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Ukraine nuclear plant loses power line, Moscow makes Europe sweat over gas

The UN inspectors found that a nuclear power plant at the frontline of the Ukraine war lost its external power again on Saturday (3 September). This fueled fears of disaster and Moscow shut down its main gas pipeline to Germany to protect the economies of Kyiv’s Western friends.

Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear plant, lost its main external power line. However, a reserve line continued to supply electricity to the grid.

According to a statement, only one of six reactors at the station was still in operation.

Russian troops seized the plant shortly after the 24 February invasion. Each side has blamed the other for the nearby shelling.

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Last week, tensions over Russian oil and gas escalated as Moscow pledged to shut down its main gas pipeline to Germany and the G7 announced that they would place a price limit on Russian oil exports.

The energy dispute is a result of President Vladimir Putin’s six month invasion of Ukraine. It demonstrates the deep division between Moscow and Western countries as Europe prepares for the cold months ahead.

In his Saturday nightly address, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian President, stated that Russia is preparing a decisive energy strike on all Europeans this winter. He cited the Nord Stream 1 pipeline’s ongoing closure.

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Zelenskiy blames Russian shelling for the Aug. 25 cutoff. The first Zaporizhzhia was removed from the national grid. This narrowly avoided a radioactive leak. The shutdown caused power outages across Ukraine, but emergency generators were activated to provide vital cooling.

Moscow has invoked Western sanctions and technical issues regarding energy disruptions. Meanwhile, European countries accuse Russia of using weapons to aid its military invasion.

NUCLEAR CONCERNS

Moscow and Kyiv have been arguing about the attack on Zaporizhzhia, which is still being operated by Ukrainian staff.

On Thursday, an IAEA delegation visited the plant. Some experts remain there in the meantime that the United Nations nuclear watchdog releases a report. read more

One reactor, which was producing electricity for cooling and other safety functions at the site as well as for homes, factories, and others through the grid, was noted by the remaining inspectors.

In a statement, the plant stated that the fifth reactor had been shut down “as a consequence of constant shelling from Russian occupation forces” as well as that there was not enough capacity left over from the reserve line to run two reactors.

The International Red Cross warned that radiation catastrophe could result from the destruction of shelling.

The West and Ukraine accuse Russia of having heavy weapons stored at the site in order to deter Ukraine from firing. Russia denies any such weapons are present at the site and has refused international requests to move troops and demilitarize the area.

Russian defense ministry claimed that Ukrainian forces tried unsuccessfully to seize the plant. Reuters was unable to verify the report.

Turkey offered assistance on Saturday.

GAS AND OIL

Gazprom , Russia’s state-controlled energy giant, announced that it wouldn’t make a planned restart for gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipe. This is one of Russia’s main supply lines to Europe.

Gazprom stated Saturday that Germany’s Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE.DE) was available to repair damaged equipment, but that no other place was available. Siemens claimed that it was not authorized to perform maintenance work on the pipeline, but that it is available.

As energy prices rise, Europe’s inability to restart Nord Stream 1 (which runs under the Baltic Sea in order to supply Germany and other countries) only makes Europe’s problems worse.

The Group of Seven rich democracies of finance ministers, which includes the United States, Canada, France and Germany, said that the Russian price cap was intended to limit Russia’s ability to pay for its war of aggression.

According to the Kremlin, it will stop selling oil to countries that have implemented the cap.

Russia describes its invasion of its neighbor as a “special military operation”. Kyiv and West both claim it is an unprovoked aggression war against a former Soviet Union part.

The United States and other nations have promised new military assistance to Kyiv in order to combat an invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Last week, Ukraine launched a counteroffensive against the south, especially the Kherson region which was occupied by Russians in the early stages of the conflict.

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