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Latest Developments in Ukraine: August 30

A Ukrainian serviceman stands in front of a heavily damaged school after a Russian attack in Druzhkivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 30, 2022.
A Ukrainian serviceman stands in front of a heavily damaged school after a Russian attack in Druzhkivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 30, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EDT.

6:00 a.m.: A Reuters reporter traveling in a convoy with the team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, said it was likely the inspectors would overnight in the nearby city of Zaporizhzhia before visiting the plant, which is on territory controlled by Russia, on Thursday.

Russian-installed officials in the area suggested the visit might last only one day, while IAEA and Ukrainian officials suggested it would last longer.

9:17 p.m.: The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO said on Tuesday it supported a bid by Ukraine to put its port city of Odesa on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Reuters reported.

Following a meeting of Ukraine Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay at the agency's Paris headquarters, UNESCO said it had mobilized experts to support Ukraine so that the nomination can be examined urgently by World Heritage Committee member states.

UNESCO said it also wants to add Odesa on the List of World Heritage in Danger, as well as World Heritage sites Kyiv and Lviv, which are also under threat.

Last month, part of the large glass roof and windows of Odesa’s Museum of Fine Arts, inaugurated in 1899, were destroyed.

UNESCO will fund repairs to the museum as well as to the Odesa Museum of Modern Art since the beginning of the war and finance the hiring of additional staff dedicated to the protection of collections. It will also help with the digitization of artworks and will provide protective equipment.

8 p.m.: Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu has called on his 26 European Union counterparts to ban tourist visas to Russians over the war in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Reinsalu and the rest of the bloc's foreign ministers are in the Czech capital for an informal meeting where the visa regime for Russians looking to enter the EU will take center stage.

Some members say the matter of limiting visas to Russians would be counterproductive as the EU tries to fight for the "hearts and minds" of those Russians who don't support Moscow's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

But Estonia's top diplomat said that was the wrong way to look at the situation.

7:10 p.m.: Russia has been having technical problems with the Iranian-made drones it acquired from Tehran this month for use in its war with Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

The information comes from Biden administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the U.S. intelligence assessment. They did not detail the “numerous failures.”

They did say that the U.S. assesses that the delivery of Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series unmanned aerial vehicles over several days this month is likely part of a Russian plan to acquire hundreds of Iranian UAVs.

Russian operators continue to receive training in Iran on how to use these systems, which can conduct air-to-surface attacks, electronic warfare and targeting, on the battlefield in Ukraine, the officials said.

6:21 p.m.:

5:57 p.m.: Russia's defense ministry accused Ukrainian troops of firing two shells that exploded near a spent fuel storage building of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in central southern Ukraine in the last 24 hours, Reuters reported. There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian side.

The Russian ministry said radiation levels were normal.

A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected to visit the nuclear plant this week to assess any damage.

Ukraine on Tuesday accused Russia of deliberately shelling a corridor that IAEA officials would need to use to reach the plant in an effort to get them to travel via Russian-annexed Crimea instead. There was no immediate response from Moscow.

5 p.m.: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the U.N. nuclear inspectors in Kyiv Tuesday ahead of their visit to inspect the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant as intense fighting raged across southern Ukraine, his office said.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi arrived in Kyiv late Monday, Agence France-Presse reported, with a team of 14 inspectors.

"This is probably one of the top-priority questions regarding safety of Ukraine and the world today," Zelenskyy said, calling for the "immediate demilitarization of the plant" and its transfer to "full Ukrainian control."

4:10 p.m.: France accused Moscow on Tuesday of using energy supplies as "a weapon of war" after Russia's Gazprom cut deliveries to a major French customer and said it would shut its main gas pipeline to Germany for three days this week, Reuters reported.

European governments are trying to coordinate a response to soaring energy costs for businesses and households and to fill storage facilities ahead of peak demand in the winter.

Nord Stream 1, the main conduit for Russian gas into Europe, has become a flash point in the dispute. Europe faces a further squeeze on supplies this week as Gazprom shuts off the pipeline for maintenance from Wednesday until the early hours of Saturday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday technological problems caused by Western sanctions on Russia are the only thing standing in the way of supplying gas via Nord Stream 1.

3:20 p.m.:

2:15 pm: VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara says White House confirms reports that Iran gave drones to Russia.

11:08 a.m.: A Ukrainian official has accused Russia of staging new hostilities near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in order to prevent U.N. inspectors from visiting the Russian-occupied site.

9:55 a.m.: Ukraine’s presidential office reported heavy fighting Tuesday across the Kherson region and said Ukrainian forces have destroyed all large bridges across the Dnieper river that are vital to supplying Russian troops, according to The Associated Press.

Observers noted a surge in fighting across Kherson amid speculation that Ukraine was launching a counter-offensive to regain control of the territory from Russian forces.

