Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant seen from Nikopol, 7 kilometers away.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine has switched to its reserve line and is on the “verge of a blackout,” Ukrainian state-owned power firm Energoatom said Thursday.
The company said there were safety risks from the plant being in a “hot shutdown” state if power is lost and its reactor coolant pumps are quickly turned off, which would happen in the result of an outage.
“In this case, it is necessary to urgently ‘cool it down’ given the lack of cooling pumps. Such a mode is challenging for the reactor installation, its duration is limited by the design, and it could entail the failure of the power unit’s essential equipment,” Energoatom said in a statement in English on its website.
The plant has been occupied since March 2022.
— Jenni Reid
Rescuers work outside a church destroyed after a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, on Aug. 10, 2023.
Marina Moiseyenko | Afp | Getty Images
A Russian missile strike on the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia late Wednesday killed three people and injured nine, Mayor Anatoly Kurtev said on the Telegram messaging app, according to Google Translate.
A church was destroyed and a high-rise residential building damaged, Kurtev said. CNBC has not independently verified the information.
The city is near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe. Russia on Wednesday accused Ukraine of targeting a spent nuclear fuel storage facility at the plant with a drone, a claim Kyiv denied.
— Jenni Reid
Russia shot down two drones heading toward Moscow early Thursday morning, city mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram, according to a Google translation.
One was reportedly downed near Kaluga, a city to the southwest of Moscow, and the other over the Central Ring Road around the capital. CNBC has not independently verified the information.
Sobyanin previously said two drones were downed on approach to Moscow on Wednesday.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the drones that have increasingly approached or entered Moscow in recent weeks, some of which have caused minor damage to buildings. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia should expect war to enter its own territory, including its symbolic centers and military bases.
Separately, Russia’s defense ministry said Thursday it had downed several Ukrainian drones near Sevastopol in Crimea.
— Jenni Reid
Polish border guard patrols by the metal wall between the Polish-Belarusian border on July 9, 2023, in Jurowlany, Poland.
Omar Marques | Getty Images
Poland’s defense minister on Thursday said the country would send up to 10,000 additional troops to its border with Belarus as tensions simmer over migrant crossings, military training exercises and the presence of Russia’s mercenary Wagner group in Belarus.
“About 10,000 soldiers will be on the border, of which 4,000 will directly support the Border Guard and 6,000 will be in the reserve,” Mariusz Blaszczak told public radio, according to a Reuters report and translation.
“We move the army closer to the border with Belarus to scare away the aggressor so that it does not dare to attack us.”
That comes a day after Poland’s Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wąsik said an additional 2,000 soldiers would be deployed following a request from the border guard. Wąsik said Polish border guards were increasingly attacked in the form of bottles, stones and branches thrown at them.
— Jenni Reid
Russian authorities have likely “increased efforts to disrupt Russian citizens’ access to Virtual Private Networks,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily Ukraine intelligence report on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter. VPNs create an encrypted space allowing users to protect their personal data, shield their IP address and sometimes bypass restrictions on reaching certain sites.
“VPNs are hugely popular in Russia, despite being illegal since 2017. They allow users to access objective international news sources, including about the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said.
Since the start of the war, the Kremlin has sharply tightened its chokehold on information distributed within or reported from Russia, including criminalizing what it perceives as “fake” journalism about the war in Ukraine under a potential penalty of up to 15 years in jail.
— Ruxandra Iordache
Russian troops deployed 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones in an overnight attack in the northeastern Kursk region of Ukraine, Ukraine’s air force said on Telegram, according to a Google translation.
The Ukrainian air defense said it destroyed seven of those drones with anti-aircraft guided missiles. It did not specify whether the remaining drones hit major targets or led to damage.
Earlier in the course of the night, the Ukrainian air forces had separately reported an air alert and the take-off of a Russian MiG-31K aircraft, according to a Google-translated post on Telegram. MiG-31K vessels could carry the devastating hypersonic aeroballistic missiles, Kinzhal.
CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.
— Ruxandra Iordache
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the USA to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during briefing at UN Headquarters. USA will serve as President of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August.
Lev Radin | Lightrocket | Getty Images
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the Biden administration is hopeful that Russia will return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The deal, which Moscow abandoned nearly a month ago, reopened three Ukrainian ports amid Russia’s naval blockade for agricultural exports. The agreement allowed for more than 1,000 ships carrying nearly 33 million metric tons of agricultural products to more than 40 global destinations.
“We’re hopeful. The Secretary-General has not given up. The Government of Türkiye is working along with him to urge the Russians to come back into the deal, and we support those efforts,” Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview with Carolyn Beeler of PRX’s “The World.
“Hopefully, through the efforts of the Secretary-General, they will eventually come to the right decision,” she added.
— Amanda Macias
At least 35 people are injured after an explosion at an optical-mechanical plant near Moscow, Russian media reported. The facility manufactures night vision equipment and binoculars for the Russian military and is part of Rostec, a large Russian defense conglomerate.
The explosion at the Zagorsk plant in the town of Sergiyev Posad prompted a total evacuation from nearby buildings and caused “damage to social facilities,” with emergency services working at the scene, according to state media agency Tass.
“There are a lot of buildings that had windows blown out,” Sergiyev Posad’s administration wrote on its Telegram channel, according to a Google translation.
Russian emergency services are blaming the explosion on “workflow violations” and rejecting reports of a possible drone strike, state media outlet RIA Novosti said.
Videos posted to social media on both Russian and Ukrainian Telegram and Twitter accounts show a massive mushroom cloud emanating from the factory with plumes rising high into the sky. Ukrainian officials have already cast doubt on Russia’s claim that the explosion was caused internally.
— Natasha Turak
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu (R) during the annual Navy Day Parade on July 30, 2023, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
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Russia will aim to build up its forces on its western border, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told a military meeting Wednesday, according to a transcript posted by the department.
“The United States is steadily raising the stakes, seeking from its allies deliveries of increasingly long-range and deadly weapons. In May, British long-range Storm Shadow air-launched guided missiles were transferred to Ukraine,” Shoigu said.
“Threats to the military security of the Russian Federation have multiplied in the western and north-western strategic directions.”
Shoigu said there was a “serious destabilizing factor” from the accession of Finland and planned accession of Sweden to NATO, as well as an existing risk from the “militarization of Poland.”
— Jenni Reid