A team of UN nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has arrived at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in southeastern Ukraine, despite nearby shelling.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the some members of the agency plan to stay at the plant until Saturday, but will continue to have a permanent presence of some kind at the facility, where constant fighting has sparked fears of a nuclear accident.
Here are the top headlines:
- What the IAEA found: Grossi said his team was able to gather “a lot” of information in a few hours during their visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. "The key things I needed to see, I saw,” he said in a video released by a Russian state news. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that an agreement to allow independent journalists to accompany the IAEA delegation was not upheld.
- Ukraine accuses Russia of disrupting IAEA visit: Ukraine is accusing Russian forces of trying to disrupt the visit of nuclear inspectors to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by shelling the nearby city of Enerhodar. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that Russia is doing everything so that the IAEA mission can safely carry out its work
- Fifth Zaporizhzhia reactor shut down: The fifth reactor at the nuclear power plant was shut down and its emergency protection system activated on Thursday due to shelling, Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said in a statement. The plant, which was disconnected from the country’s power grid last Thursday, has six reactors, only two of which have been functioning.
- Workers in the plant: An employee named Olga still working at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, told CNN she felt like a hostage. Olga said she wasn’t convinced the IAEA mission would get the full picture, but hoped they would see “all the (Russian) soldiers, equipment, helicopters and the damage caused by their shelling.”
- Ukraine's counterattack: The Ukrainian military says it is keeping up the pressure on Russian forces in the southern Kherson region, with attacks on several targets Thursday. Ukrainian forces have focused on degrading Russian supply lines, ammunition depots and rear bases in the south. The military also said the situation in the eastern Donetsk region is virtually unchanged, despite weeks of efforts by Russian forces and their allies.
- Russia facing “severe” troop shortages: The US believes that Russia is facing “severe” shortages of military personnel in Ukraine and is seeking new ways to increase its troop levels. “We believe that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) is seeking to recruit contract service members to make up for these personnel shortages, including by compelling wounded soldiers to reenter combat, acquiring personnel from private security companies, and paying bonuses to conscripts,” a US official told CNN.
- Distancing from Russian gas: Germany will install a fifth floating liquefied natural gas terminal at a port city in the northwest part of the country. It comes as Germany, like many other countries in Europe, look to become independent of Russian gas imports and secure supplies for future winters, the country’s economic ministry said.