Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | March 4, 2022

The latest developments on Ukraine-Russia tensions after Russia launched military operation against Ukraine on February 26, 2022

Updated - March 05, 2022 09:08 am IST

Published - March 04, 2022 08:54 am IST

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a video message to the people joining a rally on the Remember square in Frankfurt, Germany on March 4, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a video message to the people joining a rally on the Remember square in Frankfurt, Germany on March 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Russian forces pressed their war on Thursday on Ukraine, shelling a nuclear power station even as the two sides negotiated safe corridors to safely evacuate citizens.

Russian forces seized control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Friday after a battle with Ukrainian troops that caused a fire and fears of a catastrophic accident. The Ukrainian nuclear regulator said that the fire had been extinguished and no radiation leak had been detected, with site staff still able to work at the Zaporizhzhia site. Russia’s defence ministry in turn blamed Ukrainian saboteurs, calling it a monstrous provocation.

On Thursday, 2,185 Indian nationals returned in 10 special civilian flights from Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. More than 7,400 persons were expected to be brought back on Friday and Saturday.

The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.

Here are the latest updates:


Zelenskyy accuses NATO of allowing bombings

In a bitter and emotional speech, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticised NATO for refusing to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying it will fully untie Russia’s hands as it escalates its attack from the air.

“All the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you, because of your weakness, because of your lack of unity,” he said in a nighttime address. “The alliance has given the green light to the bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages by refusing to create a no-fly zone.”

On Friday, NATO refused to impose a no-fly zone, warning that to do so could provoke widespread war in Europe with nuclear-armed Russia.

“All that the alliance was able to do today was to pass through its procurement system 50 tons of diesel fuel for Ukraine. Perhaps so we could burn the Budapest Memorandum,” Mr. Zelenskyy said, referring to the 1994 security guarantees given to Ukraine in exchange for the withdrawal of its Soviet-era nuclear weapons.

“You will not be able to pay us off with litres of fuel for the litres of our blood, shed for our common Europe.”

He said Ukrainians will continue to resist and have already destroyed Russia’s plans for a lightning invasion “having endured nine days of darkness and evil”.

“We are warriors of light,” he said. “The history of Europe will remember this forever.” — AP


Russia blocks access to Twitter

After blocking Facebook, Russia’s state communications watchdog has quickly followed up by declaring a block on Twitter amid the tensions over the war in Ukraine.

The agency, Roskomnadzor, said on Friday it cut access to Twitter in line with the Russian Prosecutor General’s office decision. The watchdog has previously accused Twitter of failing to delete the content banned by the Russian authorities and slowed down access to it.

The Government is seeking to stifle independent voices about the invasion of Ukraine. The moves against Facebook and Twitter came shortly after officials prevented Russians from accessing reporting from the BBC, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Latvia-based website Meduza and the U.S. Government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. — AP


Zelenskyy addresses protesters across Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the European nations to support his country’s fight against the invading Russian military.

Mr. Zelenskyy appeared on video as he addressed thousands of people protesting the war in several European cities, naming among them Paris, Prague, Lyon, Frankfurt and others. He asked the big crowds not to be silent about what’s going on in his country.

“Don’t turn a blind eye on this,” he said. “Come out and support Ukraine as much as you can,” he said though a translator.

“If we fall, you will fall,” he said.

“And if we win, and I’m sure we’ll win, this will be the victory of the whole democratic world, this will be the victory of our freedom, this will be the victory of light over darkness, of freedom over slavery. And if we win we will become as blossoming as Europe. And Europe will be flourishing more than ever,” he said.

“All of you are Ukrainians today, thank you for this.” — AP


Russia blocks access to Facebook over war

Russia’s state communications watchdog has ordered to completely block access to Facebook in Russia amid the tensions over the war in Ukraine.

The agency, Roskomnadzor, said on Friday it decided to cut access to Facebook over its alleged “discrimination” of the Russian media and state information resources. It said the restrictions introduced by Facebook owner Meta on the RT and other state-controlled media violate the Russian law.

