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Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 4

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A view shows thermal power plant destroyed by shelling, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in the town of Okhtyrka in the Sumy region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 4, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

For the latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, all times EST:

11:43 p.m.: The New York Times obtained and verified video from inside the nuclear power plant that Russian forces attacked on Friday morning.

11:02 p.m.: Among African students evacuated from Ukraine when Russia attacked were hundreds of Ghanaians, some of them arriving back home this week. But just an hour from the border with Russia, a number of Ghanaian and other African students are sheltering underground while waiting for a safe escape. VOA's Senanu Tord reports from Accra, Ghana.

Ghana Evacuating Students From Ukraine
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10:35 p.m.: The BBC reports that social media app Telegram will block Russian state media from using its services in Europe.

9 p.m.: Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Poland and Romania next week, her office said Friday.

She will meet with the two countries’ leaders to discuss the continued support for Ukraine “through security, economic, and humanitarian assistance and our determination to impose severe economic consequences on Russia and those complicit in Russia’s invasion,” the announcement from her office said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a media conference in Brussels, March 4, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a media conference in Brussels, March 4, 2022.

7:49 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that Russian forces "are increasingly using brutal methods in Ukraine, including going at civilian populations."

His comments followed a Russian attack on a Ukrainian nuclear plant — the largest facility of its kind in Europe — that had sparked a fire in a building at the plant compound.

"We are faced together with what is [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin's war of choice: unprovoked, unjustified, and a war that is having horrific, horrific consequences."

7:22 p.m.: President Joe Biden met the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. They discussed strengthening bilateral relations and ensuring strong defense and deterrence in northern Europe.

The leaders also discussed ongoing transatlantic coordination to impose costs on Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified military invasion of Ukraine, and their respective efforts to provide security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

The presidents committed to start a process that would strengthen U.S.-Finnish security cooperation, which would be conducted in close consultation with other Nordic countries. And they discussed the importance of NATO’s Open Door policy. Finland is not currently a NATO member.

6:45 p.m.: From Current Time Documentaries:

Patients and medical staff at Ukraine's largest children's hospital have been forced to shelter in the building's basement as Russian forces continue to shell and advance on Kyiv. Among those being treated in the makeshift medical bunker at Okhmatdyt Hospital are children recovering from operations, young cancer patients, and newborn babies. The footage was filmed on March 1 by a Ukrainian documentary maker who wishes to remain anonymous.

FILE - A unit of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, is pictured June 12, 2008. Part of the plant was on fire early March 4, 2022, after a Russian attack, the mayor of a nearby Ukraine city said.
FILE - A unit of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, is pictured June 12, 2008. Part of the plant was on fire early March 4, 2022, after a Russian attack, the mayor of a nearby Ukraine city said.

4:53 p.m.: The reactors at Ukraine's largest nuclear plant were not affected during a Russian attack on the site in the early hours Friday.

"We confirm through our contacts at the regulator, but also directly from plant — we were able to confirm that no security or safety systems have been compromised, neither of the reactors themselves have been hit by this projectile," IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

IAEA Chief: Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant Safe After Russian Strike

Unusually, the nuclear watchdog chief spoke by video connection from an airplane. He said he was on a flight to Iran to deal with outstanding nuclear issues there.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen participate in a media conference prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, March 4, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen participate in a media conference prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, March 4, 2022.

4:17 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Friday with leaders of the European Union, pledging with them to keep up the pressure on Russia with sanctions in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting, the top U.S. diplomat said what is at risk with Russia's invasion — along with the lives of Ukrainians — are fundamental principles of peace and security that the world established during two world wars, which Russian President Vladimir Putin "is egregiously violating every single day."

Top US Diplomat, EU Leaders Agree to Continue Pressure on Moscow

3:11 p.m.: The head of Russia’s space agency has threatened to end service to the International Space Station and may curtail cooperation on the station because of Western sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

“We can't supply the United States with our world's best rocket engines. Let them fly on something else, their broomsticks, I don't know what,” Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said.

3:05 p.m.: Russia blocks access to Facebook and Twitter. It said it took the action following “26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources by Facebook.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, social media companies have taken measures to restrict access to Russian state media.

2:40 p.m.: White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki distances Biden administration from Senator Lindsey Graham’s comment calling for Vladimir Putin’s assassination, reports VOA White House bureau chief Patsy Widakuswara.

2:20 p.m.: White House says President Joe Biden spoke Friday with Poland’s Andrezej Duda, thanked Duda and Polish people for hosting nearly 700,000 refugees from Ukraine. Says Biden also reiterated U.S. commitment to security of Poland and all NATO allies. U.S. currently has about 9,000 military personnel in Poland to assure eastern NATO members.

2:05 p.m.: Pentagon spokesman says Russian forces attacking area near Ukraine’s Odessa, reports VOA’s Jeff Seldin:

12:35 p.m.: Besheer reports: Russian ambassador to U.N. rejects accusations that Russia created dangerous situation during seizure of Zaporizhzhya nuclear facility.

12:30 p.m.: U.N. Human Rights Council to create commission of inquiry on Russia invasion of Ukraine. Only Russia and Eritrea vote against.

12:13 p.m.: Besheer reports: US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield calls on Russia to avoid repeat of attack on nuclear plant.

12:06 p.m.: Head of International Atomic Energy Agency confirms Zaporizhzhya nuclear facility unaffected after Russian attack and takeover, per VOA’s United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer.

11:52 a.m.: The BBC suspends the work of its journalists in Russia, citing new law that makes it illegal to spread “fake” news about armed forces.

