Ukraine war LIVE: Putin misery as Zelensky claims 9,000 dead and Belarus abandons Russia

Francesca Edwards

Ukraine’s UN ambassador accuses Russia of lying over power plant attack

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations has accused Russia of lying about its takeover of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. 

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said: “Thousands of people, including civilians, who are currently unable to evacuate the area near the plant due to ongoing shelling and fighting, would be affected.”

Francesca Edwards

Russia blocks access to Facebook

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked access to Facebook. 

The decision comes shortly after new legislation was implemented bringing punishment of up to 15 years in prison for the publication of “fake news” about the invasion.

Francesca Edwards

Zelensky pleads ‘please don’t be silent’ to Europeans

Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Europe “not to be silent”. 

Giving a TV address the Ukrainian president urged Europeans to support Ukraine. 

He said: “People of Europe, I call upon you not to be silent.

“Come out onto the streets and support Ukraine.”

He continued: “If Ukraine will not stand, Europe will not stand. If we will fall, you will fall.

“Please don’t be silent. Do not turn a blind eye on this.”

Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking to European

Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking to European (Image: Sky News)

Francesca Edwards

Putin taunts Europe as Russian Aeroflot plane violates sanctions to land in Budapest

Vladimir Putin has taunted European sanctions by dispatching an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Budapest in what appears to be a scheduled flight between Russia and Hungary.

The Airbus A321 took off from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport at 7:33 am and landed at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport at 10:11 am.

Data on Flight Radar 24 showed the aircraft registered as VP-BKJ had travelled for 2 hours and 31 minutes covering the nearly 1,000 miles between the two hubs.

Russian airlines are facing an almost complete blockade from flying west over Europe after they were barred from the airspace of nearly 30 countries following the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin ‘misjudged’ and ‘underestimated

Dame Barbara Woodward said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “misjudged the strength, resilience and will of the Ukrainian people”.

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council she said Putin “underestimated” the world’s response to his actions, referring to the UN General Assembly vote earlier this week demanding that Russia “immediately” withdraw its military forces from Ukraine. 

She added: “Every day, this war continues the destruction it brings to Ukraine, the suffering it inflicts on Ukrainian and Russian people, and the risks it poses to international peace and security increase.

“This must stop. We call on Russia to end this violence, withdraw its troops and enter into serious peace negotiations.”

‘Russia must fight away from nuclear sites’, says UK ambassador

The UK permanent representative to the United Nations said Russia “must keep fighting away from and protect the safety and security of nuclear sites”.

Dame Barbara Woodward said it was a relief that reports so far suggested there had been “no release of radioactive material” following Russia’s shelling of a nuclear power station in Ukraine, but such an attack “must not happen again”.

Addressing the UN Security Council, she said: “Colleagues, this is the first time that a state has attacked a fuelled and functioning nuclear power plant.

“International law requires special protection for nuclear facilities. And it is difficult to see how Russia’s actions were compatible with its commitments under Article 56 of the additional protocol of the (Geneva) Conventions. It must not happen again.

“Even in the midst of an illegal invasion of Ukraine, Russia must keep fighting away from and protect the safety and security of nuclear sites.”

Dame Barbara Woodward

Dame Barbara Woodward (Image: Sky News)

Francesca Edwards

Three Russian commanders killed

Three Russian commanders have reportedly been killed, western officials say. 

General Andrei Sukhovetsky was killed by a sniper and a divisional commander and regimental commander have also been killed. 

The official said: “My assessment would be that those commanders have been killed because they’ve had to go further and closer to the front.

“That’s an indication of some degree of frustration and some degree of lack of progress and they’re trying to impose their sort of personality on the battlefield and putting themselves at personal risk”

Francesca Edwards

Met Police gathering evidence on war crimes

The Met Police is helping to gather evidence to help with the International Criminal Court’s investigation into war crimes in Ukraine. 

Head of the Counter-Terrorism Command, Commander Richard Smith confirmed the war crimes team is gathering evidence to help. 

He called on the help of the public to bring to light “direct messages, images or videos that friends or relatives here in the UK have been sent by those in Ukraine”.

He added: “Or it could be somebody who was previously in Ukraine and who may have witnessed or even been a victim of a war crime and has since travelled to the UK.

“To be clear though, we specifically want to hear from people who are now here in the UK, and who have a direct link to any relevant information or evidence – this is not about the general public highlighting or telling us about things they might have simply come across or seen in the media, online or on social media.”

Francesca Edwards

Zelensky talks to IMF about financial recovery

Volodymyr Zelensky has spoken with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about support for Ukraine. 

The President said he is “grateful for the urgent help” being provided but said the IMF “must take the lead” in Ukraine’s financial recovery. 

