain.. Referring to the 20 million tons of grain locked up in Ukraine, Biden told a union convention in Philadelphia: “It can’t get out through the Black Sea because it will be blown out of the water… So we’re going to build silos, temporary silos, at the borders of Ukraine, including in Poland.
- Worried allies of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny say he has been moved to a “strict regime” penal colony. Olga Mikhailova, a 46-year-old lawyer for the fierce Ukraine war critic, said officials told her he had been transferred from a detention center in Pokrov, east of Moscow, to an unidentified colony with a much harsher regime elsewhere.
- Russia has banned British journalists, including Guardian correspondents and defense industry figures to enter the country, calling it a response to Western sanctions and pressure on its state media abroad.
- Pope Francis says Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was ‘perhaps provoked in one way or another’ as he recalled a conversation in the run-up to the war in which he was warned that NATO was “barking at Russia’s gates”.
- Vladimir Putin probably still wants to capture much if not all of Ukraine but had to scale back its wartime tactical targets, the US undersecretary of defense said. “I still think he has plans for a significant part of Ukraine, if not the whole country. That said, I don’t think he can achieve those goals,” Colin Kahl said at an event hosted by the Center for New American Security.