Ukraine has accused Russian forces of striking near a nuclear reactor at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant in the southeast of the country. Energoatom, the state operator of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, said in a statement: “Three strikes were recorded at the plant site, near one of the power blocks where the nuclear reactor is located.” The Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukrainian forces of bombing the factory, saying a radiation leak was only avoided by luck.
Vladimir Putin met Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for talks which were to focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine and which were rumored to include Kremlin efforts to circumvent Western sanctions. The Russian President welcomed Erdoğan to Sochi, a Black Sea resort, thanking the Turkish President for his help in reaching an international agreement that resumed grain exports from Ukraine which had been interrupted by the Kremlin’s war machine – as well as Russian foodstuffs and fertilizers – to world markets. They agreed to strengthen cooperation in the transport, agriculture, finance and construction sectors, they said in a joint statement after a four-hour meeting.
Three ships carrying nearly 60,000 tons of grain between them left Ukrainian Black Sea ports and are en route to Britain, Ireland and Turkey respectively. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said he plans “to ensure that ports have the capacity to accommodate more than 100 ships per month.”
Russia says it is ready to talk about a prisoner exchange with the United States following the nine-year prison sentence handed down on Thursday against American basketball player Brittney Griner. However, the Kremlin has said such negotiations should not take place publicly.
Amnesty International said it stands by its accusation that Ukraine is endangering civilians by setting up military bases in residential areas. to counter Russian forces, after a report by the rights group prompted a furious reaction from Kyiv. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, criticized Amnesty for the report released on Thursday, saying the rights group drew a false equivalence between Ukraine under attack and Russian invaders.
The UK Ministry of Defense has raised concerns about the ‘security and safety’ of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plantclaiming that Russia “used artillery units based in these areas to target Ukrainian territory on the west bank of the Dnipro [Dnieper] River”.
A European Union plan to cut gas consumption and help Germany wean itself off dependence on Russia will come into effect early next weekthe bloc’s presidency said on Friday. Last week, EU member states agreed to cut their gas consumption by 15% during the winter, with exceptions for some countries and despite opposition from Hungary.
Canada sends up to 225 members of the Canadian armed forces to the United Kingdom to resume training of Ukrainian military recruits, announced the Canadian Minister of Defense. Since 2015, Canada has trained 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel, but in February it halted some aspects of the training.
A US official has accused Moscow of preparing to file false evidence to give the impression that the recent massacre of Ukrainian POWs in an attack on a Russian-controlled prison was caused by Ukraine. Kyiv and Moscow have swapped responsibility for last week’s strikes on the Kremlin-controlled Olenivka prison in eastern Ukraine.
A leading Russian hypersonics expert has been arrested on suspicion of treason, the state-controlled Tass news agency reported on Friday. Andrei Shiplyuk heads the hypersonic laboratory at the Novosibirsk Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, according to the institute’s website, and in recent years has coordinated research to support the development of hypersonic missile systems, Reuters reports.