In a series of tweets, he also said he had spoken with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about the attack on the Zaporizhzhia power plant.

The two also discussed Ukraine’s membership in the EU. 

Held negotiations with IMF Executive Director @KGeorgieva. Discussed financial support for ud83cuddfaud83cudde6. Grateful for the urgent help already provided by the Fund. The IMF must take the lead in financing the recovery of ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 after the end of Russia’s aggression. #StopRussia

u2014 u0412u043eu043bu043eu0434u0438u043cu0438u0440 u0417u0435u043bu0435u043du0441u044cu043au0438u0439 (@ZelenskyyUa) March 4, 2022

Francesca Edwards

BBC forced to suspend work of journalists in Russia

The BBC will “temporatiy suspend” the work of its its news journalists and support staff in Russia following new legislation passed by Russian authorities. 

Director-general Tim Davie said the new law “appears to criminalise the process of independent journalism” adding that they have “no other option”.

Mr David added: “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. I’d like to pay tribute to all of them, for their bravery, determination and professionalism.

“We remain committed to making accurate, independent information available to audiences around the world, including the millions of Russians who use our news services. Our journalists in Ukraine and around the world will continue to report on the invasion of Ukraine.”

Francesca Edwards

Seven killed in airstrike in Kyiv

Ukraine police said at least seven people have been killed in an airstrike in a rural residential area in Kyiv. 

This death toll included two children. 

Police said the strike hit the village of Markhalivka, around 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the southwestern outskirts of the capital.

Francesca Edwards

John Lewis and Waitrose remove Russian products

John Lewis and Waitrose have become the latest retailers to stop selling Russian products. 

The two chains said they will no longer sell Russian Vodka and a line of pizza. 

It also said it is working with suppliers to review products that have components of Russian origin.

Earlier we reported that Sainsbury’s also took the step to remove Russian products from its shelves.

Today, the John Lewis Partnership will remove two products that are made in Russia. Weu2019re urgently working with our suppliers to review products that have components of Russian origin and will be seeking to mitigate further exposure to the region. pic.twitter.com/ByNAn7YmLB

u2014 John Lewis & Partners (@JohnLewisRetail) March 4, 2022

Francesca Edwards

WATCH: Israeli airport trolls Russian planes with Ukrainian flag

An Israeli airport trolled Russian planes by signaling them in with a Ukrainian flag. 

Footage shared on social media showed a worker at Israel’s largest airport Ben-Gurion Airport gesturing to the plane upon arrival.

The worker could be seen flying the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag towards the Russian-flagged plane.

The incident was shared as an “act of trolling and a show of solidarity” with Ukraine.

Russian aircraft are signalled with the Ukrainian flag

Francesca Edwards

‘We are simply being destroyed’- Mariupol mayor appeals for help

The Mayor of Mariupol said the city is under fire and needs military help. 

The southeastern city has been facing increasing shelling from Russian troops over the past few days. 

Now mayor Vadym Boychenko, is calling for help, saying the city is without water, heat or electricity and food is running low. 

In a televised appeal he said: “We are simply being destroyed”.

Francesca Edwards

UN Security Council to meet shortly

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting at 11.30 am (4.30 pm GMT) following Russia’s attack on Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

The US, UK France, Ireland Norway and Albania all called for an emergency meeting.

Earlier this week in a historic vote, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to reprimand Russia for invading Ukraine and demanded that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces.

Francesca Edwards

Celebrities sign up to help Ukraine Relief

A host of celebrities have come together to raise money for Ukraine on the engagement platform, Cameo. 

Celebs, including Olviai Coleman, Taron Egerton, and Catriona Balfe are donating a portion of proceeds from personalised Cameo videos to Choose Love to support Ukraine Relief. 

The nonprofit will use the funds to support projects providing vital aid and services to those still in and fleeing Ukraine, including: emergency medical care, food, shelter, clothes, legal support, support for the LGBTQIA+ community, and mental health support.

Others participating stars include John Bradley West, Paloma Faith, James McVey, Busy Philipps, Maggie Wheeler, Dule Hill.

Francesca Edwards

Hundreds of German missiles given to Ukraine ‘stored in mouldy boxes’ and ‘do not work’

At least 700 anti-aircraft missiles sent to Ukraine from Germany are no longer operational, according to German magazine Spiegel.

Germany sent 1,000 missiles to Ukraine last week but the delivery has been mocked as “particularly embarrassing” as the boxes they came in were mouldy and much of the equipment didn’t work.

According to Spiegel, the missiles sent by Germany are at least 35 years old and have “micro-cracks in the propellant of the ammunition”, which has led to corrosion and oxidation of the weapons.

