Russia-Ukraine war: No ‘quick wins’ in Kherson, Zelenskiy adviser says; nuclear inspectors due at Zaporizhzhia plant – live | Ukraine

Key events

City home to Zaporizhzhia plant under fire – reports

The Russian-held city of energodarhome to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has come under attack early this morning, Ukrainian officials say.

The Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Energoatom, posted an update to its official Telegram channel just before 8am local time.

Since five o’clock in the morning, constant mortar attacks on the city have not stopped.”

Energodar city mayor, Dmytro Orlov, said “several civilian objects were hit” and confirmed there were victims from the attack in a separate post to his Telegram channel.

No ‘quick wins’ in Kherson, Zelenskiy adviser says

Ukraine’s counteroffensive to reclaim Kherson has not stalled or failed, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said.

Oleksiy Arestovych reiterated the offensive was still very much underway in a video message posted to Telegram early on Thursday morning.

The fact that we have not taken Kherson yet does not mean that the operation in the south has stalled or failed. It is carried out in a planned manner. We destroy enemy logistics, air defense systems, fuel and ammunition depots.

… There will be no quick wins. Initially, a strategy was taken to grind Putin’s army.

It is long, so there is a lot of work to be done.

Black smoke rises at the front line in Ukraine's southern Mykolaiv region on 30 August.
Black smoke rises at the front line in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region on 30 August. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine’s armed forces struck strategic bridges in the southern Kherson region to isolate Russian troops located on the right bank of the Dnieper, Arestovych added.

Ukraine’s defense ministry said the Kakhovsky and daryiv bridgesused by Russia to transport equipment and ammunition to the region, were “disabled” in an update posted to Telegram early on Thursday.

Nuclear inspectors due at Zaporizhzhia plant

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are due to inspect the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant today after arriving in Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia city on Wednesday.

The technical mission aims to prevent a nuclear accident.

However, uncertainty hangs over the planned inspectors’ visit.

IAEA chief, Rafael Grossi, told reporters from Zaporizhzhia city on Wednesday:

If we are able to establish a permanent presence, or a continued presence, then it’s going to be prolonged. But this first segment is going to take a few days.”

On Wednesday the Russian-occupying authorities said the team would be given access for one day.

Members of the IAEA mission depart Kyiv to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
Members of the IAEA mission depart Kyiv to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while. Whether you’ve been following our coverage overnight or you’ve just dropped in, here are the latest lines.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are due to inspect the Russian-held zaporizhzhia nuclear plant today after arriving in Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia city on Wednesday. The technical mission aims to prevent a nuclear accident.

Meanwhile, the senior Ukrainian presidential adviser has said Ukraine’s counteroffensive to reclaim the souther region of Kherson has not stalled or failed.

It is 7.30am in Kyiv. Here is where things stand:

  • Ukraine’s counteroffensive to reclaim Kherson has not stalled or failed, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said. “The fact that we have not taken Kherson yet does not mean that the operation in the south has stalled or failed,” Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video messaged posted to Telegram early on Thursday morning. “It is carried out in a planned manner. We destroy enemy logistics, air defense systems, fuel and ammunition depots.” Arestovych cautioned Ukrainians to be patient, adding “there will be no quick wins”.

  • Ukraine’s armed forces struck strategic bridges in the southern Kherson region to isolate Russian troops located on the right bank of the Dnieper, Arestovych added. Ukraine’s defense ministry said the Kakhovsky and Daryiv bridges, used by Russia to transport equipment and ammunition to the region, were “disabled” in an update posted to Telegram early on Thursday.

  • Uncertainty hangs over the planned inspectors’ visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. “If we are able to establish a permanent presence, or a continued presence, then it’s going to be prolonged. But this first segment is going to take a few days,” said the IAEA chief, Rafael Grossi. On Wednesday the Russian-occupying authorities said the team would be given access for one day.

  • The Russian military has “severe manpower shortages” and is seeking to recruit contract service members and may even draw in convicted criminals, a US official has said, citing US intelligence. The official said this may include “compelling wounded soldiers to re-enter combat, acquiring personnel from private security companies, and paying bonuses to conscripts”.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed the Venice film festival, describing Russia’s war on Ukraine as “a primitive plot in three acts for the world to make three dramatic mistakes: to get used to the war, to put up with the war, to forget about the war”. Zelenskiy told the audience “not to remain silent” and “not to remain neutral”.

  • Russia has stopped the flow of gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe, citing the need to carry out repairs. The German government rejects the claim, calling it to “belong”. It said Nord Stream was “fully operational” and that there were no technical issues. The halt on the Baltic Sea pipeline at 5am on Wednesday would last for three days, said Gazprom, the Russian state energy company.

  • Estonia aims to stop most Russians from entering within weeks, its foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, has said. “It takes some time, but I think timing is also critical, looking at these vast numbers of Russian citizens entering.”

  • The EU has agreed to suspend the visa travel deal with Moscow. The bloc aims to curb the number of Russian nationals entering for holidays and shopping, but is stopping short of a full tourist visa ban. Meeting in Prague, the EU’s 27 foreign ministers promised to suspend the 2007 visa facilitation agreement with Russia that makes it relatively easy to obtain travel documents.

  • Zelenskiy welcomed the EU visa measure. “I think it is humiliating for Europe when it is considered as just one big boutique or restaurant,” he said. “When the citizens of the state that wants to destroy European values ​​use Europe for their entertainment or shopping, for the vacation of their mistresses while they themselves work for the war or to simply silently wait out the immoral fall of Russia.”

  • The US obtained a warrant to seize a $45m airplane owned by Russian energy firm Lukoil, the US justice department said, although the aircraft is currently believed to be in Russia. The aircraft reportedly flew into and out of Russia in violation of US department of commerce sanctions.

  • G7 finance ministers will discuss the Biden administration’s proposed price cap on Russian oil when they meet on Friday, the White House said. “This is the most effective way, we believe, to hit hard at Putin’s revenue and doing so will result in not only a drop in Putin’s oil revenue, but also global energy prices as well,” said White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre.

A man leaves his damaged apartment building following a Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region of Ukraine on 31 August.
A man leaves his damaged apartment building following a Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region of Ukraine on 31 August. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

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