Kyiv (Ukraine) (AFP), Aug 25 – Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
– Nuclear plant disconnected –
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, controlled by Russian forces since the early days of the war, is disconnected from the national power supply, the state energy operator says.
“The actions of the invaders caused a complete disconnection of the (plant) from the power grid — the first in the history of the plant,” Energoatom says on the Telegram messaging app.
Europe’s largest nuclear plant has been the target of military strikes, which each side blames on the other.
The attacks have raised fears of a nuclear disaster on the scale of that in Ukraine’s Chernobyl in 1986.
Kyiv officials have said they believe Moscow has seized the station in southern Ukraine to divert power to the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014.
– Deadly railway station strike –
Russia says it killed over 200 Ukrainian troops in an attack on a railway station in central Ukraine that Kyiv said left 25 people dead, including children.
“As a result of a direct hit by an Iskander missile on a military train at the Chaplyne railway station in the Dnipropetrovsk region, more than 200 servicemen of the reserve of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and 10 units of military equipment were destroyed,” Russia’s defence ministry says in its daily briefing.
Ukraine’s railways have been vital in the effort to evacuate vast swathes of the country since Moscow sent in troops.
The defence ministry says the train was “en route to combat zones” in the eastern Donbas region, which Moscow seeks to fully control.
The EU has condemned the “heinous” attack on civilians carried out on Wednesday, the day Ukraine marked Independence Day and six months since the start of Moscow’s invasion.
– Putin raises army headcount –
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a decree to increase the headcount of the country’s army.
Russia’s army will have over two million people, including 1.15 million servicemen, starting January 2023.
Putin last set the army headcount in 2017, at around 1.9 million people with 1.01 million soldiers.
While the decree does not outline the reasons for the increase, it comes as Moscow’s troops are focused on capturing territories in eastern Ukraine.
The decree also comes at a time of soaring tensions between Moscow and Western countries, which have imposed sanctions on Russia.
– Latvia removes Soviet-era monument –
Latvia takes down a Soviet-era monument in Riga following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite protests from the Baltic state’s ethnic Russian minority to keep it.
Demolition machinery was used to remove the 79-metre (259-foot) World War II memorial, which has become a rallying point for pro-Kremlin supporters in Latvia.
Like fellow Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania, Latvia is a NATO and EU member which has shown strong support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia.
Latvia’s ethnic Russian community — which makes up 30 percent of the population — had protested against the removal of the Monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders.
Riga’s parliament has voted to remove all remaining Soviet statues and plaques by mid-November.