Spiegel also reported that the missile wooden storage boxes were “so mouldy” that when Bundeswehr soldiers were doing check in November, they were only allowed to enter the storage facilities while wearing protective equipment.

Francesca Edwards

Sainsburys removes Russian products from its shelves

Sainsbury’s will rename Chicken Kievs to match the Ukrainian spelling, rather than the Russian spelling. 

The supermarket chain said it would start rolling out new packaging in the coming weeks using Chicken Kyiv

Shoppers will also no longer be able to buy Russian Standard vodka and Karpayskiye black sunflower seeds when the products are removed from shelves.

JD Sports has also announced plans to withdraw from Russia, a rather big move as the business only makes 0.05 percent of its sales in Russia through its website and wholesale partners.

We stand united with the people of Ukraine. We have reviewed our product range and have decided to remove from sale all products that are 100% sourced from Russia

u2014 Sainsbury’s News (@SainsburysNews) March 4, 2022

Francesca Edwards

Ukraine says ‘women being raped’ by Russian soldiers

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister has spoken of alleged reports emerging of “women being raped” in occupied territories. 

Dimitry Kuleba once again reiterated his appeal for additional support from the West as he warned attacks on civilian areas have increased in recent days.

Mr Kuleba accused Russia of targeting residential areas in violation of the rules of war, as he claimed reports have been made about “women being raped” by Russian soldiers in occupied areas of the country.

The Ukrainian politician did not clarify whether the claims pre-dated the invasion.

Kherson resident Svetlana Zorina also claimed going outside had become “dangerous” not only because of the bombs but because of reported cases of rape.

She told talkRadio: “They started to rape our women so now it’s very dangerous to go outside, especially when it’s dark.

“I heard about a few cased from people I know, unfortunately.”

Ukraine: Kuleba reports ‘women being raped’ by Russian soldiers

Francesca Edwards

US Embassy in Ukraine calls power plant attack ‘war crime’

The US Embassy in Ukraine has said attacking the nuclear power plant is a war crime. 

In a statement on Twitter, it said: “It is a war crime to attack a nuclear power plant. Putin’s shelling of Europe’s largest nuclear plant takes his reign of terror one step further.”

Earlier this week President Joe Biden stopped sort of calling Russia’s actions war crimes, saying: “It’s too early to say that”. 

Francesca Edwards

Good afternoon

Good afternoon I’m Francesca Edwards, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on Russia and Ukraine for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: francesca.edwards@reachplc.com

Twitter: @FrankieLEdwards

Tara Fair

‘Do not let Putin turn Ukraine into Syria,’ pleads Foreign Minister

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba has pleaded the international community to not allow Vladimir Putin to turn Ukraine into Syria. 

“Russia is trying to turn Ukraine into Syria. And the tactics they deploy are very similar to the ones they excelled in Syria,” he explained. 

He said his message to world leaders was to: “Act now before it’s too late. Don’t let 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.”

Took part in the extraordinary meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers. My message: act now before itu2019s too late. Donu2019t let 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. pic.twitter.com/s4FCaAOjNy

u2014 Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Several explosions heard in Kyiv

Several explosions have been heard in Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv, according to eyewitnesses. 

The exact origin of the explosions could not be immediately established.

Air raid sirens have also been heard.

Russian troops have so far failed to capture the capital. 

Tara Fair

Ukraine foreign ministry condemns shelling of Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

The international community must force Russia to withdraw its forces from the plant, the ministry urged. 

In a statement posted on Facebook, the ministry said: “As a result of the shelling on the territory of the (Zaporizhzhya) nuclear power plant, a fire broke out, killing and injuring several people. The fire has now been extinguished.”

If the cooling of the nuclear fuel within the Zaporizhzhya plant is disturbed, it could cause radioactive damage and have “irreparable consequences for Europe’s environment”, the ministry warned. 

It continued: “Thousands of people – including civilians who are currently unable to evacuate the area near the plant due to ongoing shelling and fighting – would be hurt by this.”

Tara Fair

Russia using weapons which violate international law, suggests NATO

Russia is using cluster bombs and other illegal weapons in Ukraine, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said.

He said: “We have seen the use of cluster bombs and we have seen reports of use of other types of weapons which would be in violation of international law.”

Tara Fair

NATO decides against no-fly zone over Ukraine

NATO has decided not to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine in a bid to prevent the war from spreading, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. 

He said: “We understand the desperation but we also believe that if we did that (establishing a no-fly zone) we would end up with something that could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe, involving much more countries.

“At the same time, we have a responsibility as NATO allies to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine because that would be even more dangerous, more devastating and would cause even more human suffering.

