March 4 (Reuters) – Russian forces seized Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine after fierce fighting which set ablaze an adjacent training facility, a local authority said. The fire was extinguished. Read full story
* No sign of radiation leak
Essential equipment at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was unaffected after the fire, with no change in radiation levels, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. Read full story
* ‘Europeans, please wake up’ – Zelenskiy
Ukrainian President Zelenskiy decried the assault on the nuclear plant, saying Russian tanks had shot at reactor blocks, without citing evidence that they had been hit. “Europeans, please wake up. Tell your politicians – Russian troops are shooting at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine,” he said in a video message. Read full story
* Russia blames attack at the nuclear plant on Ukrainian saboteurs
Russia’s defence ministry blamed Ukraine for the clash at the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, saying Ukrainian saboteurs had attacked a Russian military patrol on territory adjacent to the plant. Read full story
*Stop fighting around the nuclear plant – Biden
U.S. President Biden and British Prime Minister Johnson spoke separately with Zelenskiy about the fire. The White House said Biden urged Russia to “cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site.” China also called on “on all sides to exercise restraint, avoid escalation and ensure the safety of relevant nuclear facilities.”
*Port city of Mariupol encircled, bombarded, UK says
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. Read full story
*One million refugees
More than 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine in just seven days, the United Nations said.
*‘According to plan,’ Putin says “I want to say that the special military operation is proceeding strictly in line with the timetable. According to plan. All the tasks that have been set are being successfully resolved,” he said on television.
* Fake news?
Russia’s communications watchdog restricted access to BBC Russian service as well as Radio Liberty and the Meduza media outlet, the RIA news agency reported. Read full story
*Google pulls ads in Russia
Google said it had stopped selling online advertising in Russia, a ban that covers search, YouTube and outside publishing partners. Sneaker maker Nike and home furnishings firm IKEA shut down stores in Russia.
*France’s Macron tells Putin: ‘You are lying to yourself’
In a phone call to French President Macron, Putin reiterated that he was seeking the “de-nazification of Ukraine”. According to a French presidential adviser, Macron replied: “You are lying to yourself.”
*MARKETS: Stocks slide, oil jumps
Asian equities and the euro weakened while oil prices jumped as investors took fright over reports of the fire at the nuclear plant. Read full story
(Editing by Stephen Coates & Simon Cameron-Moore)
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman, Lincoln Feast and Alex Richardson)