NATO chief says Russia has used cluster bombs in Ukraine
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that NATO has “seen the use of cluster bombs” by Russia in Ukraine.
Speaking at a NATO meeting in Brussels, he said Russia’s invasion was “a blatant violation of international law.”
“We have seen the use of cluster bombs, we have seen reports of use of other types of weapons which will be in violation of international law,” he said.
“And of course NATO and NATO allies and partners are collecting information and monitoring very closely what is going on in Ukraine,” he added.
His comments come after Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, said Russia had used a vacuum bomb Monday in its invasion of Ukraine.
“They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention,” Markarova had said at the time after briefing U.S. Congress members.
A vacuum bomb uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion, which can produce a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than that of a conventional explosive.
A woman stands next to rescuers amid the debris of a school building destroyed by shelling in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, on Friday.
More explosions heard in Kyiv in sign assault is intensifying
Up to a dozen explosions were heard in downtown Kyiv on Friday morning and air raid sirens wailed, in an apparent sign Russian missile strikes on and around the capital were intensifying.
Reuters witnesses in the centre of the city of 3.4 million people could not immediately confirm the cause of the blasts, but they were more frequent than in recent days and some were louder. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
While no major assault has been launched on Kyiv yet, the capital has been shelled and Russian forces unleashed fierce firepower to try to break resistance in the nearby town of Borodyanka.
Drone footage from the town to the northwest of Kyiv on Thursday showed flattened houses and a badly damaged apartment block, with some homes charred and still on fire. Burned out military vehicles littered a main road.
In Kyiv’s Borshchahivka neighbourhood, some 18km (11 miles) west of the centre, the twisted metal remnants of a missile, which Ukrainian air defences apparently downed overnight, lay in the middle of a street a few meters from a bus station.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a flag-raising ceremony on the ferry Marshal Rokossovsky via a video link at his residence outside Moscow on Friday.
Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby says ‘no radioactive leakage’ at Ukraine nuclear plant
Pentagon press secretary Adm. John Kirby said Friday that the U.S. agrees with assessments that there was “no radioactive leakage” from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant and that the damage at the plant has been “fairly limited.”
Kirby, who made the comment in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said the Pentagon is working closely with the Department of Energy to assess the damage. He said the attack on the plant by Russians “speaks to the recklessness and the dangerous atmosphere and fear inside Ukraine caused by this unprovoked war of aggression, this unprovoked invasion by Russia.”
The spokesman said Russians have not been discriminate in their military campaign and the situation regarding the power plant is “an example of just how dangerous this can get not just for the people of Ukraine, but for the European continent.”
Nuclear power plant attack could have killed millions, Ukrainian lawmaker says
The Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could have killed as many as 3 million people and affected more than 51 million, according to a Ukrainian lawmaker.
“I want to put the nuclear power plant attack in context. 6x bigger than #Chernobyl means: 51,000,000 people affected by radiation, 3,000,000 dead. Not just in Ukraine. Across the world,” Lesia Vasylenko said in a tweet Friday morning.
She was echoing President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy, who said in a video earlier Friday that the attack could have caused a disaster six times larger than Chernobyl in 1986, widely regarded as the worst recorded nuclear accident.
Citizens in the city of Lviv, in the west of Ukraine about 40 miles from the Polish border, are preparing to fight the Russian invasion in any way they can.
A man finishes gluing a huge billboard depicting a serviceman that says “A Russian soldier is a liberator!” in the city center of Simferopol, Crimea, on Friday.
Putin says Russia’s neighbors should not escalate tensions
President Vladimir Putin urged Russia’s neighbors on Friday not to escalate tensions, eight days after Moscow sent its forces into Ukraine.
“There are no bad intentions toward our neighbors. And I would also advise them not to escalate the situation, not to introduce any restrictions. We fulfill all our obligations and will continue to fulfill them,” Putin said in televised remarks.
“We do not see any need here to aggravate or worsen our relations. And all our actions, if they arise, they always arise exclusively in response to some unfriendly actions, actions against the Russian Federation.”
Putin was shown on TV taking part online, from his residence outside Moscow, in a flag-raising ceremony for a ferry in northern Russia.