Russia’s defense ministry said Tuesday its troops had repelled the Ukrainian attack and inflicted significant casualties. AP and other news agencies said they could not independently verify either side’s claims.

9:10 a.m.: A WFP ship carrying Ukrainian grain has docked in the Horn of Africa, reports the head of the U.N. agency.

8:22 a.m.: CNN reports that a team of 14 experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency has arrived in Ukraine’s capital, ahead of their scheduled visit to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine later this week.

The mission, led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, comes amid continued shelling around the plant and growing fears of a potential nuclear accident.

7:17 a.m: Ukraine has exported about 1.5 million tons of food under the U.N. and Turkish-brokered deal to unblock the country’s seaports, according to Reuters.

Ukraine’s food exports dropped sharply after Russia invaded the country in February and blockaded ports on the Black Sea. The cutoff drove up global food prices and contributed to shortages in parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Russia and Ukraine signed the deal July 22 to allow the exports to resume. Since then, more than 60 cargo ships carrying food have departed from Ukrainian ports, says the country’s infrastructure ministry.

Another six ships with 183,000 tons of agricultural products left on Tuesday.

5 a.m. Ukraine’s presidential office reported heavy fighting Tuesday in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, an area occupied by Russian forces where Ukraine says it has launched a counteroffensive to try to retake territory.

In his nightly address Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed Ukrainian forces would take back their territory. He said Ukraine would chase Russia’s forces “to the border.”

“If they want to survive — it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,” he said.

3:10 a.m. The Guardian reports that at least four are dead and four are wounded after Russian shelling in Kharkiv, according to the regional governor.

2:40 a.m.: European Union defense ministers might agree in principle on Tuesday on setting up an EU military training mission for Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.

Several EU countries have been training Ukrainian troops for a while individually, mainly enabling them to operate weapons Western nations are delivering to Ukraine to help its fight against Russia's invasion.

“The situation on the ground continues to be very bad,” foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said as he arrived at a meeting of EU defense ministers in Prague.

“We will continue supporting Ukraine with initiatives such as this training mission which ministers will discuss,” he said, adding: “A general, overall political agreement (on a joint training mission) is what I think we have to get today ... I hope we will have a political green light for this mission.”

It is not clear yet where a broader EU training program could be based and what mandate it might have, and Borrell provided no details.

Later in the day, EU foreign ministers, also meeting in Prague, may agree tightening the issuance of visas for Russians and start debating a wider ban on tourist visas, though EU officials said there was no agreement on that.

“There is war in Europe and not far from here. Russia’s brutal aggression will be the most important topic of our meeting today,” Czech Defense Minister Jana Cernochova said.

2 a.m.: Russian-installed authorities in the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar accused Ukrainian troops on Tuesday of once again shelling the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Reuters reported citing Russia’s TASS news agency.

The city authorities said two shells exploded near a spent fuel storage building at the plant, the agency added.

Ukraine and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of attacking Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, set to be visited this week by a mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

1:55 a.m.: The Ukrainian armed forces heightened the rate of artillery fire across southern Ukraine, and long-range precision strikes continued to disrupt Russian resupply, Britain’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.

Russia has made efforts since the beginning of August to reinforce its troops on the western bank of the Dnipro River around Kherson, the ministry said in its daily intelligence bulletin.

Ukrainian forces were shelling ferries that Russia was using to supply a pocket of territory on the west bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region, Oleksiy Arestovych, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy, said earlier.

12:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy has urged Russian troops to flee from an offensive launched by his forces near the southern city of Kherson saying Ukraine’s military were taking back their territory, though Russia said the assault had failed, Reuters reported.

Ukraine’s assault comes after weeks of a stalemate in a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions, destroyed cities and caused a global energy and food crisis amid unprecedented economic sanctions.

It has also fueled worries of a radiation disaster being triggered by shelling near the south Ukraine Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

Zelenskiyy, in his nightly address late on Monday, vowed that Ukrainian troops would chase the Russian army “to the border.”

“If they want to survive – it's time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,” he said. “Ukraine is taking back its own,” Zelenskiyy said.

12:15 a.m.: Despite the ongoing war against Russia, many Ukrainian schools will reopen on September 1, The Kyiv Independent reported.

“As the start of the school year approaches, Russia continues to wage war in Ukraine and intense battles unfold in the east and south,” the news site reported. “Though a sense of normalcy has returned in cities further away from the front line, like Kyiv and Lviv, indiscriminate Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure have remained a reality across the country.”

Not all Ukrainian children will be returning to class, notes the site.

“Nearly two-thirds of children in Ukraine have had to flee their homes, according to UNICEF...” the report said. “And at least 379 children have been killed by Russia’s war, according to Ukraine’s General Prosecutor.”

Some information in this report came from Reuters.