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Russia's invasion of Ukraine: Russia's military attack on Ukraine entered the ninth day on Friday when Russian troops announced that they had taken control of Europe's biggest nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia. 

Russia has already taken over the strategic port city of Kherson.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP (nuclear [power plant), 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!"

Zelenskyy said he has informed the leaders of the United States, Britain, EU and the International Atomic Energy Agency about the possibility of nuclear disaster. The IAEA said the fire has not affected essential equipment

“If there is an explosion – that’s the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe," Zelenskyy said

Russia already controls Ukraine’s defunct Chernobyl nuclear facility, site of a major disaster in 1986, and its forces had been closing in on Zaporizhzhia for days, with the IAEA voicing mounting concerns over the safety of the country’s nuclear installations as fighting escalated.

Russian troops are encircling Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, while continuing attempts to advance on the port city of Mariupol in the south.

Russia seizes nuclear power plant in Ukraine

Russian forces on Friday occupied the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant after an attack that ignited a fire at the complex. Moscow's shelling had caused a blaze at a training complex in the Zaporizhzhia plant in the east of the country overnight, but emergency services extinguished it and there were no casualties. 

We don't seek conflict with Russia but we are ready for it: US

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said NATO will defend all its allies and territory against a Russian attack. "Ours is a defensive alliance. We seek no conflict. But if conflict comes to us we are ready for it and we will defend every inch of NATO territory," he told reporters.

"And overnight, we've also seen reports about the attack against a nuclear power plant. This just demonstrates the recklessness of this war and the importance of ending it and the importance of Russia withdrawing all its troops and engaging in good faith in diplomatic efforts."

Intel, Airbnb suspend operation in Russia and Belarus

Intel and Airbnb announced they were pausing business in Russia and Belarus on Thursday.

Apple has already halted all product sales in Russia and limited the use of Apple Pay, while Facebook, YouTube and Microsoft have moved to curb the reach of Russian state-linked news outlets.

"Intel condemns the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and we have suspended all shipments to customers in both Russia and Belarus," the chipmaker said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by this war."

Airbnb's co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky tweeted that the company "is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus," without giving further details.

Australia freezes $33 million in Russian funds

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

Australia has imposed sanctions against more than 350 Russian individuals including President Vladimir Putin. Australia has also targeted with sanctions 13 Belarus entities and individuals including Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin.

London Stock Exchanges suspends more Russian firms

The London Stock Exchange on Friday said 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.

Mariupol under Ukraine control but subject to intense strikes: UK

The southeastern port city of Mariupol remains under Ukrainian control but it has been encircled by Russian forces and subjected to intense strikes, Britain said in an intelligence update on Friday.

"Mariupol remains under Ukrainian control but has likely been encircled by Russian forces," the Ministry of Defence said. "The city's civilian infrastructure has been subjected to intense Russian strikes."

US should recognize Taiwan as Ukraine war fares: Pompeo

The U.S. should immediately move toward recognizing Taiwan as a country, former U.S. Secretary of State and potential presidential candidate Mike Pompeo said in Taipei.

“It is imperative to change 50 years of ambiguity…While the U.S. should continue to engage with the People’s Republic of China as a sovereign government, America’s diplomatic recognition of the 23 million freedom-loving Taiwanese people and its legal, democratically elected government can no longer be ignored and avoided," he said in a speech on Friday, referring to the official name of the government in Beijing.

Russia restricts access to BBC, DW, Radio Free Europe

Russia has restricted access to the BBC, the independent news website Meduza, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, and the Russian-language website of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Svoboda. Roskomnadzor, a federal executive agency responsible for monitoring, controlling and censoring Russian mass media, said the request was filed on February 24, the day Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered invasion of Ukraine.

Valery Fadeyev, the head of the Kremlin's human rights council accused Western media of being behind "a huge flow of false information that comes from Ukraine" and said the council had set up a project to stop it.

 

 

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