Ukraine news LIVE: Putin will use 'nuclear blackmail' to force Ukrainian soldiers to surrender as despot 'losing war' | The Sun

VLADIMIR Putin may be trying to use the Zapporzhzhia nuclear plant crisis as leverage to force Ukraine's surrender, an expert says.

The Zaporizhzhia power plant has been in the hands of Putin‘s forces since the early stages of the Ukraine war, with the world staring down the barrel of another radiation nightmare.

But nuclear energy expert and former employee at the country's state nuclear regulator Olga Kosharna, told Putin may use the tense situation at Zapporzhzhia nuclear power plant to force Ukraine's surrender.

Ms Kosharna said: "Basically, what is happening is an attempt to force Ukraine into negotiations or surrender, because they're clearly losing the war.

"With the airfields bombed successfully over the course of several weeks, and just recently, huge damage has been taken…with dozens of units destroyed.

"They are hysterical because they can't lose. And so what they're trying to do is use this nuclear asset to force Ukraine to surrender or negotiate. The whole situation the Russians have arranged is nuclear blackmail.

"[A] nuclear threat to force the Western partners to [pressure] Ukraine to start negotiations. The main objective is to freeze the situation as it is to claim the status quo."

It comes as Putin’s troops have told workers at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant to “take holiday” – sparking fears of a nuke disaster.

And taking to Twitter, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that a further 300 Russian personnel had been killed taking the total to 45,200.

Read our Ukraine-Russia blog below for the latest updates…

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Russia to attack Independence Day

    Ukraine will celebrate Independence Day this week.

    Exactly six months ago, Russia invaded Ukraine leading the Ukrainian leader to warn his people.

    President Zelensky has warned the people of his country to be vigilant as he expects attacks to increase.

    He said: "All of Ukraine’s partners have been informed about what the terrorist state [Russia] can prepare for this week.

    "If this despicable court takes place, if our people are brought into these settings in violation of all agreements, all international rules, there will be abuse.

    "This will be the line beyond which no negotiations are possible. There will be no more conversations. Our state has said everything."

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Russia Ukraine war set to push energy bills higher

    With no end to the war in sight, it seems energy bills will continue to rise.

    The boss of Octopus Energy has made clear that UK households cannot continue to carry the cost of the war.

    Greg Jackson, boss of Octopus Energy, talked about the blow many UK households are set to experience in the Autumn as average energy bills are expected to reach an eye-watering £3,582 in October and £4,266 in January.

    He said: "You can't expect the energy customers, or indeed the retailers to carry the cost of a war."

    And when asked what the solution could be, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the government "could double the existing support package".

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Russia accuses Ukraine of assassination

    The daughter of one of Putin's top supporters was killed.

    According to the BBC, Russia accused Ukraine of organising the death of Darya Dugina.

    Russian's internal security service, FSB, claimed a Ukrainian citizen who arrived in Russia in July was behind the attack, but say he has since fled to Estonia.

    Dugina was killed in a car bomb on a road just outside of Moscow.

    Ukraine has denied involvement.

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Anxiety grows for Estonian Russians (2/2)

    Estonia was a Soviet republic from 1944 until 1991, when the Soviet Union fell.

    With 90,000 of Estonian's holding Russian citizenship, it's surprising the country's leader, Kaja Kallas, has such a hard line against Russia.

    Kallas has spoken openly and passionate about the country reinforcing the sanctions put in place by the West and refuse any visas.

    A 39-year mother of a three-year-old and five year-old who lives in a ground-floor flat across the road of the Lasnamäe church talked of her fear saying: "I better be careful what I say because they will deport me.

    "It was fine before the war. I worked for two Estonian companies and it was good but now we are seen as dangerous. What are they going to do to us next? I am not in favour of the EU sanctions.

    "They are not hurting Russia but hurting us here. I am a personal trainer and I can’t afford to drive to work. I only take the car with the children. I can’t afford to fill it up.

    "The government should be looking after its own people not the Ukrainians who threaten us, who protest with blood over themselves outside the Russian embassy.

    I am always looking over my shoulder."

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Anxiety grows for Estonian Russians (1/2)

    Father Grigory Borisov prays for the war in Ukraine.

    Praying out of Lasnamäe Church, a Russian Orthodox church in Tallinn, Estonia's capital, the majority of the congregation are Russian-speaking Estonians.

    Borisov, 32, went to theological college in St Petersburg and is living life on the edge, as he explains he's not allowed to talk about politics and/or war.

    The priest admits many in his community are struggling with anxiety: "The mental health situation is bad – Covid, war, the economic situation, the gas prices. These things make people sad and worried."

    Explaining that he treats all members of his congregation the same, regardless of if they are Estonian, Russian or Ukrainian, he quotes a Bible passage: "There is neither Greek [n]or Jew, All [are] one in Christ Jesus.”

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Russian flag: 'Red stripe is a sign of blood and violence'

    Putin celebrates Flag Day.

    The Russian president has hailed the Russian flag and said it's in line with the country's views: "Military Glory and Traditional Values."

    The Russian flag was created in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union, and Flag Day has been celebrated on the 22 August every year since 1994.

    Putin addressed the country saying: "Russia is a strong, independent world power. On the international stage, we are committed to pursuing only those policies that meet the vital interests of our Fatherland."

    Others have rejected the red-white-blue flag though, and opted instead for a blue-white-blue flag stating: "the red stripe is a sign of blood and violence."

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Mixed feelings in Russia about joining army

    Russia is determined to win the war but keep losing men to it.

    The recruitment is an act of desperation as, though Russia refuses to give numbers, Western officials suggest the death and wounded toll for Russian troops is between 70,000 and 80,000.

    The authorities are reportedly offering large sums of money to volunteers who sign up, and even going as far as attempting to hire people in prison.

    And some are enticed enough to join.

    Will Vernon met with Nina Chubarina, whose son Yevgeny left their village in the northern region of Karelia to join a volunteer battalion. She explained her son, who had no military experience, was given a gun and sent straight into Ukraine.

    He was killed just days later at 24 years old.

    She elaborated: "I tried to talk him out of it. I cried. I said, 'There's a war, you'll be killed!' He said, "Mum, everything will be fine."

    "They just send them in like dumb little chickens! They'd hardly even held a gun before. They're cannon fodder.

    "The generals think, 'We've got a volunteer: great, in you go!'"

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Russia desperate for more to join army

    Posts along most main road in Russia have loudspeakers attached.

    The loudspeakers are typically used to play patriotic music during national holidays, but now it's being used for a plea.

    According to Will Vernon, writing for BBC, the speakers are blaring: "Two volunteer artillery battalions are being formed. We invite men from 18 to 60 years old to join."

    The message is reportedly being shown on all forms of media in the country in a bid to counteract the losses in the fight against Ukraine.

    Asking one man in the street if he supports the recruitment, Vernon shared his answer: "Yes! If I were young I'd go, but I'm too old now. We should bomb them!"

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Russia: 'There will be no peace'

    A peace deal has been ruled out by Russia.

    A senior Russian diplomat has warned the conflict in Ukraine will likely go on for a while longer and sees no diplomatic solution.

    Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told the Financial Times that the UN should be more active in attempting to end the conflict.

    He said: "Now, I do not see any possibility for diplomatic contacts, and the more the conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be to have a diplomatic solution.

    "We do not have any contacts with the western delegations. On the protocol side we do not see each other. "

    Privately we do not have any contacts, unfortunately . . . we simply do not talk to each other."

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Good morning. I'm Ije Teunissen-Oligboh with the latest news on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Zelenskyy: Ukraine will react against every Russian attack

    Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that he will react to every Russian attack against his nation.

    Al-Jazeera reports that during a video address to Ukraine, Zelenskyy said: “We will not leave any of these [Russian] strikes unanswered. We will establish the identity of every occupier who gives orders and executes these strikes at cities. And we will bring them all to justice in one way or another. No murderer will hide.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Nuclear plant fears

    Vladimir Putin's troops have told workers at Europe's biggest nuclear plant to "take holiday" – sparking fears of a nuke disaster.