“The reckless actions around the nuclear power plant last night just highlights the dangers of this war.

“War is dangerous and to have military operations conflict fighting going around the nuclear power plant adds to the danger.”

NATO decides against no-fly zone over Ukraine (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

NATO has a ‘responsibility’ to ensure conflict does not spread

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that his organisation is “not part of this conflict” but has a “responsibility to ensure it does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine”.

He said this would be ever more “devastating and dangerous”.

Ministers agreed that NATO’s relationship with Russia has now “fundamentally changed” in the long-term, Mr Stoltenberg adds.

NATO has a ‘responsibility’ to ensure conflict does not spread (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

This is ‘Putin’s war’ says NATO chief

The conflict in Ukraine which has left thousands dead is “Putin’s war,” according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The war is “one [Putin] has chosen, planned and is waging against a peaceful country”, Mr Stoltenberg added.

He continued: “We call on President Putin to stop this war immediately, withdraw all his forces from Ukraine without conditions and engage in genuine diplomacy now.”

This is ‘Putin’s war’ says NATO chief (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Days to come ‘are likely to be worse,’ warns NATO chief

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned the situation in Ukraine is likely to get worse. 

Speaking at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, he said “the days to come are likely to be worse” for Ukraine, with “more death, more suffering and more destruction”.

Mr Stoltenberg added that Russia is likely to bring in “heavier weaponry” as they continue their attacks across the besieged country.

Days to come ‘are likely to be worse,’ warns NATO chief (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Boris slaps down Putin assassination demand

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has slapped down a demand made by a US senator that Russian President Vladimir Putin be assassinated. 

Republican senator Lindsey Graham last night publicly called for someone in Russia to assassinate Putin. 

Speaking on Fox News, he said: “How does this end? Somebody in Russia has to step up to the plate and take this guy out.”

He later doubled down on this position in a tweet: “Is there a Brutus in Russia?”

Asked whether Mr Johnson agrees with Mr Graham’s demand, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “No.”

Putin should face justice at the International Criminal Court instead, he added.

Boris Johnson does NOT want Russians to assassinate Putin, his official spokesman just said.

u201cNou201d was the response when asked if the PM agrees with the below. Adds Putin should face justice at the International Criminal Court. https://t.co/eVMWrERXne

u2014 Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Ukraine ready to work with anyone who will hold Russia to account

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba said he is ready to work with anyone who is willing to hold Russia to account. 

Speaking at an online event hosted by Chatham House, he said: “On behalf of the government of Ukraine, once again, we are ready to move on.

“We are ready to work with anyone who is willing to hold Russia to an account.

“I call on all of you who participate in this meeting to contribute to the establishment of this (UN) tribunal.

“I also call on all media who follow this, who follow this online meeting, to spread the truth about Russia’s crimes against Ukraine and to advocate the establishment of this.”

Tara Fair

Russia claims it is waiting for Ukraine response to peace talks

Russia has claimed it is waiting for a response from Ukraine following yesterday’s second round of peace talks.

The Kremlin said what would happen next would depend on Ukraine after the Russian delegation told Ukraine “how we see the solution”. 

Talks took place in Belarus and were led by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adviser Vladimir Medinsky.

It was reported afterwards that Russia had agreed the need for “humanitarian corridors” in Ukraine for the evacuation of civilians and arrival of aid.

Ukraine has made clear its main objective of the peace talks is a ceasefire.

Tara Fair

Ukraine makes new war crime claims against Russia as Kuleba reports ‘women being raped’

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba claimed Russia’s hostility is escalating above bombing as he alleged several reports have emerged of “women being raped” by Russian soldiers in occupied territories.

The Foreign Minister backed calls for the creation of a special criminal tribunal to investigate Vladimir Putin and his actions throughout the ongoing conflict.

Mr Kuleba said: “There are several reports of rape from where Russians captured the cities of Ukraine.

“More specifically, a pregnant woman in Donbas region.”

Tara Fair

‘Ukraine stood by us,’ says Johnson on Novichok anniversary

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged that Ukraine stood by Britain when Russia launched a nerve agent attack in Salisbury four years ago.

Mr Johnson said: “Four years ago our country was rocked when Russian military intelligence deployed a chemical weapon on Salisbury’s streets.

“My thoughts remain with all those affected and I pay tribute to the tireless efforts of all those involved in the response to this despicable attack.

“Nations across the world, including Ukraine, stood with us then.

“Today we stand with Ukraine in doing everything we can to ensure Putin’s barbaric venture ends in failure.”

Nations across the world, including Ukraine, stood with us then.