Russia blocks foreign media outlets including BBC, Voice of America
Russia has blocked a series of foreign media outlets, the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported on Friday.
Broadcasters including BBC, Deutsche Welle, and Voice of America have been taken off air, while Russia’s state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said that the websites of Voice of America, the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Meduza and Radio Liberty had also been blocked.
On Friday, Deutsche Welle was completely unavailable while BBC’s availability was at 17 percent on GlobalCheck, an independent service which researches internet censorship in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), of which both Russia and Ukraine are a part.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie said Wednesday that the BBC News website was witnessing an increase of more than 250 percent in the past week alone in Russia. The BBC also launched two shortwave frequencies to broadcast its World Service radio coverage to Ukraine and parts of Russia.
A woman stands next to rescuers amidst the debris of a school building destroyed by shelling in Zhytomyr, Ukraine on Friday.
Zelensky urges Russia to remember Chernobyl: ‘How can you forget it?’
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video Friday morning that the Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could have led to a tragedy for Ukraine and for Europe and appealed to the Russian forces to remember history.
Speaking in Russian, he said: “Together in 1986 we struggled with the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. You must remember the burning graphite scattered by the explosion, the victims. You must remember the glow above the destroyed power unit. You must remember the evacuation from Pripyat and the 30km (18.5 miles) zone. How can you forget it?,” he said.
“And if you have not forgotten, then you cannot be silent, you must tell your authorities, go out to the streets and say that you want to live. You want to live on earth without radioactive contamination. Radiation does not know where Russia is, radiation does not know where the borders of your country are,” the leader added.
Three dead in Russia attack on nuclear power plant, Ukraine says
Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed after Russian forces had shelled the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant, the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company said on its Telegram channel Friday.
Two more soldiers were wounded — one was said to be in a critical condition. No staff at the station were injured.
Yesterday evening local time, Russian occupiers stormed through the entrance of the nuclear power plant, and began firing on it, the company said. The nuclear facilities remain undamaged and intact.
“Zaporizhzhya NPP is many times more powerful and dangerous than Chernobyl,” said Ruslan Stefanchuk, chair of Ukraine’s Parliament. “Russian occupation forces are deliberately shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.”
Moscow Stock Exchange remains shut for fifth consecutive day
Moscow Stock Exchange was closed Friday, making it the fifth consecutive day of not trading as it tries to protect local stocks from immediate sale.
The Bank of Russia announced in a statement that there would be no trading, with only limited exceptions allowed.
Russian companies listed in foreign stock exchanges continued to plummet on Thursday. The London Stock Exchange suspended trading for 27 Russian-linked companies on Thursday, its CEO David Schwimmer told CNBC.
The Exchange’s opening hours for Saturday will be announced at 9.00 a.m. local time on Saturday (1 a.m. ET), the bank said.
Stanislav, 40, says goodbye to his son David, 2, and his wife Anna, 35, on a train to Lviv at Kyiv station, Ukraine on Thursday.
Russian troops surround Mariupol, city faces intense strikes, officials say
Russian troops have encircled the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, as confirmed by the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence.
Although there have been recurring attacks from Russian forces, a strategic city on the Azov Sea still remains under Ukraine’s control, officials said.
The city’s “civilian infrastructure has been subjected to intense Russian strikes,” the ministry said in a tweet.
In an update posted to Facebook on Friday morning, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that, “having a significant advantage in technique, the enemy surrounded Mariupol.”
As Russian forces have advanced, there have been reports of residents being cut off from water, power and food supply in the city, according to Reuters.
Russian forces occupy nuclear power plant in Ukraine after shelling
Russian military forces have occupied Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine after a night of heavy shelling, the State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation has confirmed.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant remained intact, and though there was damage to the reactor compartment of one unit, it did not affect the unit’s safety, the state inspectorate said on Facebook, according to an NBC News translation.
A fire broke out at a training facility at the plant after Russian shelling earlier Friday, sparking concerns that an explosion at the facility could be worse than the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. It was later extinguished.
The plant’s personnel are monitoring the condition of the units, and no changes in radiation status have been recorded, the state office said.