A week ago, the watchdog announced “partial restrictions” on access to Facebook that sharply slowed it down, citing the platform’s moves to limit the accounts of several state-controlled Russian media. Facebook and Twitter have played a major role in amplifying dissent in Russia in recent years.

The move against Facebook follows the blocks imposed on Friday on the BBC, the U.S. Government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvia-based website Meduza as the Government seeks to uproot independent sources of information about the invasion of Ukraine. — AP


G7 says war criminals will be held accountable

Foreign Ministers from the Group of Seven major world powers say that those responsible for Russian military attacks on civilians in Ukraine must be held accountable for their crimes, amid reports of the use of cluster bombs and other banned munitions.

In a statement after talks in Brussels on Friday, the G7 Ministers said they are “deeply concerned with the catastrophic humanitarian toll taken by Russia’s continuing strikes against the civilian population of Ukraine’s cities”.

They underlined that “indiscriminate attacks are prohibited by international humanitarian law,” and that they “will hold accountable those responsible for war crimes, including indiscriminate use of weapons against civilians”.

The Ministers also welcomed the investigations and evidence-gathering being done to establish what war crimes might have been committed in Ukraine.

The International Criminal Court prosecutor has launched an investigation that could target senior officials believed responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide amid a rising civilian death toll and widespread destruction of property. — AP


Russia insists it won’t occupy Ukraine

A top Russian diplomat insisted on Friday that his country will not occupy Ukraine.

“The goal is very clear: Denazification and demilitarisation,” Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s ambassador in Geneva, said of the invasion — which he called a “special military operation”.

“We are not going to stay in Ukraine militarily. We are not going to occupy this country,” he told the U.N. Geneva press association ACANU. “I don’t now all the details of the military plan, but the political goal is as I described it.”

He said the definition of “demilitarisation” was being discussed in diplomatic talks between Ukrainian and Russian envoys.

“We want to secure — or to have guarantees — that the threat is not coming from Ukraine against the Russian Federation.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to legitimize Russia’s moves in Ukraine by claiming a desire to “denazify” Ukraine, a country with a Jewish president who lost relatives in the Holocaust and who heads a Western-backed, democratically elected government. Historians see Mr. Putin’s invocation of World War II as disinformation and a cynical ploy to further the Russian leader’s aims.

United Kingdom

BBC temporarily halts operations inside Russia

The BBC says it is temporarily suspending the work of all its journalists in Russia after the country’s lawmakers approved legislation criminalizing reporting of the war in Ukraine that differs from the Government line.

Tim Davie, director-general of the British broadcaster, said the legislation “appears to criminalise the process of independent journalism”. He said the corporation was halting newsgathering work by its journalists and support staff in Russia “while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development”.

“The safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs,” he said.

Mr. Davie said the BBC’s Russian-language news service would continue to operate from outside Russia.

The Russian parliament voted unanimously on Friday to approve a draft law criminalizing the intentional spreading of what Russia deems to be “fake” reports. It could be signed by President Vladimir Putin and take effect as soon as Saturday. — AP


Russian convoy outside Kyiv still stalled

A Western official says a huge Russian military convoy advancing on Kyiv has made little progress for several days.

The official said the convoy, which has been estimated at up to 40 miles (64 kilometres) long, had become a huge traffic jam that included damaged or destroyed vehicles.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence, said the convoy had been attacked from the air by the Ukrainians, but that Ukraine’s ability to do so was limited.

The official assessed that Ukrainian forces remain in control of much of the country’s territory but that Russia holds the cities of Kherson, Melitopol and Berdiansk in the south.

Multiple Western officials have said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has advanced more slowly than planned, with Russian forces meeting stiff Ukrainian resistance and encountering myriad logistical problems.

Russian President Vladmir Putin said on Thursday that what he calls a “special military operation” was on course to meet its goals. — AP


Russian forces seize huge Ukrainian nuclear plant, fire extinguished

This image made from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows bright flaring object landing in grounds of the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine on March 4, 2022.