Today we stand with Ukraine in doing everything we can to ensure Putin’s barbaric venture ends in failure. 2/2

u2014 Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

‘Fighting together we will win,’ Ukrainian MPs stand with civilians

Ukrainian politicians have taken up arms to defend their nation under attack from Russian forces. 

Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik shared that people are often surprised to see them still in the country as Russian troops advance. 

She said: “We did not leave. We are here with our nation. Working together, fighting together, and we will win – together.”

Tara Fair

British power station to stop using Russian biomass

A British power plant will stop using Russian biomass – a renewable energy source – in protest over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Drax, a power plant in North Yorkshire, joins a growing list of companies that will stop using Russian resources.

Drax only uses a small amount of biomass at its plant, and will now work with suppliers and customers to identify any more links to Russia.

British power station to stop using Russian biomass (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Ukraine asks Red Cross to urgently assist in the creation of humanitarian corridors

Ukraine has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to urgently assist in the creation of humanitarian corridors. 

During the second round of talks between Ukraine and Russia, the parties reached an agreement on joint provision of humanitarian corridors. 

The Red Cross of Ukraine helps local and state authorities in coordinating the evacuation of civilians. 

Ukrainian authorities made clear they would facilitate safe passage through the corridors and urged the Russians to do the same. 

Tara Fair

9,166 Russian troops lost and military equipment destroyed

The Ukrainian Army said approximately 9,166 Russian troops have been killed in the conflict which started just over a week ago.

A similar number was earlier cited by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who claimed the number was around 9,200.

Ukraine says other Russian losses include:

At least 251 tanks

33 aircraft

37 helicopters

404 vehicles

105 artillery systems

Tara Fair

More Russian banks to be removed from SWIFT

More Russian banks will be taken out of the SWIFT financial messaging network in the next round of EU sanctions, according to Ireland’s Foreign Minister. 

Simon Coveney told RTE: “There will be more Russian banks taken out of the SWIFT system. 

“I suspect all Russian-flagged ships will be banned from entering EU ports. I also suspect that we’ll be banning other imports like steel, timber, aluminum and possibly coal as well.”

Seven Russian banks were banned from the system, which allows financial institutions to share information and facilitate payments, but firms such as Sberbank, which handles energy payments, and Gazprombank, Russia’s biggest lender, were excluded.

Tara Fair

Ukrainian President survives three assassination attempts in days

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has survived three assassination attempts in a matter of days, the Times reports. 

Two groups have been sent to kill the Ukrainian leader: mercenaries of the Kremlin-backed Wagner group and Chechen special forces.

On Saturday, the president survived an attempt on his life on the outskirts of Kyiv. 

Ukrainian security officials said a group of Chechen assassins had been “eliminated” before they could reach the president.

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, told Ukrainian TV channels that Russian spies had tipped them off about the planned assassination.

Ukrainian President survives three assassination attempts in days (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Russian attempt to take Mykolayiv thwarted, claims Ukrainian Presidential adviser

Ukraine’s Presidential adviser says Russia’s attempt to advance on Mykolayiv has been thwarted.

Russian troops entered the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Mykolayiv for the first time on Friday, regional authorities said.

In a video statement shared online, Governor Vitaliy Kim said fighting was under way in parts of the city.

“Let’s not get nervous,” he said.

Tara Fair

Ukrainian President accuses Putin of ‘nuclear terrorism’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “nuclear terrorism”. 

He said he spoke with world leaders and the UN throughout the attack and urged them to implement a no-fly zone immediately. 

He likened the Russian attacks to a “Nazi-like occupation” and lamented that in Chernihiv Russian bombs killed 47 people yesterday.

“They won’t break us. We are home. We are on our land,” President Zelensky pledged. 

Ukrainian President accuses Putin of ‘nuclear terrorism’ (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

‘Last night could have been the end of Europe,’ Ukrainian President warns

Last night “could have been the end of Europe” after Russian forces shelled the largest nuclear power station on the continent, warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

Addressing the shelling of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Mr Zelensky said: “Russians knew exactly what they were shelling.

“This night could have been the end of Europe.”

Switching to Russian, he continued: “Russian people. I want to address you. How is this possible? 

“We together in ’86 battled the aftermath of the Chernobyl catastrophe.

“Surely you must remember the burning graphite spread by the wind, the deaths.

“You must remember the evacuation from Pripyat and from the 35km-zone. How could you forget?”

“And if you didn’t forget, you can’t be silent. You must tell your leadership. You must get out onto the streets and tell them you want to live.

“You want to live on an Earth that isn’t radioactive. Radiation doesn’t know where Russia is.

“Radiation doesn’t know where the borders of your country is.”

