From The Associated Press
Russia’s war against Ukraine is on the ninth day. UN and Ukraine officials say no radiation was released in a Russian attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine and firefighters have been putting out a blaze at the plant.
Russian forces continued to foment a campaign that drew worldwide condemnation. People across Ukraine have taken up arms and sought protection. The UN refugee agency said on Friday that more than 1.2 million people had fled to neighboring countries.
NATO refuses to monitor a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The 30-nation military organization believes such a move could provoke a widespread war in Europe with Russia.
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Associated press journalists across Ukraine and beyond are documenting the military activities. Here’s a look at Friday’s events:
CONCERNS ABOUT NUCLEAR SAFETY
Russian troops seized the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar in an attack that evoked memories of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in Ukraine’s Chernobyl.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said no radiation spikes were detected. And the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said a Russian “projectile” hit a training center, not one of the six reactors.
However, experts said it highlights the potential dangers of reactors in the war zone. Nuclear safety expert Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington told reporters that the crisis in Ukraine adds a highly dangerous dimension.
After the attack, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated his call for the West to impose a no-fly zone over his country. But NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO would have to shoot down Russian planes.
“We are not part of this conflict and we have a responsibility to ensure that it does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine because that would be even more devastating and dangerous,” Stoltenberg said.
WATCHED OR CONFIRMED DIRECTLY BY RELATED PRESS
Russian troops have taken the southern city of Kherson, a vital Black Sea port with a population of 280,000 – the first major city to fall. Russian armored vehicles were seen roaming the otherwise empty streets of Kherson in videos shared with AP by a local resident.
More frequent shelling was heard from the center of the capital Kyiv on Friday.
Heavy fighting continued on the outskirts of another strategic port, Mariupol, shutting down the city’s electricity, heat and water supplies and most telephone services. Grocery deliveries have also been cut.
A live-stream surveillance camera linked from the Zaporizhia plant’s homepage late Thursday showed what appeared to be armored vehicles rolling into the plant’s parking lot and shining headlights on the building. The AP also verified video taken by a local resident in the area that showed bright, flickering objects landing on the nuclear plant site.
In stories and videos published online, Russian state media falsely claim that Zelenskyy fled Kyiv. Photos and videos show the President of Ukraine leading the defense of his country.
WHAT ELSE HAPPENS ON SITE?
Fighting with airstrikes and artillery continued northwest of Kyiv and in the northeast on Friday, with the cities of Kharkiv and Okhtyrka coming under heavy attack, said Ukraine’s presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovich.
Ukrainian defense forces held on to the northern city of Chernihiv and prevented Russian efforts to capture the key southern city of Mykolayiv, he said.
Ukrainian artillery defended Odessa from repeated attempts by Russian ships to fire on the Black Sea port, he said, stressing that there was no immediate threat to the city.
A Russian airstrike on Thursday also destroyed the power plant in Okhtyrka, leaving the town without heat or electricity, the head of the region said.
WHERE DO REFUGEES GO?
The UN refugee agency said Friday that more than 1.2 million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began. The data portal of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees showed that the vast majority – about 650,000 – had gone to neighboring Poland and about 145,000 had fled to Hungary. Another 103,000 were in Moldova and more than 90,000 in Slovakia.
More than 100 Jewish refugee children who were evacuated from a nursing home in Ukraine and who were traveling across Europe by bus arrived in Berlin on Friday. The 105 children – the youngest just 5 weeks old – left the port city of Odessa 52 hours earlier. The children received financial support from Jewish aid organizations and diplomatic support from Israel, Germany and other European countries.
Brazil — which has Latin America’s largest population of Ukrainians and their descendants — said it will issue temporary humanitarian visas and residency permits to Ukrainian nationals and others affected by the war.
In Hungary, a pastor in a village bordering Ukraine gave the only room in his church to a family of 27 women and children fleeing the invasion.
Russia has confirmed that nearly 500 Russian soldiers have been killed and around 1,600 injured. They include Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, the commanding general of Russia’s 7th Airborne Division, who already had experience in Syria.
Ukraine has not released casualty figures for its armed forces.
At least 311 civilians have been killed and hundreds more injured since the invasion of Ukraine began, according to the UN Human Rights Office. Ukraine’s State Ambulance Service said more than 2,000 civilians have died, although it’s impossible to verify the claim.
The 47-member UN Human Rights Council on Friday overwhelmingly approved a resolution aimed at establishing a three-person panel of experts to monitor human rights in Ukraine.
The global wave of sanctions against Russia could have devastating consequences for energy and grain importers. Russia is a leading grain exporter and a major supplier of crude oil, metals, timber and plastics.
Other companies are ceasing operations in Russia, including Apple, Mercedes-Benz, BP, Volkswagen, clothing retailer H&M and furniture store IKEA.
Spain’s Teatro Real, one of Europe’s largest opera houses, has announced it will cancel a number of upcoming performances by Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet.
In the face of worldwide condemnation, Russia passed a new law criminalizing the willful dissemination of reports about the war that Russia deems “false”. Russians could face up to 15 years in prison for disseminating information contrary to the government’s official position on the war.
The BBC said on Friday it was temporarily suspending the work of all its journalists and support staff in Russia while it assessed the impact. Tim Davie, director general of the British broadcaster, said the law “appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism”.
Follow AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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