The Ukraine update in the morning: “Technically incomprehensible” – Russia turns off the gas tap again

IAEA boss Grossi hopes for talks with the Ukrainian power plant employees. Before leaving, he emphasized that the group had received all the necessary guarantees for the long journey to the war zone, a good 450 kilometers from Kyiv. “We are going to the occupied territory and this requires explicit guarantees not only from the Russian side, but also from Ukraine,” he underlined. The convoy of ten white SUVs with UN markings started moving early Wednesday morning. This is the only way to rule out risks to nuclear safety, he said. But the task of the mission is narrower. She is tasked with assessing the safety of the plant, assessing possible damage, investigating the working conditions of the Ukrainian power plant crew and checking that all nuclear material is in place.

The Russian occupation administration in the partially conquered Zaporizhia region restricted the prospects of a thorough exploration of the nuclear power plant from the outset. The experts should “see how the plant works in one day,” said the head of administration Yevgeny Balitsky in Melitopol. “The elements they name will be seen in the course.” Balizki said the group’s transition from Ukrainian territory to Russian-controlled territory should take place at Vasylivka, south of the regional capital Zaporizhia. The experts would have to leave before nightfall. During the visit, they want to demonstrate the weapons with which Ukraine fired at the nuclear power plant. Kyiv has accused Russian troops of firing themselves in order to blame possible damage on Ukraine. There was no precise information about the travel route and the arrival of the experts at the nuclear power plant. The Russian agency Tass called Wednesday without citing sources.

As announced, the gas supply via the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 was stopped early Wednesday morning. According to the Nord Stream AG website, no significant amount flowed in the hour from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. The amount had already dropped in the hour before. The state-owned company Gazprom had announced that deliveries via the last most important route to Germany for Russian gas would be temporarily suspended due to maintenance work. Deliveries are expected to resume early Saturday morning. The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, said the maintenance work was technically incomprehensible. Most recently, only about 20 percent of the maximum possible amount came through the pipeline. According to Gazprom, there are also technical reasons for this, which the German government, among others, doubts.

A first freighter with grain from Ukraine reached the East African country of Djibouti. It is the first ship from the UN World Food Program with this goal since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, wrote WFP Managing Director David Beasley on Twitter. The cargo is destined for Ethiopia, where more than 20 million people are suffering from hunger, according to the WFP. The ship has loaded 23,000 tons of wheat. At the end of July, the UN and Turkey mediated agreements that Ukraine could again export grain through its Black Sea ports despite the Russian blockade.

Russian airlines are allowed to use limited airspace over southern Russia, which has been closed since the beginning of the war. The state airline announced on Tuesday in Moscow that flights to Sochi on the Black Sea and to Turkey would be 20 to 30 minutes shorter. For the shortcut flights, a ten-kilometer-wide corridor will be set up through the otherwise closed airspace, the agency Tass reported. In each direction, up to 15 civilian airplanes are allowed to pass by per hour. When Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, it closed most of its airspace to the neighboring country for civilian flights.

That will be important on Wednesday

At their informal meeting in Prague, the EU foreign ministers discuss the effects of the war on the security of the European Union. Another sanction against Russia could be that entry options for Russian citizens would be restricted. After the federal government rejected such measures for a long time, it is now in favor of suspending the European visa agreement with Moscow for easier entry.