This image made from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows bright flaring object landing in grounds of the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine on March 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Russian forces seized the largest nuclear power plant in Europe after a building at the complex was set ablaze during intense fighting with Ukrainian defenders, Ukrainian authorities said on Friday.

Fears of a potential nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia plant had spread alarm across world capitals, before authorities said the fire in a building identified as a training centre, had been extinguished.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said there was no indication of elevated radiation levels at the plant, which provides more than a fifth of total electricity generated in Ukraine.


Russia backs jail time for ‘fake’ army news, restricts media

Russian lawmakers moved Friday to impose harsh jail terms for publishing “fake news” about the army, which a senior lawmaker said will apply to foreigners too, as Moscow moves to muffle dissent over its invasion of Ukraine.

The new legislation sets out jail terms of varying lengths and fines against people who publish “knowingly false information” about the military.

“If the fakes led to serious consequences, (the legislation) threatens imprisonment of up to 15 years,” the lower house of parliament said in a statement.


Rijiju meets Slovakia PM

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju who is overseeing the evacuation of Indians from war-hit Ukraine through Slovakia on Friday called on the prime minister of the Slovak Republic. The Indian embassy in Slovakia tweeted about the meeting.

Mr Rijiju is among the four Union ministers sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his special envoys to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries as part of the Operation Ganga to evacuate Indian nationals.

“Hon’ble Minister Kiren Rijiju called on Prime Minister Eduard Heger of the Slovak Republic and conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message, and expressed gratitude for the help extended in evacuating back to India the Indian nationals who have come from Ukraine,” the embassy tweeted. - PTI


Air Asia India operates evacuation flight from Romania

Budget carrier AirAsia India on Friday said it is operating an evacuation flight from Suceava city in Romania to fly back stranded Indians from the war-hit Ukraine.

AirAsia India’s maiden rescue flight under Operation Ganga, has departed from Suceava to Delhi carrying over 170 guests safely, the airline said on Friday.

“The flight departed to Delhi from Suceava at 6.30 pm (local time) and it is being operated via Dubai. it is expected to arrive in Delhi at 4.30 am (on Saturday), subject to OCC approval,” an AirAsia India spokesperson said.

“While there are other flights that are being planned, they are all subject to requirement of the External Affairs Ministry and can only be chartered a day in advance,” he said. - PTI  

The Hague

Ukraine to confront Russia at International Court of Justice on March 7

Ukraine and Russia will face off Monday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a hearing on emergency measures sought by Kyiv to order Moscow to suspend military operations, with Russia's legal team weakened by the resignation of a key lawyer.

The case lodged by Ukraine at the U.N. court centres on the interpretation of a 1948 treaty on the prevention of genocide, signed by both Russia and Ukraine.

The court is named in the treaty itself as the forum for resolving disputes related to it, and Ukraine's suit argues that Russia has misinterpreted the treaty in several ways.


NATO rejects calls for no-fly zone over Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday said the alliance would not impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine after calls from Kyiv to help stop Russia’s bombardments. “The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukraine’s airspace, and then impose that no fly zone by shooting down Russian planes,” Mr Stoltenberg said after an urgent meeting with NATO foreign ministers. “If we did that, we’ll end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe, involving many more countries and causing much more human suffering. So that’s the reason why we make this painful decision.”

The stance by the US-led bloc comes despite appeals from Ukraine’s leadership to help halt indiscriminate bombing against cities around the country.

Stoltenberg warned that “the days to come are likely to be worse, with more death, more suffering, and more destruction as Russian armed forces bring in heavier weaponry and continue their attacks across the country”.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the alliance via videolink from Kyiv. He tweeted afterwards: “My message: act now before it’s too late. Don’t let (Russian President Vladimir) Putin turn Ukraine into Syria. We are ready to fight. We will continue fighting. But we need partners to help us with concrete, resolute and swift actions, now.” - AFP


Primary focus on evacuating Indians from conflict zones in eastern Ukraine: MEA

Official Spokesperson of MEA Arindam Bagchi has said that parties concerned should go for local ceasefire so that India can evacuate nationals from Sumy and Kharkiv in Ukraine. He added that nearly 20,000 Indians have left Ukraine’s borders since the advisories were issued in mid-February.