    The Zaporizhzhia  plant has been in the hands of Putin's forces since the early stages of the Ukraine war, with the world staring down the barrel of another radiation nightmare.

    Ukraine's Ministry of Defence has said staff have been told to take days off amid fears Putin may unleash a false flag attack.

    They said: "Representatives of the occupational service of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant continued "short-term holidays" for the Ukrainian personnel."

    It comes after Russia is believed to have moved military equipment into the station, according to Canadian intelligence.

    Authorities in Ukraine are preparing for a Chernobyl-like disaster at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia site as the station lies on a knife-edge.

  • Louis Allwood

    Boris Johnson to urge the world stand firm against Mad Vlad Putin 

    Boris Johnson will “put an NLAW” under the international community urging them to stand firm with Ukraine in a week-long foreign policy blitz.

    The PM will get back to work by taking aim at Mad Vlad Putin with a string of interventions.

    With just two weeks left in No10, Boris wants to cement his legacy as Ukraine’s closest friend.

    He is expected to hold calls with his close pal President Volodymyr Zelensky this week.

    While No10 and the Foreign Office are expected to mark Ukraine Independence Day – the  celebration of the nation's freedom from the Soviet Union – this Wednesday.

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – the overwhelming favourite to replace Boris as PM – is also expected to stamp her mark on the special relationship with an article in a Ukrainian newspaper.

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin’s mystic neo-nazi ‘Rasputin’

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine may have been inspired by the writings of a deranged Neo-Nazi mystic known as "Putin's Rasputin" or "Putin's Brain" who survived a reported assassination attempt.

    Sporting a massive bedraggled beard like his namesake, Russian thinker Aleksandr Dugin long called for an invasion of Ukraine and chillingly believes that Moscow has the right to rule over all of Europe and Asia.

    Dugin last night narrowly dodged a car bomb blast that killed his daughter.

    Dugin and his daughter were guests of honour at the Tradition family festival at the Zakharovo estate and had planned to leave together, according to violinist and pal Peter Lundstrem.

    But Dugin hopped into another vehicle and unknowingly dodged the attempted assassination.

    Minutes later the far-right racist philosopher was pictured holding his head in horror as he stood amid the aftermath of the explosion.

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukraine insist they are not responsible for bombing that killed Alexander Dugin's daughter

    Ukraine officials have insisted they are not responsible for the bombing.

    Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President's Office, said: "Ukraine, of course, has nothing to do with Saturday's bombing, because we are not a criminal state, and even more so not a terrorist state."

    Dugin and his daughter were guests of honour at the Tradition family festival at the Zakharovo estate and had planned to leave together, according to violinist and pal Peter Lundstrem.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russian missiles hit Ukraine's Odesa region

    Artillery shells rained down on a city close to Europe's biggest nuclear plant overnight and Russian missiles hit targets near Odesa, a Ukrainian Black Sea port and a grain export hub.

    Five Russian Kalibr cruise missiles were fired from the Black Sea at the region overnight, the regional administration spokesperson said, citing information from the southern military command.

    Two were shot down by Ukrainian air defences while three hit agricultural targets, but there were no casualties.

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin’s ‘war mastermind’ Alexander Dugin in hospital after dodging bomb that killed daughter

    Vladimir Putin's "spiritual guide" is in hospital after narrowly dodging a car bomb attack that killed in daughter.

    It comes as the tyrant's cronies demand he nuke the West over the reported assassination attempt on Saturday evening.

    Alexander Dugin –  said to be an architect of the Ukraine war – dodged the blast after switching cars at the last moment.

    His daughter, propagandist Darya Dugina, died but evidence suggests Neo-Nazi mystic Dugin was the intended victim.

    He is now in hospital, Putin's former adviser Sergei Markov has said.

    Markov posted: "Poor Alexander Dugin. He is in the hospital now. Our huge condolences."