11:45 a.m.: U.N. Security Council holding emergency meeting on Russia’s takeover of Zaporizhzhya nuclear facility in Ukraine. U.N. Under Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo says, “Military operations around nuclear sites and other critical infrastructure are not only unacceptable but highly irresponsible.”

11:11 a.m.: VOA responded Friday after the Russian government blocked access inside the country to VOA's Russian-language news site, www.golosameriki.com.

In a statement, VOA Acting director Yolanda Lopez said audiences in Russia “deserve access to factual news content” and said VOA supports ways of bypassing the Russian blocking efforts.

Russia had warned it would cut off access to the site unless VOA removed news content that reported on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

10:57 a.m.: Some Russians and Ukrainians seeking asylum are trying to enter the United States through its southern neighbor, according to Reuters.

10:40 a.m.: The International Organization for Migration said Friday the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine has now topped 1.25 million. About half of the refugees have gone to Poland.

People who left Ukraine, wait for a bus to take them to the train station in Przemysl, at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, March 4, 2022.
People who left Ukraine, wait for a bus to take them to the train station in Przemysl, at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, March 4, 2022.
A woman fleeing from Ukraine looks out a bus window as she arrives at a temporary shelter run by the municipality and the Baptist Charity in Tiszabecs, Hungary, March 4, 2022.
A woman fleeing from Ukraine looks out a bus window as she arrives at a temporary shelter run by the municipality and the Baptist Charity in Tiszabecs, Hungary, March 4, 2022.
A firefighter helps refugees fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, March 4, 2022.
A firefighter helps refugees fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, March 4, 2022.

10:25 a.m.: Senior US defense official says Russians have not advanced closer to Kyiv, reports VOA’s national security correspondent Jeff Seldin. Official also says Ukrainians still control port city of Mariupol.

10:03 a.m.: VOA’s national security correspondent Jeff Seldin reports a growing number of countries are giving security support to Ukraine:

9:31 a.m.: The president of Belarus says his country’s troops are not involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Ukraine said Tuesday that Belarus had joined the invasion, but a U.S. defense official later told reporters that “we’ve seen no indication of that.”

8:45 a.m.: VOA’s Margareet Besheer reports the U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting late Friday morning in New York, following a request from Britain, the United States and four other countries to discuss the Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear facility in Ukraine.

U.N. nuclear chief Rafael Grossi says no damage was done to the nuclear reactors at Zaporizhzhya when a projectile hit a building, according to Reuters. Grossi said he thought the projectile was Russian. Russia’s defense minister has blamed the attack on Ukrainian saboteurs.

U.N. and Ukrainian officials say a huge fire that burned at the site has been extinguished and no radiation was released. Russian troops have taken control of the site but the plant’s staff continue to ensure normal operations.

This image made from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows bright flaring object landing in grounds of the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, March 4, 2022.
This image made from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows bright flaring object landing in grounds of the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, March 4, 2022.

7:15 a.m. A British newspaper says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy survived at least three assassination attempts this week:

7:o3 a.m.: The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine tweeted its condemnation of Russia's shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant:

5:53 a.m.: Protest in Indonesia.

Protesters hold banners denouncing Russia's invasion of Ukraine in front of the Russian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 4, 2022.
Protesters hold banners denouncing Russia's invasion of Ukraine in front of the Russian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 4, 2022.

5:42 a.m.: The Associated Press reports three Ukrainian troops were killed when Russia attacked the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

5:25 a.m.: Countries across Asia are condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Some key Asian countries are even joining international sanctions against Moscow. As VOA’s Bill Gallo reports, it is not just U.S. allies that are concerned.

Many Asian Countries Condemn Russia’s War in Ukraine
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4:55 a.m.: Ukraine tells its people to be on guard against fake news, warning the Russians will likely begin such a campaign soon.

Russia, meanwhile, will introduce prison terms for spreading fake news about the army, Al Jazeera reports.

4:30 a.m.: Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, holds a press conference on the situation at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

3:56 a.m.: NBC News reports that Russian troops have surrounded the city of Mariupol.

3:25 a.m.: China has rejected a report that said its officials told their Russian counterparts to delay an invasion of Ukraine until after the Beijing Winter Olympics. Experts say the flap indicates Chinese leaders could have known an attack was coming and that such a discovery would taint China’s reputation in the West. VOA's Ralph Jennings has the story.

3 a.m.: A show of support at the Western Wall:

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wrapped in Ukrainian and Israeli national flags prays at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City, March 4, 2022.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wrapped in Ukrainian and Israeli national flags prays at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City, March 4, 2022.

2:30 a.m.: Ukraine says the Russians now have control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Reuters has the story.

The international community has concerns about nuclear power plants in war zones. VOA explains why.

1:58 a.m.: The BBC reports that Airbnb is suspending operations in Russia and Belarus. The American company lets property owners rent their homes to travelers.

12:46 a.m.: Ukraine's State Emergency Service says the nuclear power plant fire is out, and there were no victims.

12:31 a.m.: The fire at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is out, Reuters reports.

12:26 a.m.: More than 1 million Ukrainians have fled the country in the first week of Russia's invasion, according to the United Nations, with over 500,000 crossing into Poland. A further million are internally displaced within Ukraine. The EU predicts that up to 7 million Ukrainians could leave in the coming weeks. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has the story.

12:13 a.m.: NBC News reports that volunteers are crossing the Polish border into Ukraine to fight the Russians.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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