Live blog: NATO calls for ‘urgent’ inspection of Ukraine nuclear plant

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Four more ships leave Ukrainian ports under the Istanbul grain export deal and NATO calls for an inspection by the UN’s atomic watchdog of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as fighting rolls into its 175th day. Russian forces overran the area around the Zaporizhzhia plant in March, soon after sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine. (AFP) Wednesday, August 17, 2022

NATO calls for ‘urgent’ inspection of Ukraine nuclear plant

It is «urgent» that the UN's atomic watchdog be allowed to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine that is under Russian military control, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said.

Russia's seizure of the plant «poses a serious threat to the safety and the security of this facility (and) raises the risks of a nuclear accident or incident,» he told reporters in Brussels.

«It is urgent to allow the inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency and to ensure the withdrawal of all Russian forces,» he said.

Chinese military will send troops to Russia for joint exercise

Chinese troops will travel to Russia to take part in a joint exercise with Russia and other countries including India, Belarus and Tajikistan, the Chinese defence ministry has said.

Russian Black Sea fleet names new commander

Russia's Black Sea fleet based in annexed Crimea has named Viktor Sokolov as its new commander, RIA news agency has cited sources as saying.

The appointment followed blasts at Russian military bases in Crimea last week and on Tuesday.

Russian missile strikes leave several people injured in Odessa region — Ukrainian officials

— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) August 17, 2022 Ex-Soviet weapons lab revamps testing facility

A major weapons lab in Russia has revamped its testing facility after it was mothballed following the fall of the Soviet Union, state news agency TASS has reported, citing the company's press service.

TsNIITochMash, which conducts research and designs arms including anti-tank missiles and rifles for Russia's military, told TASS the revamped lab would be able to test ballistic weapons and small-calibre artillery in extreme cold temperatures.

In a speech opening an arms show on Monday, President Vladimir Putin said Russia was ready to sell advanced weapons to its allies and cooperate with others in developing military technology.

Ukraine official calls for Crimea bridge to be ‘dismantled’

A senior Ukrainian official has called for Moscow's main bridge connecting the Russia-annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland to be «dismantled,» in the wake of several attacks on the peninsula.

The 19-kilometre bridge inaugurated in 2018 by Russian President Vladimir Putin is Moscow's key military and civilian land corridor to the annexed peninsula.

«The bridge is an illegal object,» presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said on social media. It «must therefore be dismantled. Not important how — voluntary or not.»

UN chief Antonio Guterres, Türkiye's President Erdogan, and his Ukrainian counterpart Zelenskyy will discuss in Ukraine the need for a political solution to the Ukrainian conflict, says UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric

— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) August 17, 2022 Four more grain ships leave Ukrainian ports

Four more ships have left Ukrainian ports under the Istanbul grain export deal, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said. 

Ships carrying sunflower meal, sunflower oil and corn departed from the Ukrainian ports of Odessa and Chornomorsk, the ministry said on Twitter.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal last month to resume grain exports from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Yuzhny, Chornomorsk and Odessa, which were halted due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

EU looks to Russian tourist visa ban

Active discussions are continuing among several European Union member states on the need to ban tourist visas for Russian citizens amid the Ukraine conflict.

Through this ban, the EU hopes to increase pressure on Moscow and bring an end to its «special military operation» in Ukraine. 

A draft decision on the ban was put forth for consideration as part of the seventh package of sanctions adopted by the European Council last month. 

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan set to travel to Ukraine's Lviv on Thursday to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, UN chief Antonio Guterres

— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) August 17, 2022 North Korea, Russia-backed separatists to develop 'bilateral cooperation'

North Korea and the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region of Ukraine will develop «equally beneficial bilateral cooperation», Donetsk separatist head Denis Pushilin has said in a letter to Kim Jong-un, North Korean state media reported.

In July, North Korea recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region, as independent states.

Pushilin wrote a letter to congratulate Kim on the August 15 Korean liberation day, state news agency KCNA reported, two days after reporting a similar message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Kim.

«The people of the Donbas region, too, are fighting to regain their freedom and justice of history today just as the Korean people did 77 years ago,» the report cited Pushilin's letter as saying.

For live updates from Tuesday (August 16), click  here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies