Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy Condemns 'Stupid' Atomic Plant Move

  • In World
  • 2022-10-07 07:50:21Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's warnings that he may resort to deploying tactical nuclear weapons must be taken seriously. The US is trying to find an "off-ramp" for Putin, Biden said, adding, "Where does he get off? Where does he find a way out?"

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Oil prices are headed for their biggest weekly gain since early March after OPEC+ put the market on track for further tightening of supplies. Russia also reiterated this week that it won't sell oil to countries that adopt a US-backed price cap, adding to supply uncertainty.

Ukraine's president met with the head of the UN atomic agency to discuss the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant situation and later said Russia's bid to take "alleged ownership" was "stupid." Moscow's forces followed up deadly rocket strikes on the city of Zaporizhzhia, about 52 kilometers (32 miles) from the namesake nuclear plant, with attacks from Iranian-made drones.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

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  • Oil Poised for Biggest Weekly Rally Since March on OPEC+ Move

  • Biden Says Putin Threats Real, Could Spark Nuclear 'Armageddon'

  • Two Russians Fleeing Putin's Conscription Seek Alaska Refuge

  • Kremlin Lets State Media Tell Some Truth on Putin's Stalling War

  • European Gas Prices Ease as Bloc Seeks to Blunt Energy Crisis

On the Ground

Moscow's troops are likely establishing defensive positions in the upper Kherson region following the collapse of the Russian line in northeast Kherson, the US-based Institute for the Study of War said. Russian forces continued to conduct routine artillery, air, and missile strikes west of Hulyaipole, and in Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv regions on Thursday. In the past 24 hours, Russia has carried out eight missile and 15 air strikes. The city of Zaporizhzhia was attacked on Thursday night by Iranian-made drones, with infrastructure damaged in two districts, according to regional governor. Russia's use of Iranian drones isn't generating "asymmetric effects" the way the Ukrainian use of US-provided HIMARS systems has done, and is unlikely to affect the course of the war significantly, ISW said. Russia has used many drones against civilian targets in rear areas, likely hoping to generate nonlinear effects through terror, the think tank said.

(All times CET)

Insider Confronted Putin About War, Washington Post Reports (9 a.m.)

One of Putin's inner circle recently confronted him over his handling of the war in Ukraine, the Washington Post reported, citing information obtained by US intelligence.

The development was considered significant enough to be included in President Joe Biden's daily intelligence briefing, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The person's discontent was said to be related to "mistakes being made by those executing the military campaign," Post reported. A spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to comment to the newspaper.

Zelenskiy Vows Zaporizhzhia Atomic Plant to Remain in Ukraine's Hands (8:20 a.m.)

Ukraine's president said attempts by Russia to claim ownership of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are "frankly speaking, stupid," a day after Russia's Vladimir Putin ordered his government to take ownership of the facility. "Only Ukrainian specialists can guarantee that there will be no radiation incidents at the Zaporizhzhia station."

"The international community will only contact Ukraine regarding the ZNPP, because it is Ukrainian property. Was, is and will be," Zelenskiy said in a nightly address to the nation.

Zelenskiy discussed the Zaporizhzhia situation with Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at a meeting Thursday in Kyiv. He said Ukraine is "waiting for a touch statement" from the UN agency on Putin's "raiding" of the plant.

Ukraine May Have Captured 440 Russian Battle Tanks, UK Says (7:30 a.m.)

Ukraine has likely captured at least 440 Russian main battle tanks and some 650 other armored vehicles since February's invasion, the UK defense ministry said.

"Over half of Ukraine's currently fielded tank fleet potentially consists of captured vehicles," the UK said, adding that poor training and discipline had resulted in Russian troops leaving "intact equipment" behind.

North Korea's Kim Lauds Putin's 70th Birthday (6:49 a.m.)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent birthday greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin, praising Moscow and bashing the US.

"Russia is reliably defending the dignity of the state and its fundamental interests from the challenges and threats by the U.S. and its vassal forces," the state's official Korean Central News Agency cited Kim's message to Putin as saying.

North Korea has backed Russia's territorial claims in Ukraine. Meanwhile, US officials said last month it suspects Russia is looking to buy rockets and artillery shells from North Korea to help with its war in Ukraine. Pyongyang has denied selling weapons and blasted the US for spreading "rumors. "

Biden Says US Trying to Find 'Off-Ramp' for Putin (3:55 a.m.)

Biden said the US is trying to find an "off-ramp" for Putin and worries that his threats to use tactical nuclear weapons are real and could lead to "Armageddon."

"We're trying to figure out what is Putin's off-ramp? Where does he get off? Where does he find a way out?" Biden said Thursday at a fundraiser in New York City. "Where does he find himself in a position that he does not, not only lose face but lose significant power in Russia?"

"He is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological and chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly under-performing," Biden added.

Russia Pounces on Zelenskiy's 'Strike' Comment (10:04 p.m.)

Zelenskiy's staff issued a statement clarifying comments he made earlier Thursday after Russian officials seized on them to accuse the Ukrainian president of calling on NATO allies to carry out a nuclear strike against Moscow.

Zelenskiy said that in the days before Russia invaded his country in February, NATO should have deterred the Kremlin from using nuclear weapons by carrying out "preventative strikes." His office said he meant sanctions, which were the only measures on the table at the time.

"Colleagues, you have gone a little too far with your nuclear hysteria and are now hearing nuclear strikes even where there is none," Zelenskiy's staff said in the statement.

Two Russians Seek Refuge in Alaska, Fleeing Conscription (9:46 p.m.)

Two Russians are seeking refuge in the US after fleeing to Alaska to avoid military conscription for the war in Ukraine.

The pair arrived Oct. 4, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. According to a spokesman, they were brought to Anchorage where their claims under US immigration law will be processed.

"This incident makes two things clear: First, the Russian people don't want to fight Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine," Senator Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, said in a statement. "Second, given Alaska's proximity to Russia, our state has a vital role to play in securing America's national security."

Zelenskiy Urges IAEA Chief to Condemn Russian Claim to Nuclear Plant (8:01 p.m.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he urged Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to condemn Russia's move to take formal ownership of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which Russian troops have been occupying since March.

"We have been waiting for a tough IAEA's statement, the society's waiting too," Zelenskiy said after meeting with Grossi in Kyiv. The president also wants to resume the plant's operation, which would allow the government to ensure the electricity supply to Ukrainian and European customers.

Grossi will also visit Russia as the IAEA pushes for a safety zone around the nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.

Ukraine Picks Successor to Central Bank Chief Accused of Graft (7:55 p.m.)

Ukraine tapped a former bank chief to replace central bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko, who said anti-graft authorities had accused him in an embezzlement case. Zelenskiy nominated Andriy Pyshnyi, formerly the chief executive of government-controlled lender Oschadbank and a politician, to take over from Shevchenko.

Earlier, the anti-corruption bureau said it sent a notice of suspicion in an embezzlement case to an unnamed senior official involved in an alleged scheme to siphon 206 million hryvnia ($5.6 million) from a state-run lender. Shevchenko, who resigned Tuesday citing health reasons, denied wrongdoing, calling the investigation politically motivated.

Shevchenko wrote on Facebook that he decided to cite "my deteriorating health" as the sole reason for his resignation because "I was fully aware of my responsibility for Ukraine's financial stability and reputation." But he added, "I decided not to talk about the almost two years of political pressure, which had intensified on the eve of my resignation, and seriously aggravated my health problems."

Kremlin Lets State Media Tell Some Truth (6:20 p.m.)

With its troops losing ground almost daily, the Kremlin has told some of its state media to start admitting some of the failings of President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, worried that its relentlessly upbeat propaganda was fueling growing public doubts.

"We have to stop lying," Andrey Kartapolov, a former general who now heads the Defense Committee in the lower house of parliament, said on a popular online talk show this week. "Our people aren't stupid."

Ex-Banker Pyshnyi Top Candidate for Ukraine Central Bank (2:30 p.m.)

The nomination of Andriy Pyshnyi, formerly the chief executive officer of government-controlled lender Oschadbank and a politician, is to be submitted to parliament on Friday. He is the top candidate to take over Ukraine's central bank after Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko unexpectedly resigned this week.

Ex-Banker Pyshnyi Top Candidate for Ukrainian Central Bank Chief

US Giving Ukraine $55 Million for Winter (1:45 p.m.)

The new funding will be administered via the USAID Energy Security project , its administrator, Samantha Power, said in Kyiv, according to the agency's website. The aid package will help support the reparation and maintenance of pipes and other equipment to deliver heating nationwide.

Seven million Ukrainians will benefit from the assistance for homes, hospitals, schools and businesses. Power generators, alternative fuel and shelters will also be provided, including for the socially vulnerable and for internally displaced people.

Sweden Says Detonations Damaged Nord Stream Pipelines (12:45 p.m.)

The Swedish Security Service stated that the detonations caused the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline system in the country's exclusive economic zone.

The completed investigation has "strengthened the suspicions of serious sabotage," the Security Service said in a statement.

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