Britain may give Ukraine long-range missiles; nuke plant faces 'catastrophic' issue: Live updates

 British officials have asked defense contractors about supplying Ukraine with missiles with a range of almost 200 miles in what would be a step-up in military support for Kyiv.

The call for responses from companies was included in a notice posted by the International Fund for Ukraine, a multinational funding mechanism for providing weapons to the Ukraine military. Britain's Ministry of Defense, which administers the fund, asked companies to reach out if they could provide missiles that can be launched from land, sea or air. The missiles have about the same range as the Army Tactical Missile System, ATACMS, that Washington has refused to provide. 

Politico reports that the Biden administration has no plans to follow Britain’s lead, "with some officials saying the U.S. is now off the hook thanks to the U.K.’s planned delivery." Politico cites multiple administration officials it did not name.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that aside from an uptick in weaponry, the U.S. has few of the missiles to spare.


∙ Visual journalist Arman Soldin was killed by a rocket strike as he reported with Agence France-Presse colleagues from Ukrainian positions in Chasiv Yar, the news agency said. AFP said it was “devastated” by Soldin’s death.

∙ Russia is considering "retaliatory measures" in response to a U.S. refusal to issue visas to Russian journalists for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's trip to New York to attend U.N. Security Council meetings last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Tuesday.

∙ The governor of Russia's Voronezh region bordering Ukraine said two Ukrainian drones attacked a military training ground in his region overnight. The Russian media outlet Baza reported 14 soldiers were injured.

AFP visual journalist Arman Soldin, left, and fixer Oleksiy Obolensky, center, chat with a Ukrainian soldier in Donbass region on April 29, 2022.

Ukraine nuke plant facing 'catastrophic' lack of staff 

Russia plans to relocate more than 3,000 Ukrainian staff from the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia and leave Europe’s largest nuclear plant with a "catastrophic lack of qualified personnel," Ukraine’s atomic energy company warned Wednesday.

Energoatom said that even those Ukrainian workers forced to sign "shameful" contracts are being evacuated, which makes the plant unsafe even though it is not operating.

"The fastest possible de-occupation of the Zaporizhzhya NPP, the expulsion of the (Russians) and the transfer of control over the power plant to its legitimate Ukrainian operator, Energoatom, is the only way to end the Russian mess at the ZNPP and guarantee its future safety," Energoatom said in a statement.

A Russian-appointed deputy prime minister of the region, Andrey Kozenko, said as many as 70,000 civilians will be voluntarily moved out of the region because of risks from artillery shelling. Ukraine’s National Resistance Center says Russian-installed officials are shutting down schools, preparing buses and appointing officials to oversee the evacuation

Ukrainian authorities blame Moscow for the strikes and say Moscow's goal is to move people deeper into Russian-controlled Ukraine and Russia itself.

Kremlin deflects questions on mercenary leader's harsh criticism

Kremlin officials have not yet viewed the scathing video posted on social media Tuesday by Wagner mercenary group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. Prigozhin said his troops have still not been given desperately needed ammunition requested from Russia's defense ministry.  The Wagner boss said he might need to remove his troops because of the shortage − and was told it would be considered treason. But Prigozhin said some Russian troops actually fled positions near Bakhmut, a claim later corroborated by Ukraine's military, which claimed it had advanced in the area.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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