Aviation ministry says 11 civilian and 4 IAF flights will bring back Indians on Saturday

Eleven civilian and four Indian Air Force (IAF) flights will return to India on Saturday with Indians from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, the Civil Aviation Ministry stated on Friday.

The 11 civilian flights on Saturday are expected to bring back more than 2,200 Indians, with 10 landing in Delhi and one in Mumbai, the ministry’s statement noted. The statement did not say how many Indians will be coming on the four IAF flights. - PTI


India abstains in UNHRC vote on establishing independent commission of inquiry on Russia-Ukraine crisis

India on Friday abstained in a vote in the UN Human Rights Council that has decided to urgently establish an independent international commission of inquiry as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The 47-member Council voted on a draft resolution on the situation of human rights in Ukraine. The resolution was adopted with 32 votes in favour, two against (Russia and Eritrea) and 13 abstentions, including India, China, Pakistan, Sudan and Venezuela.

The countries voting in favour included France, Germany, Japan, Nepal, UAE, UK and the US - PTI

United Nations

UN Human Rights Council approves probe into alleged rights violations in Ukraine

People from Ukraine, arrive at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Friday, March 4, 2022.

People from Ukraine, arrive at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Friday, March 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

The U.N. Human Rights Council voted overwhelmingly on Friday for a resolution condemning alleged rights violations by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine and setting up a commission of inquiry to investigate them.

Thirty-two members of the Council voted in favour of the resolution brought by Ukraine, and two - Russia and Eritrea - voted against, while 13 abstained. The Geneva-based body cannot make legally binding decisions but its decisions send important political messages and can authorise probes, such as the one to be carried out by the three-person commission created by Friday’s vote.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Yevheniia Filipenko, told the Council minutes before the vote that there was “irrefutable evidence of gross and systematic human rights violations as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russia”.

“It is our common duty to ensure accountability by mandating the documentation and verification of Russia’s crimes and identification of those responsible,” she said. - Reuters

Minsk (Belarus)

What is the Minsk Agreement?

The ongoing geopolitical escalations between Russia and Ukraine bought back focus on the Minsk Agreement of 2014 and 2015. Signed after the Russian actions in Crimea in 2014, the agreement was aimed at ensuring a ceasefire and enabling prerequisites to work out a permanent peaceful solution between the neighbours.

What makes Kherson, the Ukrainian city captured by Russia, significant?

The Ukrainian Army continues to fight back in Kyiv and other important cities.

The story so far: Russian forces in Ukraine have captured the city of Kherson, making it the first major urban centre to fall during the ongoing invasion of the country.

In a Facebook post, Kherson’s Mayor Igor Kolykhaev informed that armed Russian forces visited the city council on Wednesday and laid down a strict set of rules for the residents. The Russian soldiers have demanded that a strict night curfew be observed and only vehicles carrying food, medicines and other essential items will be allowed to enter the city. There are also restrictions on the movement of pedestrians in the city. 

Kolykhaev also added that he made no promises to the Russian forces but asked them to not shoot civilians. 


Ukraine’s president urges Russians to protest over attack on nuclear plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed directly to Russians on Friday to stage protests over the seizure of nuclear power infrastructure by Russian troops in Ukraine.

“Russian people, I want to appeal to you: how is this possible? After all we fought together in 1986 against the Chernobyl catastrophe,” he said in a televised address. - Reuters


Russia blames attack at nuclear power station on Ukrainian saboteurs

Russia’s defence ministry on Friday blamed an attack at the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine on Ukrainian saboteurs, calling it a monstrous provocation. - Reuters


Tripura CM to contribute from his salary Delhi-Agartala airfare of students returning from Ukraine

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Friday said that he would contribute from his salary the airfare of Agartala-Delhi flight for the students of the state, who are returning from war-ravaged Ukraine.

