Boris Johnson calls emergency meeting of UN Security Council over claims of nuclear plant shelling - Google suspends online advertising sales in Russia - Reuters - Panama Canal Administration will not prevent passage of Russian ships
00:00 EST update:
Fire contained at Zaporozhye NPP site - emergency service
"The fire in the training building (having 60x40 m size) of the Zaporozhye NPP in the city of Energodar was contained on the area of 2,000 sq m at 05.55 am " the Service said.
23:00 EST update:
Panama Canal Administration will not prevent passage of Russian ships
"The Panama Canal is the permanently neutral international transit waterway," the agency said, citing the document. "The Canal remains safe and open for peaceful transit of vessels of all nations on conditions of full equality either in peace time or in war time," it added.
22:00 EST update:
Boris Johnson calls emergency meeting of UN Security Council over claims of nuclear plant shelling
Boris Johnson, speaking to president Zelenskyy, said he would call an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in the coming hours over the situation around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, his press office said.
21:45 EST update:
Google suspends online advertising sales in Russia - Reuters
US-based Google has suspended search engine advertising sales on its platforms on the Russian territory, Reuters said, citing the company’s statement.
"In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia," the company said. "The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate," Google added.
The ban applies to search, YouTube and third party publishing partners, Reuters reported.
What we know so far about the fire:
21:30 EST update:
IAEA says fire at site of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has not affected “essential” equipment, plant personnel taking mitigatory actions.
21:00 EST update:
One Unit of the Zaporizhzhia Plant Has Been Switched Off - State Emergency Service
"As of 2:26 a.m. [00:26 GMT] the third unit of the Zaporizhzhia NPP in the city of Enerhodar has been switched off. The fire condition at the nuclear power plant is normal. Outside the territory of the nuclear power plant, a fire broke out in the training building," the service wrote on its Telegram channel.
A spokesperson for the NPP said that the radiation level at the site had not changed.
IMPORTANT: Speaking on air on "Ukraine-24" TV channel, the representative of the press service of the nuclear power plant located in eastern Ukraine, Andriy Tuz, added that there was no threat of radiation propagation.
- So far only the administrative building is on fire;
- About how to enter the power unit is known only from the words of the press officer Andrey Tuz. There is no other confirmation yet
- From those videos that are available, it can be seen that two lighting rockets flew into the parking lot of the nuclear power plant. And also that someone opened fire in the vicinity of the building from below (perhaps its own air defense system).
- Experts say that the nuclear power plant's power unit is a super-protected facility, designed for direct bomb hits. And designed so that at the slightest danger, the reactor shuts down automatically (it can also be shut down manually).
On Thursday, Russia and Ukraine continue their military actions. However, the high representatives of both countries pointed out that a new round of talks will take place tomorrow in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on the Belarus-Poland border. Below are the main developments of the conflict as they occur.
Russia and Ukraine agree on humanitarian corridors. During the second round of talks, the Ukrainian and Russian delegations agreed to create humanitarian corridors to facilitate the evacuation of the population out of the zones where there are military actions.
To facilitate the formation of these humanitarian corridors, the parties to the conflict will organize "in the very near future" special communication and interaction channels as well as appropriate logistical procedures.
“The key points on the agenda are an immediate ceasefire, an armistice, and humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from destroyed or constantly bombed cities and towns,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podoliak tweeted previously.
France seizes two Russian ships and immobilizes another three. In compliance with European sanctions, France has seized the Baltic Leader ship and the Amore Vero yacht owned by Igor Stechin, head of the oil company Rosneft. French authorities also keep three Russian freighters immobilized in the ports of Fos sur Mer, Saint Malo and Lorient.
Zelensky asks to negotiate directly with Putin. During a press conference on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he wanted to negotiate directly with President Putin "because it is the only way to stop this war." The Ukrainian leader said he was ready to address "all issues" at that high-level dialogue.
The tweet reads, "The parties reached an understanding on the joint provision of humanitarian corridors with a temporary ceasefire, Mikhail Podolyak said."
Europe will grant protection to people fleeing Ukraine. French Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that European interior ministers have decided to grant "temporary protection" to those "fleeing the war" in Ukraine.
