Brussels Playbook: Nuclear fears — Russian visa row — Boogie nights – POLITICO


CHILLING WARNING: There are renewed fears in regards to the state of affairs on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, as Ukrainian officers warned Russia may stage a “provocation” on the facility at the moment. Ukraine’s Center for Information stated workers had been given an “unexpected day off” and representatives of Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear operator, have left the power.

Grave concern: The warning follows claims by Russia that Ukraine was planning a “terrorist attack” on the power, prompting fears Moscow may stage a false flag operation. It got here as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres stated he was gravely involved in regards to the state of affairs on the plant, as he met with presidents Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey in Lviv on Thursday. Guterres once more known as for a demilitarized zone to be established round Zaporizhzhia, the most important nuclear energy plant in Europe.

Specter of Chernobyl: “We are anxious,” Erdoğan stated. “We don’t want another Chernobyl.” Zelenskyy warned: “The world is on a verge of nuclear disaster.”

New footage: Russian forces seized Zaporizhzhia in March, although it’s nonetheless principally being run by Ukrainian employees, and the plant has been the topic of day by day shelling. Kyiv has accused Russia of utilizing Zaporizhzhia as a protecting protect to launch assaults on Ukraine. Worrying new footage emerged in a single day, which the New York Times experiences exhibits 5 army vehicles contained in the engine room of the plant.

US concern: Senior State Department officers stated the U.S. stays “deeply concerned” in regards to the plant. “Brutality has been a hallmark of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The United States is aware of reports that Russian personnel have abused and coerced members of the ZNPP,” State Department spokesman Ned Price stated in a single day.

No breakthrough: Despite Thursday’s talks in Lviv, there was no breakthrough on efforts to grant nuclear inspectors entry to Zaporizhzhia. While Ukraine says it helps a delegation, Zelenskyy indicated Russian forces would first have to withdraw from the plant. Similarly, any tentative discuss of a peace deal as we strategy the six-month anniversary of the warfare appears as far-off as ever. “First they should leave our territory and then we’ll see,” stated Zelenskyy of the Russian aggressors.

Kremlin watching: Meanwhile, Estonia was the topic of a large cyberattack on Wednesday, following its determination to take away Soviet-era monuments from public areas. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has described the monuments as “symbols of repressions and Soviet occupation.” POLITICO’s Antoaneta Roussi has the small print.


VISA BAN DEBATE HEATS UP: Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has an opinion piece this morning on POLITICO calling for extra strong measures to cease Russian vacationers visiting the EU.

Background: Lithuania is one among a number of EU international locations which have blocked Russians from getting vacationer visas — however others, together with Germany, are against a bloc-wide ban, arguing that extraordinary residents shouldn’t be punished for President Vladimir Putin’s determination to go to warfare. Nonetheless, Finland this week introduced it could cut back Russian vacationer visas by 90 % from September, accepting solely round 100 purposes a day. Denmark has additionally stated it’ll introduce vacationer visa restrictions if there’s no EU-wide response.

Travel loophole: Landsbergis’ beef is that Russian vacationers are getting into Lithuania with visas issued by different EU international locations. “Since air journey from Russia to Europe is now very restricted, the Baltics have grow to be a serious staging submit for these touring to Europe from Russia and Belarus — an all too accessible attraction for many who want to take pleasure in a little bit of the European life-style, whereas additionally supporting President Vladimir Putin’s warfare,” he writes.

Rolling out the purple carpet: But in a style of the battle to come back when the difficulty is mentioned on the August 31 casual assembly of international ministers, Landsbergis accuses EU international locations that proceed to situation vacationer visas to Russians of “not only ignoring all the atrocities committed against Ukrainians” however “effectively ‘inviting’ Russian tourists to the Baltics.”

Specifics: Among essentially the most controversial measures Lithuania and the opposite Baltic states are advocating is that long-term a number of entry visas already issued to Russians ought to be revoked — one thing lots of their colleagues are more likely to oppose.

Opposing view: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz dug in on his place this week. “This is not the war of the Russian people, but it is Putin’s war,” Scholz stated throughout a press convention Monday in Oslo, including that “there are a lot of people fleeing from Russia, because they are disagreeing with the Russian regime.”

BAVARIA’S NIMBY-IN-CHIEF: Meanwhile, the vitality disaster is in full swing in Europe because of Russia’s warfare, with the upcoming winter wanting dire. And after spending years preventing in opposition to wind vitality initiatives and high-voltage energy strains in his state, Bavarian Premier Markus Söder desires to make the north pay for the south’s shortcomings, experiences POLITICO’s Zia Weise.

MORE MONEY FROM US: U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is readying $800 million of further army assist for Ukraine and will announce it as quickly as at the moment, Reuters experiences.

INFO WAR: Jeremy Fleming, the pinnacle of Britain’s intelligence service GCHQ, tells the Economist that Putin is shedding the knowledge warfare in Ukraine.

PUTIN AND XI TO ATTEND G20: Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are each planning to attend the G20 summit in Bali later this yr, Indonesian President Joko Widodo informed Bloomberg.


MARIN’S MOVES: As we reported in Thursday’s Playbook, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has brought on fairly a stir after movies emerged of her partying like a rockstar (oops, prime minister) at a non-public occasion.

Work exhausting, play exhausting: The leaked footage brought on a storm in Finland — and, predictably, divided opinion. In a press convention Thursday morning, the 36-year-old Marin denied she had used medication or had been ingesting closely, and stated she had “nothing to conceal or hide.” She added: “I’ve danced, sung, celebrated, accomplished authorized issues.”

Who leaked? Marin did specific remorse for one factor — that somebody shared the footage on-line. (The different boppers who may be seen letting their hair down embody an MP, a well known media character and varied Finnish celebs.) POLITICO’s Camille Gijs has the small print.

DANCING WITH THE STARS: Marin’s shenanigans have as soon as once more kicked off severe reflection on one of the vital urgent political problems with our time: Should politicians ever boogie in public? With strikes like Marin, we reckon the reply is a whole-hearted sure. But over time, different leaders have showcased extra doubtful dancing potential. POLITICO’s jury has ranked political leaders’ dance strikes, from the very best to essentially the most awkward. Playbook’s private favourite? Those Boris Yeltsin Gangnam-style strikes. Make up your individual thoughts right here.

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BALKANS UPDATE: There was no settlement at Thursday’s assembly between Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Brussels. Despite rising pessimism across the state of affairs, the EU’s international coverage chief Josep Borrell insisted it was “not the end of the story” as Brussels seeks to defuse tensions within the area.

Back to Belgrade: An aide to Vučić stated the president would ship a speech when he returns to Belgrade at the moment, with talks between the Vučić authorities and the Serbian minority in Kosovo anticipated this weekend.

GETTING USED TO THE BIG DRY: European farmers are reckoning with the prospect of a future the place parched pastures and shriveled fruits are not thought of extremes however the norm, experiences our colleague Gabriela Galindo in an fascinating learn on how farming is altering as summers grow to be more and more scorching and dry and winters milder.

WHAT WASHINGTON THINKS OF LIZ TRUSS: POLITICO’s Ryan Heath and Ella Creamer take the temperature in D.C. on the front-runner within the race to succeed Boris Johnson as British PM. Ryan and Ella report that conservatives adore Truss, anti-Brexit Democrats mistrust her, whereas the Georgetown set wonders about her mental capability.

ISRAELI PM CAUTIONS SCHOLZ ON IRAN DEAL: Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke to Germany’s Olaf Scholz on Thursday, pushing for an finish to negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a senior Israeli diplomatic official informed Reuters.

Op-ed — Tehran ought to take the deal: The EU’s proposal for reviving the pact will enhance the lives of extraordinary Iranians — and assist the federal government, argues Barbara Slavin, who directs the Future of Iran Initiative on the Atlantic Council, in an op-ed for POLITICO.

PALESTINIAN RAIDS: Israeli troops raided the workplace of a number of Palestinian NGOs on Thursday, sparking outrage from human rights teams and the U.N. Israel designated six Palestinian organizations as terrorist teams final yr, accusing them of hyperlinks to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an outlawed group — an accusation they deny. The Times of Israel has extra.

BEIJING MOVES: China is continuous to consolidate its place within the Pacific with information of a $100 million take care of telecoms firm Huawei within the Solomon Islands. The Pacific nation is funding the mission with a mortgage from the Exim Bank of China.


GET YOUR BHAJI ON: After a two-year hiatus, the Indian Food Festival is again this weekend in Brussels. The occasion in Parc Cinquantenaire will see an array of meals, dance and music — together with the maiden efficiency of the Brussels Bollywood Choir at 3 p.m. Sunday. Come for the curry, keep for the tradition!

IN MEMORIAM: Jürgen Thumann, the previous president of EnterpriseEurope and the Federation of German Industries, has died aged 80, the BDI introduced. Here’s the EnterpriseEurope tribute.

BIRTHDAYS: MEPs Daniela Rondinelli and Javier Nart; Former MEP Stephen Hughes; German politician (and former MEP) Bernd Lucke turns the large 6-0; French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon; Austrian diplomat Walter Grahammer; EnterpriseEurope’s Markus Beyrer; Austrian journalist and POLITICO 28 alum Armin Wolf; Former U.S. President Bill Clinton turns 76. It’s World Humanitarian Day.

Celebrating Saturday: MEP Catherine Griset turns the large 5-0; Brunswick’s Jonathan Faull; Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva; European Commission’s Maciej Tomaszewski; POLITICO’s Sanya Khetani-Shah; Italian politician Enrico Letta; OSCE’s Christie Edwards; Petros Fassoulas of European Movement International. State Foundation Day in Hungary.

Celebrating Sunday: MEPs Ondřej Kovařík, Loucas Fourlas, Giuseppe Milazzo and Esteban González Pons; Cédric de Meeûs from Holcim; Margaret Chan, former director-general of the WHO; Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt.

THANKS TO: Sergei Kuznetsov and our producer Grace Stranger.

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