“I am always indebted to the people of Tripura for their unconditional blessings and affection. As a humble token of gratitude, I have decided to contribute from my salary for the airfare for Delhi-Agartala flights for the students who are returning from Ukraine”, he tweeted.-PTI

United Kingdom

UK will seize Russian oligarch properties where there is legal basis-minister

 Britain will seize the properties of Russian oligarchs if there is the legal basis to do so, British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Friday.

“If we’ve got the evidence and there is the legal basis, we’ll do it,” Mr. Raab told LBC Radio when asked about the prospect of properties being seized in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.-Reuters


Russian MPs adopt bill introducing jail terms for ‘fake’ news on army

 Russian lawmakers on Friday approved legislation providing up to 15 years in jail for any publication of fake news about the Russian armed forces, one week after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

The bill, adopted after a third reading, sets out jail terms of varying lengths and fines against people who publish “knowingly false information” about the military, with harsher penalties to hit when dissemination is deemed to have serious consequences.-AFP


As war rages, Paralympics Games open in Beijing without Russia

The 2022 Winter Paralympics opens on March 4 in Beijing, with the Russian athletes sent home and the Ukrainian team escaping a war zone to get here.

"It's a miracle that we have made it to the Paralympics," the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Valerii Sushkevych, told a news conference on the eve of the Games. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, shortly after the Winter Olympics wrapped up in Beijing, is roiling the world. And the world of sports is no exception.

Ukraine team members check the conditions during bad weather ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games.

Ukraine team members check the conditions during bad weather ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games. | Photo Credit: Reuters


Moscow Exchange says money, bond market trading to start at 0900 GMT

The Moscow Exchange, Russia’s largest bourse, said trading on money and bond markets would start at 0900 GMT on Friday.

The Moscow Exchange said it imposed a ban on short selling of euro currency and stock instruments

Russia has shuttered several markets or reduced trading hours in recent days amid soaring volatility and a massive sell-off in Russian assets in the wake of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.-Reuters


Ukraine to unveil NFTs to support military as crypto funding push continues

Ukraine will unveil plans for NFTs to support its armed forces, its vice-prime minister said on Thursday, the latest move in Kyiv's efforts to raise funds in crypto assets after Russia invaded the country last week.


London Stock Exchanges suspends more Russian firms

The London Stock Exchange said on Friday it had suspended with immediate effect the trading of stock listings of several Russian-based companies, including Sistema and Magnit.

“The London Stock Exchange notes the ongoing deterioration of market conditions since March 2 2022, and in order to maintain orderly markets, the exchange has suspended the admission to trading of the instruments,” it said in a statement.-Reuters


Australia freezes $33 million in Russian funds

Australia’s foreign minister says 45 million Australian dollars ($33 million) have been frozen in an Australian financial institution under new sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Friday declined to identify the institution or who owned the money.

Australia has imposed sanctions against more than 350 Russian individuals including President Vladimir Putin.-AP


Supreme Court expresses concern for the lives of students stranded in Ukraine

Attorney General tells Supreme Court that 17,000 Indian nationals have been evacuated. Prime Minister has met Cabinet Ministers today to further amp up evacuation. Stating that India has experience in evacuation, the A-G refers to Kuwait when over a lakh Indian expatriates were airlifted out

Supreme Court expresses concern for the lives of students caught in the crisis zone in Ukraine and trying to get out. Orally suggests to government to open helplines so they or their families can communicate.

Attorney General said government is equally concerned and is leaving no stone unturned to bring them back-Krishnadas Rajagopal

Indian nationals, evacuated from war-torn Ukraine, on their arrival at the Hindon airbase, in Ghaziabad. Three more IAF C-17 aircrafts returned to Hindan airbase late Thursday night and early Friday morning carrying 630 Indian nationals, using airfields in Romania and Hungary.