‘Last night could have been the end of Europe,’ Ukrainian President warns (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Three Ukrainian soldiers killed defending nuclear power plant

Three Ukrainian soldiers died while defending the Zaporizhzhia power plant, the operator has confirmed. 

The plant, which sustained heavy shelling and caught fire, was seized by the Russian military in the early hours of this morning. 

Tara Fair

Putin ‘blackmail’ plot to ‘evacuate Europe’ as nuclear plant SEIZED

Vladimir Putin has been accused of nuclear “blackmail” that could cause the “evacuation of Europe” after his latest attack on the largest nuclear reactor in Europe.

Russian troops attacked the Zaporizhzhia power plant by night, shelling the facility in a move that risked creating a nuclear disaster 10 times larger than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.

A fire that broke out at the plant was brought under control in the early hours of this morning and Russian forces have now taken control of the power plant.

Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said: “We are on the verge of the largest man-made catastrophe in human history.

“The aggressor continues to strike devastating blows at Ukraine.

“He is not stopped by thousands of human victims and tragedies.

“Today he wants to destroy the world.”

Tara Fair

Russian troops enter Mykolayiv

The Mayor of Ukraine’s Mykolayiv says Russian troops are now entering the city.

Tara Fair

Putin abandoned by key ally as fighting intensifies

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been abandoned by a key ally as fighting enters its second week in Ukraine. 

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that the Belarusian armed forces were not taking part and would not take part in Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

A close Russian ally, Lukashenko said he spoke to President Vladimir Putin at length by telephone on Friday. Russia has used Belarusian territory to carry out a multi-pronged invasion of Ukraine.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

9,200 Russian soldiers lost in first week of war

Around 9,200 Russian servicemen have lost their lives in the invasion of Ukraine. 

Tara Fair

Ukrainian President urges Russians to keep protesting war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Russians to continue protesting the invasion, which is now entering its second week. 

In a video address this morning, he said: “Russian people, I want to appeal to you: how is this possible?

“After all, we fought together in 1986 against the Chernobyl catastrophe.”

He claims Moscow is deliberately targeting Ukrainian infrastructure and residential areas, with Mariupol, Kherson, Kharkiv and Chernihiv under attack.

Tara Fair

Ukrainian President calls for no-fly zone amid nuclear threat

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has given a video address this morning, calling for a no-fly zone to be implemented following the dangerous situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant overnight.

Mr Zelensky said the only way to guarantee Russia will not bomb nuclear infrastructure is to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Western leaders are reluctant to do so, with Boris Johnson warning this would effectively mean agreeing to shoot down Russian planes.

Ukrainian President calls for no-fly zone amid nuclear threat (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Kent dockers launch furious boycott of tanker containing Russian gas

Dockworkers who threatened to block imports of Russian gas to the UK have refused to unload supplies in a show of support for Ukraine.

The tanker carrying the Russian gas was to arrive at a Kent dock on the Thames Estuary on Friday morning.

But after threats to block the unloading of the gas from the vessel from dock workers, the ship was diverted.

But dock workers took matters into their own hands by refusing to unload the LNG from the vessel, despite what appears to be a loophole in sanctions imposed by the Government on Russian ships.

BREAKING ud83dudea8ud83cuddfaud83cudde6: Kent dockers have REFUSED to unload a tanker of Russian gas, forcing it to dock elsewhere, in solidarity with Ukraine.

u2014 Trades Union Congress (@The_TUC) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

EU army plans urgently accelerated by Emmanuel Macron in face of Putin’s warmongering hell

Emmanuel Macron has renewed his calls for a collective EU military force in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The French President has long pushed for a collective EU army, saying back in 2018 that European citizens could not be fully protected without a “true, European army”.

Speaking on French national television on Wednesday night, Mr Macron said the Russian invasion had changed the terrain, and the arguments, for a so-called EU army.

He said: “We cannot let others defend ourselves; whether on land, at sea, under the sea, in the air, in space or in cyberspace.”

Adding that “our European defence must take a new step”, the French President, and current EU rotating president, said Europe must “pay the price for peace”.

EU army plans urgently accelerated by Emmanuel Macron in face of Putin’s warmongering hell (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

‘Monstrous provocation’ Russia blames nuclear power plant fire on Ukraine

Russia has blamed the fire which broke out at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant last night on Ukraine. 

Without providing evidence for the claim, Russian Defence officials blamed Ukraine for the fire, calling it a “monstrous provocation”.

Russian forces seized the nuclear power plant in the early hours of this morning and claim to be following the safety guidelines. 

Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “Last night, the Kyiv nationalist regime attempted to implement a monstrous provocation on the territory adjacent to the power plant.”

