The U.N. calls to demilitarize the Zaporizhzhia NPP, Kyiv accuses Moscow of nuclear terrorism, while Ukrainian grain is being shipped to hunger-struck regions of Africa.
Meanwhile, Serbian leader Aleksandar Vučić was outraged at having been compared with Vladimir Putin, the U.K. has gathered a coalition to increase aid to Ukraine, and Donald Trump’s home could have been searched for documents related to nuclear weapons.
offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the August 8–12 business week.
The U.N. urged to demilitarize the Zaporizhzhia NPP
The United Nations called for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be declared a demilitarized zone, as Europe's largest nuclear power plant is being shelled and controlled by Russians who, for their part, laid the blame for the shelling on… Ukraine.
On August 11, the power plant was struck five times, including near where radioactive materials are stored, Reuters writes.
The invaders state that it was Ukraine who shelled the plant twice. As a result, at the meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on both sides to stop all fighting near the plant.
This demand was backed by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, who urged the IAEA to visit the site. The Kremlin representative, Vassily Nebenzia, said that IAEA officials could visit the site as soon as in August.
Ukraine: Russia is a nuclear terrorist
Ukraine demanded Russia not only withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia NPP but also return the plant to Ukraine's control, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
"The Russian authorities themselves do everything to maximize the risk of a nuclear disaster and lie to the whole world that someone else is allegedly to blame," he emphasized, adding that Russia has turned the nuclear plant into a battlefield.
Zelenskyy pointed out that the Russian troops surely know that they are putting the whole of Europe at risk of a nuclear disaster.
"We are convinced that it is not a coincidence that the trajectory of the cruise missiles which Russia fires at the territory of Ukraine passes over the Ukrainian nuclear power plants. All these are manifestations of Russian nuclear terrorism. Russia is actually holding nuclear plants hostage and is blackmailing everyone with a probable disaster," he added.
According to the President of Ukraine, only the complete withdrawal of Russians from the Zaporizhzhia NPP and the restoration of Ukrainian control of the plant guarantees the restoration of nuclear safety for the whole of Europe.
"Russia has once again gone below rock bottom in the world history of terrorism," he stressed.
Interestingly, the French foreign ministry echoed Zelenskyy’s demand and pointed out that the actions of the Russian armed forces near the plant significantly increased the risk of an accident with potentially devastating consequences.
Grain from Ukraine goes to starving African countries
On Friday, August 12, the first ship hired to carry Ukrainian grain to famine-stricken parts of the Horn of Africa will arrive in Ukraine, The New York Times reports.
The Brave Commander bulk carrier is expected to dock at the Pivdennyi port, where it will be loaded with 23,000 metric tons of grain purchased by the U.N.’s World Food Program for countries worst affected by the global food crisis, said a spokesman for the program, Steve Taravella.
The problem is, none of the 14 grain-laden vessels that have departed Ukraine so far are heading to countries facing food shortages.
An additional 7,000 metric tons is slated to be shipped on another vessel soon.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, announced that Brave Commander would go to Ethiopia.
Mr. Taravella said part of the grain would also go to Kenya and Somalia.
Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary general’s office, said that unblocking Ukrainian ports had already driven global food prices down.
Serbia affirms that it doesn’t want war in the Balkans
Serbia’s leader, Aleksandar Vučić, is outraged at being called "little Putin", The New York Times wrote in another article.
Vučić is suspected of having an intent of aggression against his country’s neighbors in the Balkans — such a statement was made, in particular, by the prime minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, in April.
Western diplomats are also concerned about Russia using Serbia to stir up renewed conflict in the former Yugoslavia to distract NATO from the war in Ukraine.
Those fears flared last week due to the dispute over license plates between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as unruly protests, roadblocks, and gunfire that followed it.
Nevertheless, the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Christopher R. Hill, affirms that, despite Russia’s influence on Serbia’s energy sector, the country has decided that its future is with Europe and the West.
Interestingly, a senior member of Vučić’s party, Vladimir Djukanovic, promotes the idea of Serbia as an avenger that "will be forced to begin the denazification of the Balkans".
However, Vučić himself publicly denounced Djukanovic’s statement as "stupid" and "irresponsible":
"We are not interested in getting into any fights with our neighbors."
At the same time, Vučić complains of getting pressured every single day to join sanctions on Russia, despite Serbia’s dependency on Russia for energy. That, he added, will not happen until Serbia’s stalled, 13-year-old application to join the EU picks up speed.
Ukraine was promised more European help to win the war
Denmark joined the U.K. in offering more aid to Ukraine, The Independent writes. At a conference in Copenhagen on August 11, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had faltered and was starting to fail, although fighting and loss of life were still taking place.
According to Wallace, bloody dictator Putin expected that by August 2022, everyone would get bored of the war and the international community would have gone off in different directions.
"Well, today is proof of the opposite. We have come out of this meeting with more pledges of finance, more pledges of training, and more pledges of military aid," he said.
Wallace added that this was all designed to help Ukraine win and ensure that President Putin’s ambitions fail.
The secretary said allies will need to soon start buying weapons from other countries or placing orders in factories to increase ammo supply to Ukraine.
The British program was also supported by Canada, Sweden, Finland, and the Netherlands.
Why is the attack on Saky important for Ukraine?
By having destroyed combat aircraft in Crimea, Ukraine scored a huge propaganda victory, The Guardian writes.
The analysis of the satellite images from the Saky airbase in occupied Crimea suggests that nine Russian fighter jets have been destroyed.
"Although not the first Ukrainian attack in Crimea, it is the most significant, not just because it took place 177 km behind the frontline but because it took place in the sight of thousands of tourists," the outlet argues.
The authors compared the destruction of warplanes at Saky with the sinking of the cruiser Moskva in April.
Justin Bronk, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute defense and security think tank, said that the Russian air force will have less confidence in their force protection capabilities within several hundred kilometers of the frontlines.
Russian forces would have to devote more troops, equipment, and effort to protecting their air bases, or rely on air bases that are significantly further away, with knock-on impacts on efficiency and effectiveness.
The British Ministry of Defense also suggested that the Russian naval aviation capability was significantly degraded by the Ukrainian attack.
Trump‘s home could have been searched for documents relating to nuclear weapons
Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence, The Washington Post writes citing its exclusive sources.
People familiar with the investigation didn’t provide details on whether weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation were involved.
On August 11, Attorney General Merrick Garland refused to discuss the investigation but confirmed that he had personally authorized the decision to seek court permission for a search warrant.
As for Donald Trump, on August 12, he called the nuclear weapons issue a hoax and accused the FBI of planting evidence.
Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said. Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could aid the intelligence of adversaries, while other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat.