Russia targets power grids in central Ukraine

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Russia targeted power grids in central Ukraine overnight as Ukraine boosted its military force near the border with Belarus to counter any possible Russian attack. Follow our liveblog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

10:31pm: IAEA to conduct ‘independent verification’ of Russia’s dirty bomb allegations

The UN’s nuclear watchdog will this week carry out an “independent verification” of Russian allegations concerning the production of so-called ‘dirty bombs’ at two sites in Ukraine, it said on Thursday.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi said: “IAEA inspectors will conduct independent verification at these locations… to detect any diversion of nuclear material under safeguards, any undeclared production or processing of nuclear material at the two locations and assure that there are no undeclared nuclear material and activities”.

9:43pm: UN says ‘not aware’ of any biological weapons program in Ukraine

The United Nations is “not aware” of any biological weapons program in Ukraine, a disarmament official said Thursday after Russia accused the United States of “biological weapons” there and called on the UN to investigate.

“We are aware that the Russian Federation has filed an official complaint… regarding allegations of biological weapons programs in Ukraine,” Adedeji Ebo, the UN’s Deputy High Representative for Disarmament Affairs told the Security Council.

“The United Nations is not aware of any such biological weapons programs,” he said, noting that the UN also had no mandate or technical capacity to investigate.