Russo-Ukrainian War: what we know about day 165 of the invasion

UN nuclear watchdog warns of disaster risk as Zaporizhzhia power plant is bombed; the war is about to enter a new phase, according to British intelligence

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The UN nuclear watchdog has called for an immediate end to all military action near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after being hit by a bombardment, causing one of the reactors to shut down and creating a “very real risk of nuclear catastrophe”. Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was “extremely concerned” by reports of damage as Zelenskiy accused Russia of using the plant “for terrorist purposes”.

Russia’s war against Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, according to British intelligence. “The hardest fights [will shift] to a front line of about 350 km stretching southwest from near Zaporizhzhia to Kherson, parallel to the Dnieper River,” the UK Ministry of Defense said.

Russia is assembling troops in southern Ukraine, but the purpose of this reinforcement is not yet clear, British intelligence has warned. The Defense Ministry said Russian forces could be preparing for a new assault or simply anticipating a counter-offensive from Ukraine. Ukrainian forces are focusing their targeting on bridges, ammunition depots and rail links to affect Russia’s ability to logistically resupply in southern regions of Ukraine, the ministry added.

A foreign-flagged vessel arrived in Ukraine on Saturday for the first time since the war began in February, to be loaded with grain. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the Barbados-flagged general cargo ship Fulmar S was in the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk and that Ukraine planned “to reach the level of at least three to five ships per day in two weeks. [time]”.

Horrifying videos and photos seem to show a new atrocity with the remains of a Ukrainian prisoner of war pinned to a pole outside a house in the eastern Ukrainian town of Popasna, which was captured by Russian forces in May and is near the current frontline in the Donbass. “There is nothing human about Russians. We are at war with non-humans,” said Ukrainian governor of Lugansk province Serhiy Haidai.

Head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office resigns from human rights body in a disagreement after the group accused the Ukrainian armed forces of endangering civilians by basing troops in residential areas. Amnesty Ukraine official Oksana Pokalchuk said she was resigning over her opposition to the publication of the report, saying the human rights group had unwittingly ‘created material that looked like support for Russian narratives of the invasion”.

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers were burned alive in a Russian detention center near Donetsk, while many more are being tortured under a regime of “absolute evil”, said a former prisoner. Anna Vorosheva, a 45-year-old Ukrainian entrepreneur, was trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to Mariupol when she was arrested and detained on charges of “terrorism”.

A European Union plan to cut gas consumption and help Germany wean itself off dependence on Russia will come into effect early next weeksaid the presidency of the bloc. 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.

Russian journalist reportedly arrested at border on suspicion of being a spy, Kosovo’s interior minister said on Saturday. Xhelal Svecla named journalist Daria Aslamova. “Many countries have proven that she was engaged in espionage for Russian military intelligence and posing as a journalist,” Svecla said.

An official of the Russian occupation authorities in Kherson was seriously injured in an assassination attempt on Saturday, local officials backed by Moscow said. Vitaly Gur “is hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds, in critical condition,” an unnamed official told Russian news agency Tass.

Meta, formerly Facebook, has taken down a network of Instagram accounts operated by a troll farm in St. Petersburg, Russia. 45 Facebook accounts and 1,037 Instagram accounts were deleted after the report revealed that about $1,400 was spent in rubles to pay for ads on Facebook and Instagram.

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