Ukraine: Fire breaks out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Tara Fair

Death toll in Chernihiv rises to 47

A total of 47 people were killed in Russian airstrikes on a residential district of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine yesterday, local officials say.

Heavy shelling bombarded the city on Thursday, forcing emergency services to pause immediate rescue work in the aftermath of the strikes.

The videos from Chernihiv this evening seem an extreme escalation even by the standards of this hideous Russian campaign – suggest the Aleppo option for Ukrainian cities is very much on the table: pic.twitter.com/39RIdCHwYE

u2014 Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) March 3, 2022

Tara Fair

Brutal fighting continues in Mariupol

Brutal fighting is entering its ninth day in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. 

Mariupol deputy mayor Serhiy Orlov described the situation as “near to a humanitarian catastrophe”.

Heavy shelling continues and one densely populated residential area on the city’s left bank has reportedly been nearly completely destroyed.

Ukrainian forces have kept hold of the strategically important city despite being surrounded on all sides. 

Mariupol is an important strategic target for President Vladimir Putin because capturing it would allow Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine to join forces with troops in Crimea.

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u041cu0430u0440u0456u0443u043fu043eu043bu044c u0432u0436u0435 u0434u0435u0432’u044fu0442u0438u0439 u0434u0435u043du044c u0431u043eu0440u0435u0442u044cu0441u044f u0437 u0440u043eu0441u0456u0439u0441u044cu043au043eu044e u043eu0440u0434u043eu044e. u041fu043eu0441u0442u0456u0439u043du043e u0442u0440u0438u0432u0430u044eu0442u044c u0432u0430u0436u043au0456 u0431u043eu0457. u041fu0440u043eu0442u0435 u0437u0430u0445u0438u0441u043du0438u043au0438 u043cu0456u0441u0442u0430 u043cu0443u0436u043du044cu043e u0431u2019u044eu0442u044cu0441u044f u0437 u043fu0435u0440u0435u0432u0430u0436u0430u044eu0447u0438u043cu0438 u0441u0438u043bu0430u043cu0438 u0432u043eu0440u043eu0433u0430. u041fu043eu043bu043a u0410u0437u043eu0432, u0417u0421u0423, u041cu043eu0440u0441u044cu043au0430 u043fu0456u0445u043eu0442u0430, u041du0413u0423, u0414u041fu0421u0423, u0422u0420u041e, u0421u0411u0423 u0442u0430 u043cu0435u0448u043au0430u043du0446u0456 u043cu0456u0441u0442u0430 u043du0435 u0432u043fu0443u0441u043au0430u044eu0442u044c u0440u043eu0441u0456u0439u0441u044cu043au0456 u043au043eu043bu043eu043du0438 u0432 u043cu0456u0441u0442u043e pic.twitter.com/bsOFiSze8C

u2014 u0410u0417u041eu0412 (@Polk_Azov) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Putin humiliation as ‘flat tyres and mud’ wreak havoc for 40-mile Kyiv invasion convoy

Russian military vehicles trundling towards Kyiv are being delayed by poor maintenance, mud and lack of fuel, experts have claimed.

British and US intelligence said the 40 mile-long convoy, seen heading towards the capital, has been stalled by a combination of Ukraine’s fierce pushback and logistical problems.

Ukraine citizens have been bracing for a savage attack on Kyiv and a bloody siege by Russian forces for days now as satellite imagery showed the convoy making its way to the country’s capital.

However, the convoy has shown little sign of movement over recent days as the armoured vehicles appear to be getting stuck in the mud.

In an intelligence update on Thursday morning, the UK Ministry of Defence said the fleet had made “little discernible progress in over three days” and remains more than 30km from Kyiv.

40 mile-long Russian convoy (Image: MAXAR/GETTY)

Tara Fair

Putin hits panic button as Russia GAGS press with sweeping new powers and 15yr jail threat

Russia has now passed a law making it a criminal offence to “disseminate false information” about the Ukraine invasion, restraining freedom of speech in Moscow.

The Russian Duma has passed legislation allowing 15 year prison sentences for people spreading “false information” about Russian forces.

It comes after Vladimir Putin passed legislation in 2021 against “foreign agents” operating in Russia, which has been used to target journalists and activists.

Those found to have broken the new law by spreading so-called “false information” about the actions of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine face up to three years in prison.

Putin hits panic button as Russia GAGS press with sweeping new powers and 15yr jail threat (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Ministry of Defence intelligence update: ‘intense Russian strikes’

The Ministry of Defence has released an intelligence update on the war in Ukraine, warning of heavy shelling and intense Russian strikes.

