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Russia-Ukraine war: nuclear ‘sabre-rattling’ must stop, UN chief warns; US predicts Moscow to step up strikes – live news


Key events

Russia requests UN meeting to discuss Zaporizhzhia plant

Moscow has requested a UN security council meeting be held later today to discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported, citing deputy ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy.

The nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, has been taken over by Russian troops and has come under repeated shelling in recent weeks, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.

It is unclear whether the meeting will be going ahead.

Monthly payments to British sponsors of Ukrainian refugees should double to help them carry on hosting for longer than six months while the cost of living spirals, the minister responsible has said.

Around 25,000 offers of accommodation from hosts under the Homes for Ukraine scheme have been taken up so far, with an average of three Ukrainians living in each home, PA Media cited Lord Richard Harrington as saying.

Lord Harrington said he has been lobbying the Treasury “very hard” to double the 350-a-month “thank you” payment for sponsors who house refugees for longer than half a year – the minimum period expected of hosts.

He told the PA news agency:

The costs… they’re paying maybe a big chunk of rent themselves, the mortgage payments have gone up and everything, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable, in my view, to increase the amount that we’re paying them.”

More than 115,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK under its visa schemes, according to the latest government figures, including around 81,700 refugees under the sponsorship scheme. Around 4-5,000 people are arriving each week, Lord Harrington added.

Mariupol boiler plant destroyed in strike – reports

Ukrainian sources are reporting Russian forces struck a boiler plant in Ukraine’s southern city of Mariupol.

Adviser to the city’s mayor, Petro Andryushchenko, reported that Russian forces struck the city’s boiler facility in a Telegram post early this morning.

“The Russians made an explosion again. Loud that the whole city could hear.

Just blowing up the boiler room. Instead of preparing the city for winter and building boiler houses, the occupiers destroy even the remains …”

Unconfirmed video footage purportedly showing the moment the facility was struck has circulated online.

‘Nuclear sabre-rattling must stop’ UN chief warns

The UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres, has demanded a halt to “nuclear sabre-rattling”, saying the world is at a “maximum moment of danger” and all countries with nuclear weapons must make a commitment to “no first-use”.

The UN chief described the situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, as critical. Shelling and fighting in the area continues.

In a statement released after ambassadors met at the UN security council on Monday, Guterres stressed:

Nuclear saber-rattling must stop … come to the negotiating table to ease tensions and end the nuclear arms race, once and for all.”

At this moment of “maximum danger for our world”, the secretary-general emphasised that “humanity’s future is in our hands”, insisting that division be replaced with dialogue and diplomacy, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

He argued that negotiation, compromise, and accountability are required for the future, attesting that as it represents the nations of the world, the UN is “humanity’s best hope to build a better, more peaceful tomorrow”.

At this moment of maximum danger for our world, now is the time to recommit to the @UN Charter & the ideals it represents.

There is no greater solution to fulfil the Charter’s promise than to replace division with dialogue & diplomacy.

Humanity’s future is in our hands. pic.twitter.com/LS43yEA6Pg

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 22, 2022

Russia to step up strikes: US intelligence

The US state department has issued a security alert warning that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days.

A security alert issued by the US embassy in Kyiv on Tuesday reads:

The department of state has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days.”

The US intelligence community on Monday declassified a finding that determined that Russia would increasingly target Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence. The official was not authorised to comment publicly about the finding and spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Associated Press reported.

The alert also urged US citizens still in Ukraine to depart the country immediately.

“If you hear a loud explosion or if sirens are activated, immediately seek cover,” the state department said. “If in a home or a building, go to the lowest level of the structure with the fewest exterior walls, windows, and openings; close any doors and sit near an interior wall, away from any windows or openings.”

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.

The UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres, has demanded a halt to “nuclear sabre-rattling”, saying the world is at a “maximum moment of danger” and all countries with nuclear weapons must make a commitment to “no first-use”.

Meanwhile, the US state department has issued a security alert warning that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days.

It is 7am in Ukraine. Here is everything you might have missed:

  • The UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres, has demanded a halt to “nuclear sabre-rattling” on Monday, saying the world is at a “maximum moment of danger” and all countries with nuclear weapons must make a commitment to “no first-use”. The UN chief described the situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, as critical. Shelling and fighting in the area continues.

  • Moscow has requested a UN security council meeting be held on Tuesday to discuss the Zaporizhzhia plant, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported, citing deputy ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy.

  • Ukrainian soldiers who were taken prisoner after the battle for Mariupol have accused Russian forces of torture during their captivity. The soldiers, who were from the Azov regiment and released as part of a prisoner exchange, told reporters they saw soldiers that were beaten until their bones were broken. “Some had needles inserted into their wounds, some were tortured with water,” said Vladyslav Zhaivoronok, who lost a leg. “They undressed us, forced to squat while we are naked. If any of the boys raised their heads, they began to beat them immediately,” added Denys Chepurko.

  • The sole bridge across the strategic Dnieper River in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson was reportedly hit by US-supplied high-precision Himars rockets injuring 15 people, a source told Russia’s Interfax news agency. The bridge is a key crossing for Russian military transport in the region.

  • Three villages in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region were battered by Russian artillery and multiple rocket launchers on Monday. Soledar, Zaytseve and Bilohorivka near the city of Bakhmut were struck, killing at least two civilians, Ukrainian authorities said.

  • Nearly 9,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed in the war with Russia, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, general Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said on Monday. The office of the UN high commissioner for human rights said on Monday 5,587 civilians had been killed and 7,890 wounded between 24 February and 21 August, mainly from artillery, rocket and missile attacks.

  • The German chancellor says he is working fast to find alternatives to Russian gas. Olaf Scholz said he aims to extricate Germany from its dependence on Russian gas and pursue new energy supplies. Scholz met Canada’s prime minster, Justin Trudeau, in Montreal on Monday. The two leaders are set to sign a deal for Canada to supply clean hydrogen to Germany.

  • Ukraine has restored a rail link to neighbouring Moldova which could carry 10m tonnes of freight a year, president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said. The 22km (12 mile) line runs from western Ukraine to Moldova. Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksander Kubrakov, said the link would provide an alternative route from the Black Sea port of Odesa.

  • Ukraine’s agricultural exports are likely to rise to about 4m tonnes in August, from 3m tonnes in July, a deputy chair of the Ukrainian agrarian council said. The uptick is due to a UN-brokered deal that unblocked Ukrainian seaports.

  • Europe faces fresh disruption to energy supplies due to damage to a pipeline system bringing oil from Kazakhstan through Russia that was reported by the pipeline operator on Monday. Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) said exports from two of its three mooring points at a Black Sea terminal had been suspended.

  • A senior Russian diplomat has ruled out a diplomatic solution to ending the war in Ukraine. Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told the Financial Times that there would be no direct talks between Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, adding that Moscow expects a prolonged conflict.

A Ukrainian national flag seen on a burnt-out Russian military vehicle in downtown Kyiv on 22 August.
A Ukrainian national flag seen on a burnt-out Russian military vehicle in downtown Kyiv on 22 August. Photograph: Alexey Furman/Getty Images





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