Indian nationals, evacuated from war-torn Ukraine, on their arrival at the Hindon airbase, in Ghaziabad. Three more IAF C-17 aircrafts returned to Hindan airbase late Thursday night and early Friday morning carrying 630 Indian nationals, using airfields in Romania and Hungary. | Photo Credit: PTI

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Ukraine says Russian forces seize Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

 Russian military forces have seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s southeast, a local authority said on Friday.

“Operational personnel are monitoring the condition of power units,” it said on social media, adding that the efforts sought to ensure the operations were in line with safety requirements.

Ukraine has said Russian forces attacked the plant in the early hours of Friday, setting an adjacent five-story training facility on fire.-Reuters

New Development Bank

New Development Bank says it has put new transactions in Russia on hold

The New Development Bank (NDB) established by the BRICS group of emerging nations said it has put new transactions in Russia on hold.

“In light of unfolding uncertainties and restrictions, NDB has put new transactions in Russia on hold. NDB will continue to conduct business in full conformity with the highest compliance standards as an international institution,” it said in a statement posted on its website.-Reuters

International Atomic Energy Agency

IAEA says ‘essential’ parts of Ukraine nuclear plant not affected

Essential equipment at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was unaffected after a fire there, with no change in radiation levels, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Friday, citing the country’s regulatory authorities.

Ukraine had said the plant in its southeast was shelled overnight, the IAEA added.

“The Ukraine regulatory authority said a fire at the site had not affected ‘essential’ equipment and plant personnel were taking mitigatory actions,” it said. “There was no reported change in radiation levels at the plant.”-Reuters


Lions, tigers evacuated from Ukraine to Poland

Six lions and six tigers evacuated from near Kyiv arrived at a zoo in Poland on Thursday following a two-day odyssey skirting battle frontlines and coming face to face with Russian tanks, a zoo spokesman said.

A Ukrainian truck drove the animals, along with two wild cats and a wild dog, nearly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) to the Polish border while avoiding the Zhytomyr region, which the invading Russian forces have bombarded, spokeswoman Malgorzata Chodyla told AFP.

At one point, the truck had to stop overnight opposite Russian tanks.

For now, the animals will be cared for at the Poznan zoo.-AFP

A member of Poznan Zoo makes check at a truck carrying animals from a sanctuary east of Kyiv to Poznan Zoo. Photo: Poznan Zoo via REUTERS

A member of Poznan Zoo makes check at a truck carrying animals from a sanctuary east of Kyiv to Poznan Zoo. Photo: Poznan Zoo via REUTERS


Go First operates its 1st evacuation flight from Budapest to Delhi; brings back 177 stranded Indians

Private carrier Go First on Friday said it has operated first evacuation flight to New Delhi from Budapest in Hungary to bring back 177 Indian evacuees from war-hit Ukraine.

The city-based airline also said it will operate two flights every till March 10 as part of the Operation Ganga mission.

The first evacuation flight of Go First from Budapest departed at 5.58 pm (local time) on Thursday and arrived in New Delhi at 9.20 am (local time) on Friday with 177 passengers onboard, the airline said in a statement.-PTI


Russia restricts access to BBC Russian service and Radio Liberty - RIA

 Russia’s communications watchdog has restricted access to BBC Russian service as well as Radio Liberty and the Meduza media outlet, the RIA news agency reported on Friday.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was being used to undermine the internal political situation and security in Russia. -Reuters

Kyiv, Ukraine
Firefighters hose down a burning building after bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 3, 2022.

Firefighters hose down a burning building after bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 3, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP


Fire at Ukraine nuclear plant ‘extinguished’: emergency services

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow Friday of resorting to “nuclear terror” and wanting to “repeat” the Chernobyl disaster after he said invading Russian forces attacked a nuclear power plant.

Ukraine’s emergency services said it had regained access to the facility after accusing the Russian military of initially blocking rescuers from reaching the blaze.

“As of 05:20 at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in Energodar, State Emergency Service units went to put out the fire in the training building,” the state emergency services wrote on Facebook.

“It was established that the premises on the third, fourth and fifth floors were on fire,” it said of the five-storey building.

