A fire that broke out after heavy shelling by Russian forces at one of Europe’s largest nuclear power plants was extinguished early Friday as key Ukrainian cities came under attack from invading troops.
What you need to know today:
Nuclear power plant fire extinguished: A fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant initially raised fears of a possible accident, but the fire has since been extinguished. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said the reactors at the plant were safe and no radioactive material had been released.
But IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said it was “unprecedented” to operate a nuclear power plant while military operations were raging nearby.
reproaches fly: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy led a chorus of leaders condemning the Kremlin for deliberately firing at the plant. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the clashes at the nuclear facility showed “the ruthlessness of this war”, while British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “it is very difficult to believe that this was not done on purpose”.
And Ukraine’s nuclear operator said management is now working “at gunpoint.”
The Russian Defense Ministry rejected these allegations. A spokesman said his forces took control of the plant and the adjacent area on Monday, but were attacked by a “Ukrainian sabotage group” early Friday morning.
The Russian government has routinely and without evidence claimed that the Ukrainian government is staging “provocations” to provoke a military response from Western governments.
Key cities under attack: Russia besieges the key Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The deputy mayor of the southeastern city said it was “surrounded” by Russian forces and was in urgent need of military and humanitarian assistance.
In north-eastern Ukraine, 34 civilians were killed in 24 hours by Russian attacks on the Kharkiv region, rescue services said on Thursday. Kharkiv mayor said the Russian military is “deliberately trying to eliminate the Ukrainian people” as it targets civilian spaces. Russian troops are also advancing towards Odessa, the strategically important city on the south coast.
The talks end without a breakthrough: A Ukrainian negotiator said Thursday that a second round of talks with Russia had failed to yield results Ukraine needed.
However, both sides agreed on humanitarian corridors for civilians. Zelensky said the world will see today if these corridors work.
Growing humanitarian crisis: The UN estimates that more than 10 million people could flee their homes in Ukraine, including 4 million who could cross the border into neighboring countries. More than 1 million have already fled. want to help? You can learn how to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine Here.