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PoliticsUkraine

Kyiv offers nuclear energy to Germany

September 3, 2022

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said a proposal to export electricity to Germany amid the ongoing energy crisis would be "a very good deal for both sides." DW rounds up the latest.

https://p.dw.com/p/4GNar
A view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant at night
Concerns still remain over the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which has been captured by Russian troopsImage: Dmytro Smolyenko/NurPhoto/IMAGO

Ukraine has said it plans to provide its surplus energy to Germany, in a bid to help Europe's largest economy end its dependence on Russian energy.

"Currently, Ukraine exports its electricity to Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. But we are quite ready to expand our exports to Germany," Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the dpa news agency on Saturday.

"We have a sufficient amount of electricity in Ukraine, thanks to our nuclear power plants," he said. The issue will be discussed during Shmyhal's visit to Berlin over the weekend, where he will be meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 

Electricity consumption in Ukraine has fallen since the start of the Russian invasion, due to the mass exodus of refugees and an economic slump.

Shmyhal said such a deal "would be very good for both sides."

"The EU would get more energy and we would get the foreign currency we urgently need," the prime minister said.

Ukraine operates four nuclear power plants with a total capacity of more than 14 gigawatts.

However, observers fear Russia's capture of the Zaporizhzhia facility — the largest nuclear power plant in Europe — could lead to a serious accident if the war intensifies.

Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel discussed the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi.

"The EU fully supports IAEA's work and efforts. Their courage and professionalism in accomplishing the first mission to ZNPP is impressive," Michel wrote on Twitter.

He also added that "ensuring nuclear safety and security is key" and "continued IAEA presence at the plant is necessary."

A map of Ukraine showing the location of its nuclear plants

Here's a look at some of the other major news stories from Russia's war in Ukraine, on September 3.

IAEA says Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant again cut from main power line

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had been disconnected from its last remaining main power line to the grid and is now relying on a reserve line.

"Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has once again lost the connection to its last remaining main external power line, but the facility is continuing to supply electricity to the grid through a reserve line, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed at the site today," the agency said in a statement.

The Zaporizhzhia plant has been occupied by Russian troops since March. It has remained on the frontlines ever since, and, in recent weeks, Moscow and Kyiv have traded blame over shelling around the complex in southern Ukraine.

Oleksii Makeiev to be new Ukrainian ambassador to Germany

Ukraine officially announced Oleksii Makeiev as its new ambassador to Germany, succeeding Andriy Melnyk in the role. Makeiev worked as political director in the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv for many years.

The Ukrainian government sought an agrément — the agreement of Germany to receive a diplomatic mission — for Makeiev, a German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.  German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has already given his approval.

Melnyk was recalled from his post in mid-July by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and is due to leave Germany on October 14 to take up a post in the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

Melnyk often criticized the German government for its stance on Russia, even before Moscow's invasion began. Since then, he has repeatedly demanded more weapons from Germany to help Ukraine fight off the attacks.

Germany's gas situation tense and could worsen, regulator warns

Gas is flowing in Germany, but the country's regulator has warned the situation is "tense and further deterioration cannot be ruled out."

Russia has scrapped a Saturday deadline to resume flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, saying it had found an oil leak in a turbine during maintenance near St. Petersburg.

"The defects alleged by the Russian side are not a technical reason for the halt of operations," the German regulator said.

Turkey can be facilitator on Ukraine nuclear plant, Erdogan tells Putin

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Turkey could mediate in a standoff over Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

"President Erdogan stated that Turkey can play a facilitator role in the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as they did in the grain deal," the Turkish presidency said after a phone call between the two leaders.

The grain agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey in July allowed ships carrying Ukrainian food products to leave the country's Black Sea ports for the first time since the war began in late February.

Last month, Erdogan warned of the danger of a nuclear disaster when he visited Lviv for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"We are worried. We do not want another Chernobyl,"  the Turkish leader said.

Erdogan and Putin are scheduled to meet face-to-face in Uzbekistan on September 15.

EU expects Russia to respect energy contracts

EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Saturday that he expects Russia will still meet its contractual obligations to supply gas, despite the Nord Stream pipeline being taken offline on Friday. But he is also prepared for the opposite scenario.

"We expect Russia to respect the contracts that they have," he said. "But even if weaponization of energy continues or increases, the EU is ready to react."

His comments came hours after Gazprom announced on social media that it intended to export gas to Europe via pipelines in Ukraine.

Ukraine offensive putting Russia under pressure

A broad Ukrainian offensive in Kherson province is putting pressure on Russian troops, according to the latest intelligence update from the British Defense Ministry on Saturday.

The ministry said the advance of Ukrainian troops into Russian-occupied areas west of the Dnieper River "likely achieved a degree of tactical surprise." It said the Ukrainian maneuver likely exploited "poor logistics, administration and leadership in the Russian armed forces."

The development could impact the war in other regions.

"With fighting also continuing in the Donbas and Kharkiv sectors, a key decision for Russian commanders in coming days will be where to commit any operational reserve force they can generate," the ministry said.

Russia 'alarmed' at not receiving US visas for UN meetings

Russia's UN ambassador has said it is "alarming" that none of the 56-member advance team and delegation headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has received a US entry visa, less than three weeks prior to the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. 

"This is even more alarming since for the last several months the authorities of the United States have been constantly refusing to grant entry visas to a number of Russian delegates assigned to take part in the official United Nations events," Vassily Nebenzia said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.  

He emphasized that the US, as host country of the UN, is legally required to issue the visas. The UN meetings start on September 19. 

IAEA's Rafael Grossi: 'The physical integrity of the plant has been violated'

Ukraine bombs Russian base near occupied nuclear plant

Ukraine said it had bombed a Russian base in the town of Energodar, near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on Friday.

"Targeted strikes by our troops in the localities of Energodar and Kherson have destroyed three artillery systems of the enemy as well as an ammunition depot," the Ukrainian army said.

The nuclear facility, which is Europe's largest, is being assessed by United Nations inspectors over safety concerns. A team from the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is currently visiting Zaporizhzhia. 

More on the conflict in Ukraine

Russian energy giant Gazprom has said gas supplies to Western Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline have completely stopped due to equipment issues. Berlin has accused Moscow of weaponizing energy supplies.

Just how important is the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant for Ukraine? It's Europe's largest nuclear power plant, but can the electricity grid function without it? DW's Ukrainian department explains the situation.

dh, zc, tg,/sri  (dpa, AFP, AP)