There were no reported victims, and 44 people and 11 vehicles were involved in the extinguishing operation, it added.-AFP

Kyiv, Ukraine

Indian student reportedly shot at in Kyiv: V.K. Singh

An Indian student has reportedly been shot at and injured in Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V. K. Singh said on Friday.

Mr. Singh is in Poland currently to facilitate the evacuation of Indians stranded in war-hit Ukraine.

“Today, we heard reports that a student leaving Kyiv was shot at. He was taken back to Kyiv. This will happen in a fighting,” the minister told media persons.


Airbnb is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus, CEO says

Home rental company Airbnb Inc is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus, Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky said in a tweet on Thursday.-Reuters

United Kingdom

Putin could ‘threaten the safety of all of Europe’: UK PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of endangering all of Europe Friday, after invading Russian forces attacked a Ukrainian nuclear power plant.

“The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe,” according to a Downing Street statement, adding that Johnson will seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting in the coming hours.-AFP


Zelenskyy updates Biden on nuclear plant fire

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy updated U.S. President Joe Biden about the fire at a nuclear power station shelled by Russian troops.

The White House said Biden and Zelenskyy urged Russia to cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site.

Biden also got another update on the situation from the undersecretary for nuclear security at the U.S. Department of Energy and the administrator of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration.

Zelenskky also spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the attack.-AP

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
Surveillance camera footage shows Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine on March 4, 2022, in this screengrab from a video obtained from social media. Zaporizhzhya NPP via YouTube/via REUTERS

Surveillance camera footage shows Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine on March 4, 2022, in this screengrab from a video obtained from social media. Zaporizhzhya NPP via YouTube/via REUTERS


Biden urges Russia to allow emergency responders to Ukraine nuclear site

US President Joe Biden on Thursday urged Russia to cease firing on a Ukrainian power plant and to allow in emergency services, as a senior US official said there was no sign of “elevated levels of radiation.”

“President Biden joined President Zelensky in urging Russia to cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site,” a White House readout of a call between the two leaders said.

Additionally, the senior US official said “our latest information shows no indications of elevated levels of radiation, and we’re monitoring closely.”-AFP


Russia shells Europe’s largest nuclear plant, starting fire

Russian forces pressed their attack on a crucial energy-producing Ukrainian city by shelling Europe’s largest nuclear plant early Friday, sparking a fire and raising fears that radiation could leak from the damaged power station.

The assault on the eastern city of Enerhodar and its Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant came as the invasion entered its second week with Russian forces gaining ground in their bid to cut off the country from the sea. Elsewhere, another round of talks between the two sides yielded a tentative agreement to set up safe corridors inside Ukraine to evacuate citizens and deliver humanitarian aid.

Nuclear plant spokesman Andriy Tuz told Ukrainian television that shells were falling directly on the facility and had set fire to one of its six reactors. That reactor is under renovation and not operating, but there is nuclear fuel inside, he said.-AP


U.S. hits Putin allies, press secretary with new sanctions

The Biden administration ordered new sanctions blocking Russian business oligarchs and others in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle on March 4 in response to Russian forces’ fierce pummeling of Ukraine.

Those targeted by the new sanctions include Mr. Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, and Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov, one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals and a close ally of Mr. Putin.


India dismisses claims by Russia, Ukraine on hostage situation involving Indians in Kharkiv

India on March 3 rejected claims by both Russia and Ukraine that Indian students are being held hostage in the besieged city of Kharkiv and said it has requested the support of Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking them out from the conflict zone and neighbouring areas.

India’s comments came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office claimed that some Indian students were “actually taken hostage” by the Ukrainian security forces to use them as a “human shield”.


Ukraine seeks truce in talks with Russia

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met on Thursday and Kyiv said it would call for a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors to evacuate its besieged citizens, as the war entered its second week with Ukrainian cities surrounded and under bombardment.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers and Ukrainian civilians have been killed since President Vladimir Putin sent his troops over the border on February 24. Russia itself has been plunged into isolation never before experienced by an economy of such size.

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