  • Louis Allwood

    Brit troops must prepare to be sent to fight Russia, says top soldier

    A top soldier has warned British troops to prepare for the possibility of being sent to fight Russia.

    Warrant Officer Paul Carney told them to brace their loved ones for “new realities”.

    The Army’s most senior sergeant major said our military is “shaping itself to meet the threat from Russia’’ and “ready to counter any aggression”.

    Warrant Officer Carney wrote in his monthly column in Soldier magazine: “It is important we prepare our loved ones and families who often have the hardest role in our absence.

    “My ask is that you have discussions about a potential deployment with them now. Find contact numbers for support networks and relevant people who can help such as the unit welfare officer and padre.

    “The world has changed and we must be prepared for new realities.” His warning marked six months since the invasion of Ukraine by tyrant Vladimir Putin’s cruel troops.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia faces huge losses

    According to data from Ukraine's military, Putin has suffered huge losses since launching his calamitous invasion on February 24 – with more than 44,000 Russian troops killed and at least 1,800 tanks destroyed.

    This week the UK's Ministry of Defence pointed at Russia's "poor performance" in a stinging update.

    British officials said: "It is highly likely that many Russian tank crews lack the training to maintain Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA), leading to either poor fitting of the explosive elements, or it being left off entirely.

    "The war has seen numerous failures by Russian commanders to enforce low-level battle discipline – such as the use of ERA.

    "The cumulative effect of these failures is likely a significant factor behind the poor performance of Russia's forces."

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelenskyy: Ukraine will react against every Russian attack

    Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that he will react to every Russian attack against his nation.

    Al-Jazeera reports that during a video address to Ukraine, Zelenskyy said: “We will not leave any of these [Russian] strikes unanswered. We will establish the identity of every occupier who gives orders and executes these strikes at cities. And we will bring them all to justice in one way or another. No murderer will hide.”

  • Louis Allwood

    US to purchase about 150,000 metric tonnes of grain from Ukraine soon

    Washington is planning to purchase roughly 150,000 metric tonnes of grain from Ukraine in the next few weeks, the World Food Programme chief has told the Associated Press.

    Talks will proceed until the ultimate destinations for the grain are confirmed, WFP’s chief David Beasley said.

  • Louis Allwood

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz praises Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has complimented Alexei Navalny during the second anniversary of the imprisoned Russian opposition politician’s poisoning.

    “The war that Russia started against Ukraine is a war that also has consequences for Russia,” Scholz stated in an audio on Saturday, reports The Guardian.

    “Freedom and democracy were already endangered before. But now, freedom of expression is much more endangered and many fear to say their own opinion.”

    He claims Navalny was fighting for the principle that “one lives in a democracy and state governed by the rule of law”.

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin: Russia to allow inspectors at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

    Vladimir Putin has confirmed UN officials will be allowed permission to visit and inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex.

    The Kremlin declared the news after a call between Mr Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, BBC News reports.

    The Kremlin confirmed Mr Putin had agreed to provide UN investigators with “the necessary assistance” to enter the Zaporizhzhia nuclear site.

    The plant has been under Russian control since early March but Ukrainian technicians still manage it under Russian direction.

  • Louis Allwood

    Britain claims Russia has ‘no moral right’ to sit at G20

    The Foreign Office has lambasted Russia after it emerged that Vladimir Putin will attend the G20 summit in November, reports Sky News.

    “Russia has no moral right to sit at the G20 while its aggression in Ukraine persists,” a spokesperson said. 

    “We welcome Indonesia’s efforts to ensure that the impacts of Russia’s war are considered in G20 meetings, as well as indications that Ukraine may be represented by President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy at the G20 Leaders Summit.”

    Indonesia is set to host the summit and has confirmed that both Mr Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will attend.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia trying to bypass Western sanctions via Turkey, US claim

    US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Turkey’s Deputy Finance Minister Yunus Elitas that Russian entities and individuals were attempting to use Turkey to bypass Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s war in Ukraine, the Treasury Department said.

    In a phone call, the two also discussed ongoing efforts to implement and enforce sanctions against Russia, the department said in a statement.

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