Russia has stepped up its assaults on major Ukrainian cities as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleads for increased international aid and called on NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
It’s just past 3 a.m. ET in the Ukrainian capital. If you’re just reading now, here’s where things stand:
Nuclear power plant on fire: A few moments ago, an official announced that the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia was on fire.
So far, firefighters are unable to reach the fire according to Dmytro Orlov, the mayor of the nearby town of Enerhodar.
Ukraine-Russia talks end without breakthrough: A Ukrainian negotiator said on Thursday that a second round of talks with Russia had not yielded the results Ukraine needed.
“Unfortunately, the results that Ukraine needs have not yet been achieved. There is no solution except for the organization of humanitarian corridors,” said senior Ukrainian official Mykhailo Podolyak. in a tweet after the end of the talks.
However, humanitarian corridors for civilians were agreed during the talks.
Key cities under attack: Russia besieges the key Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov told CNN the southeastern city was “surrounded” by Russian forces and desperately needed military and humanitarian aid.
“Our Ukrainian army and national guard are very brave, they stand up and fight for Ukraine, for Mariupol. But the situation is quite critical,” Orlov said Thursday.
In northeastern Ukraine, 34 civilians were killed by Russian attacks on the Kharkiv region in the space of 24 hours, emergency services announced Thursday morning.
Russian troops are advancing towards Odessa, the strategically important city on the country’s southern coast.
Growing humanitarian crisis: The Russian invasion created a need for humanitarian aid. Food and supplies inside the country are becoming increasingly scarce. Organizations are on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries to provide shelter, food, water and additional aid.
The United Nations estimates that more than 10 million people could end up fleeing their homes in Ukraine, including four million who could cross the border into neighboring countries, according to a statement.
International response: US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced additional sanctions against Russian oligarchs.
The new list of individuals described as ‘Putin’s cronies and family members’ will be cut off from the US financial system, their assets in the US will be frozen and their property will be banned from use, according to a fact sheet of the White House.
There will be full blocking sanctions against eight Russian elites, as well as their family members and associates.
The European Union will grant temporary protection to all refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, according to the bloc’s Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson.
Germany must immediately freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs as part of sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck urged on Thursday.