Mariupol “remains under Ukrainian control but has likely been encircled by Russian forces”, following reports of heavy shelling. 

The MoD added that the city has been “subjected to intense Russian strikes”.

The update reiterated that “radiation levels remained within normal limits” following an attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

u2014 Ministry of Defence ud83cuddecud83cudde7 (@DefenceHQ) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Putin regime characterised by ‘barbaric behaviour,’ says Truss

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime is characterised by “barbaric behaviour”, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on the fourth anniversary of the Novichok poisonings. 

Ms Truss said: “Four years ago today Russia used Novichok on the streets of Salisbury.

“Barbaric behaviour remains a tactic of the Putin regime: terrorising innocent civilians while continuing to deflect and dodge questions.

“There can be no impunity for their actions.”

Four years ago today Russia used Novichok on the streets of Salisbury. Barbaric behaviour remains a tactic of the Putin regime: terrorising innocent civilians while continuing to deflect and dodge questions. There can be #NoImpunity for their actions.

u2014 Liz Truss (@trussliz) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Ukrainian MP calls for no-fly zone to prevent nuclear disaster

Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik has urged the West to implement a no-fly zone in Ukraine to prevent another nuclear disaster. 

In a Twitter post, she pointed out that more than 8,500,000 people were affected by the radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl tragedy. 

The tragedy claimed the lives of 500,000 people.

“Now, it could happen again,” Ms Rudik warned. 

She said: “Intentionally or unintentionally, Ukrainian nuclear plants are being hit. We need a no-fly zone!”

Ms Rudik is referring to the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia power plant, the largest of its kind in Europe. 

A nuclear disaster there would be 10 times larger than the Chernobyl tragedy. 

In 1986, #Chernobyl tragedy happened. Over 8,500,000 were affected by radiation, 500,000 died, 600,000 were liquidating the results of the explosion.

Now, it could happen again.

Intentionally or unintentionally, Ukrainian nuclear plants u2622ufe0f are being hit.

We need #NoFlyZone! pic.twitter.com/llBHLeZ9Ww

u2014 Kira Rudik (@kiraincongress) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Hungary PM Orban calls sanctions ‘double-edged weapon’

Hungary has supported European Union sanctions against Russia but its own economy will be also inevitably impacted by them, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Mr Orban said the first hit to the Hungarian economy was the Sberbank’s shutting down its European operations earlier this week, where many clients including companies lost their money.

“Sanctions have a price as it is a double-edged weapon, and we will pay this price in the short term,” he noted. 

He explained that the government has to work to mitigate the direct damage from the measures against Russia.

“This is only the beginning of this crisis,” he added.

Mr Orban faces parliamentary elections on April 3 where he will seek a fourth consecutive term.

Hungary PM Orban calls sanctions ‘double-edged weapon’ (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Editor in chief of RT quits in protest over Ukraine

Maria Baronova, the editor in chief of RT’s Russian-language edition, resigned from the outlet in protest of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She said: “Our grandfathers didn’t fight for this, everything was betrayed.

“If I chose to be with Russia, this doesn’t mean that I should walk in a totalitarian system, be silent.

“And if I chose to be with Russia, this does not mean that I for example, rejoice that the regime, which I do not want for my country, is being exported somewhere else.

“And this regime will finally turn our life into one endless hell.”

Editor in chief of RT quits in protest over Ukraine (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Nuclear power plant attack ‘reckless bombardment’, says Raab

The Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was “reckless”, British deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said. 

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Raab said: “The fact that the Russians kept bombarding it after there was the fire and the Ukrainian emergency rescue team were trying to get to that, makes it doubly reprehensible.”

Dominic Raab MP says Russia’s attack on Europe’s largest nuclear plant was a “reckless bombardment” of a ‘dangerous facility’ and the fact that they kept shelling after it set on fire “makes it doubly reprehensible.”https://t.co/X3flQUBL0r

ud83dudcfa Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 pic.twitter.com/pQIQfvhsIm

u2014 Sky News (@SkyNews) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Zaporizhzhia disaster would be x10 larger than Chernobyl

Ukrainian Foreign Affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba warned a disaster at the Zaporizhzhia power plant would be 10 times larger than the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, Chernobyl. 

In the early hours of this morning, a fire broke out at the plant amid shelling and fighting. 

Mr Kuleba said: “Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

“Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl!

“Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!”

The fire has since been brought under control but Ukrainian officials worry safety regulations will not be followed, endangering lives. 

Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!

u2014 Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 4, 2022

Tara Fair

Good morning

Good morning from London. I’m Tara Fair, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on Russia and Ukraine for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: Tara.fair@reachplc.com

Twitter: @TaraFair_

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