War in Ukraine: latest developments

By: AFP
Published: 08:34 PM, 29 Aug, 2022
War in Ukraine: latest developments
Caption: Chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog Rafael Grossi says he and his team are on their way to Europe's largest nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia, which has been the target of strikes in recent weeks, and will arrive later this week.
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- IAEA team heads to nuclear plant -

Chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog Rafael Grossi says he and his team are on their way to Europe's largest nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia, which has been the target of strikes in recent weeks, and will arrive later this week.

The plant has been occupied by Russian troops since the start of the war.

Moscow and Kyiv are trading blame for shelling around the complex of six Soviet-designed nuclear reactors in the city of Energodar, in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warns the mission will be the agency's hardest to date.

"This mission will be the hardest in the history of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), given the active combat activities undertaken by the Russian Federation on the ground and also the very blatant way that Russia is trying to legitimise its presence," Kuleba says during a visit to Stockholm.

- Ukraine begins Kherson counter-offensive -

Ukrainian forces begin a counter-attack to retake the southern city of Kherson currently occupied by Russian troops, a local government official says.

"Today there was a powerful artillery attack on enemy positions in... the entire territory of the occupied Kherson region," Deputy of Kherson Regional Council Sergey Khlan tells Ukraine's Pryamyi TV channel.

"This is the announcement of what we have been waiting for since the spring -- it is the beginning of the de-occupation of Kherson region," he says.

Russian forces seized Kherson on March 3.

It was the first major city to fall following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

- Germany backs Ukraine's EU membership -

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz throws his weight behind Ukraine and other nations hopeful of joining the European Union, underlining however that enlarging the bloc to "30 or 36" would require reforms.

The bloc needs to reduce its "one-sided dependencies", be it on the economic, energy or defence fronts, he urges, calling for a "geopolitical, sovereign and enlarged EU".

He says he is "committed to" having the six nations of the western Balkans, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine accede to the bloc.

"Their EU accession is in our interest," he says.

But as the bloc widens, each member's veto right would have to go, he says, with a transition to a "majority voting" system so as not to slow down EU decision-making.

- US to meet allies -

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet fellow ministers from allied countries on September 8 in Germany to discuss support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

The "in-person Ukraine Defense Contact Group", which will also include senior military officials, will hold talks at the US Ramstein Air Base, says the US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.

- EU gets tough on Russian visas -

The European Union plans to make it harder for Russians to travel to the bloc by suspending a deal that eases their visa applications, an EU diplomat says.

"We cannot continue the visa policy as it has been up to now," the diplomat says, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The measure, which could come into force in October if approved by member states, does not amount to a formal ban on tourism visas demanded by some of Russia's EU neighbours.

But it would complicate the process of obtaining travel permission and could slow the flow of Russians travelling to Europe, increasing Moscow's international isolation.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.