ARCHIV - 01.05.2022, Ukraine, Enerhodar: Auf diesem während einer vom russischen Verteidigungsministerium organisierten Reise aufgenommenen Foto, bewacht ein russischer Soldat einen Bereich des Kernkraftwerks Saporischschja in einem Gebiet unter russischer Militärkontrolle im Südosten der Ukraine. (zu dpa "Sorge um Europas größtes Atomkraftwerk in der Ukraine") Foto: Uncredited/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Ukraine fears that Russia wants to disconnect the country’s largest nuclear power plant from the national power grid. There are indications that Russian troops are preparing to shut down the reactors that are still in operation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the state-owned energy supplier Energoatom announced on Friday. A failure of electricity supplies from the huge plant – Zaporizhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe – would hit southern Ukraine in particular.

In the face of war and energy shortages, the country is preparing for the most difficult winter since independence. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he would work with Russian President Vladimir Putin to resolve the dispute over the nuclear power plant.

“The Russian military is currently looking for fuel suppliers for diesel generators,” said Energoatom. The diesel generators were supposed to keep the cooling systems for the highly radioactive nuclear fuels running after the nuclear reactors were shut down. The company reiterated the accusation that Russia was preparing a “large-scale provocation”. Conversely, the government in Moscow had leveled exactly the same allegation against Ukraine.

Internationally, special attention is paid to Zaporizhia, because a hit in the reactors could trigger a nuclear catastrophe similar to that in Chernobyl in 1986. At that time, not only was the immediate area permanently irradiated, but radioactive fallout also fell in several European countries. At the beginning of August, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, warned of fighting in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant before “playing with fire, with possible catastrophic consequences”. On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the Russian military presence would guarantee that Chernobyl would not happen again.

The power plant was captured by Russian forces in March. It is close to the current front line. In the past, Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the nuclear power plant. Bullets smashed into the area. Despite the Russian occupation, the plant is maintained by Ukrainian technicians. Only two of the six reactors are currently running at full power. (Reuters)

According to a report by “Welt”, the federal government has been blocking requests from Ukraine for further arms deliveries for months. These have been brought up repeatedly by Ukrainian diplomats in the Federal Ministry of Defense over the past ten weeks, it said on Friday. There, as well as in Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) chancellery, the inquiries were apparently put on hold.

According to the report, there have been high-level meetings in the Ministry of Defense several times a month since June, in which Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) also took part. The Ukrainian side has always asked for more deliveries of those types of weapons that Germany has already provided, namely the Panzerhaubitze 2000 and the Mars II multiple rocket launcher.

So far, Germany has delivered ten self-propelled howitzers and three of the rocket launchers. The Ukrainian side also pushed for approval of the export of battle tanks and armored personnel carriers requested by the industry. In April, Ukraine had already received offers from the armaments group Rheinmetall to buy 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 88 Leopard 1 main battle tanks, including training and ammunition, for a total of 268 million euros. According to the manufacturer, the device would be “quickly available”, but there was no reaction from the Chancellery.

Last week, the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov also raised the concerns in a personal phone call with Lambrecht, according to “Welt”. The head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, had previously done so in a telephone conversation with the foreign policy adviser to the chancellor, Jens Plötner. “Our requests were always taken down and written down,” according to Ukrainian government circles, “but that has had no effect so far.”

According to “Welt”, the Ministry of Defense said on request that the Ministry was “in contact with the Ukrainian side on many levels”. The aim is “the best possible support for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian aggressor”. However, no further details could be given. (AFP)

In July, Ukraine received fewer commitments for military and financial aid than in the previous months, according to the “Ukraine Support Tracker” of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). Accordingly, between July 2nd and August 3rd, only commitments of around one and a half billion euros were made. Norway promised the country the lion’s share – around one billion euros. Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the tracker has recorded commitments of 84.2 billion euros.

“In July, the donor countries mainly delivered what they had promised and launched few initiatives for new aid,” agrees Christoph Trebesch, who is responsible for the tracker at the IfW. For example, Germany had not announced any further military support during the investigation period. However, the federal government has delivered many of the promised weapon systems to Ukraine.

“Financial and military support is still well below Ukraine’s needs. It also remains small in relation to what some of the donors are mobilizing in their own countries to avert the crisis,” says Trebesch. (tsp)

Russia rejects UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposal to demilitarize the area around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is occupied by Russian troops. This is unacceptable, says Moscow Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechaev. The nuclear power plant is located near the course of the front. Projectiles have repeatedly fallen on the site in recent days, fueling fears of a nuclear catastrophe. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the facility. (Reuters)