However, it is not known whether this benefit would apply to all people fleeing from Ukraine. Within the European Union, countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria oppose this possibility.
Canada will revoke the "Most Favored Nation" status of Russia and Belarus. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that her Canada will impose import tariffs of 35 percent on goods from Russia and Belarus. These two countries "will no longer benefit from the advantages, in particular low customs tariffs, that Canada offers to other member countries of the World Trade Organization," she said, calling on other countries to do the same.
Defense Minister Anita Anand announced that Canada would send Ukraine 4,500 rocket launchers, 7,500 hand grenades, and US$1 million to purchase satellite equipment.
The Ukrainian delegation arrives in Belarus. Following a strict security protocol, the Ukrainian delegation arrived in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park on Thursday morning for the second round of negotiations with Moscow.
“On Feb. 28, the first round of Russian-Ukrainian talks took place in the Gomel region, lasting five hours,” agency TASS recalled, adding that “the Russian delegation was ready to speak with the Ukrainian side for as long as it may take to reach agreements.”
The delegations of Russia and Ukraine have already started their second round of negotiations.
Foreign forces support the Zelensky regime. Hours before the start of the second round of talks, President Vladimir Zelensky announced that 16,000 "foreign volunteers" had arrived to fight alongside Ukrainian forces. He also acknowledged that Ukraine gets "more and more" weapons from its Western partners.
Russia halts rocket engine deliveries to the United States. State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced that Russia decided to cease deliveries of rocket engines to the United States in response to a new wave of Western sanctions related to the Ukraine conflict.
Russia captures building of Kherson regional administration. The head of the Kherson regional administration Gennady Laguta announced that Russian forces seized the local government building on Thursday. The Kherson regional operational headquarters continues to work and address pressing issues to help residents of the region. Currently, the Kherson region is waiting for humanitarian aid.
Over 874,000 people fled Ukraine in less than a week. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHC) estimates that over 874,000 people left Ukraine during the first week of the armed conflict.
If the humanitarian situation does not change, up to 4 million more people could leave Ukraine in the coming weeks the countries that have received the most refugees so far are Poland (453,982), Hungary (116,348), Moldova (79,315), Slovakia (67,000), Romania (44,540), and Russia (42,900).
Russia's external debt rating deteriorates. Fitch and Moody's downgraded Russia to the category of a country at risk of not being able to pay its debt. Moody's downgraded its long-term debt rating to B3 from Baa3, while Fitch downgraded it to B from BBB. These ratings place Russian debt in the speculative investment category.
President Vladimir Putin's administration will be less likely to secure external funding due to sanctions that bar Moscow from accessing European capital markets and prevent U.S. investors from buying new Russian debt.
Russia accuses the West of thinking about nuclear war. Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced that the leaders of Western countries are thinking of unleashing a nuclear war against Russia.
"Everyone knows that a Third World War can only be nuclear. I point out to you that this is in the minds of Western politicians, not in the minds of the Russians," he said, alluding to comments by French diplomat Jean-Yves Le Drian and British Foreign Affairs Minister Elizabeth Truss, who alluded to "nuclear deterrence."
Faced with the possibility that the United States or its European allies are planning a war against Russia, Lavrov warned of the consequences of such a strategy, telling them "you should think it over... We will not let anyone destabilize us."
Zelensky says that Russia will pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. In a message with a categorical tone, President Volodymyr Zelensky assured that Russia must bear all the costs of the reconstruction of his country.
"We are going to rebuild every building, every street, every city. We say to Russia: 'Learn the word 'reparations'... It will pay us in full for everything it did against our State and against all Ukrainians," he said, as reported by French outlet Le Monde.
Bachelet warns about the nuclear threat. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet pointed out that the Russia-Ukraine conflict makes the nuclear threat a real risk. "The raising of the alert level for nuclear weapons underscores the seriousness of the risks that weigh on all of humanity," she said.
The Ukrainian delegation is heading for talks with Russia. “We are on the way to negotiations with the Russian Federation. Already in the helicopter,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhaïlo Podoliak tweeted, attaching a photo showing him in the cockpit of a helicopter.