The Times of Israel liveblogged Friday’s events as they unfolded.
North Korea fires a suspected ballistic missile, Seoul’s military says, continuing this year’s record-breaking blitz of weapons tests with a launch just days before South Korea’s presidential election.
From hypersonic to medium-range ballistic missiles, Pyongyang test-fired a string of weaponry in January and last week launched what it claimed was a component of a “reconnaissance satellite” — although Seoul described it as another ballistic missile.
South Korea’s military says it detected a presumed “ballistic missile launched into the East Sea from the Sunan area around 8:48 a.m.”
Japan also confirmed the launch. The missile flew “at a maximum altitude of approximately 550 kilometers and a distance of approximately 300 kilometers,” Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi says.
He says the “extremely high frequency” of Pyongyang’s weapons tests this year were “a threat to the region… and are absolutely unacceptable.”
The BBC and Canada’s CBC are the latest to halt operations in Russia after Russian lawmakers passed legislation that criminalizes independent reporting.
The BBC announces it is halting its journalists’ work in Russia and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) says it is temporarily halting reporting from Russia.
“This legislation appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie says in a statement.
He warns that journalists could face “the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs.”
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Monday on the humanitarian crisis triggered in Ukraine by the Russian invasion, diplomats say.
After this public session, the 15 members of the council will confer behind closed doors to discuss a possible draft resolution, a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity tells AFP.
Former Vice President Mike Pence will urge Republicans to move on from the 2020 election and will declare that “there is no room in this party for apologists for Putin” as he further cements his break from former President Donald Trump.
Pence, in a speech Friday evening to the party’s top donors in New Orleans, will take on those in his party who have failed to forcefully condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“Where would Russian tanks be today if NATO had not expanded the borders of freedom? There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin,” Pence will say, according to excerpts from the speech. “There is only room for champions of freedom.”
Pence does not directly reference the former president in excerpts shared ahead of his remarks. But Trump has repeatedly used language that has been criticized as deferential to Putin, including calling the Russian leader “smart” while insisting the attack never would have happened on his watch.
Pence will also continue to push back on Trump’s lies about the 2020 election as he lays the groundwork for a possible 2024 presidential run. Trump, who has been teasing his own comeback bid that could potentially put the two in direct competition, has continued to falsely insist that Pence had the power to overturn the 2020 election, which he did not.
“Elections are about the future,” Pence will say. “My fellow Republicans, we can only win if we are united around an optimistic vision for the future based on our highest values. We cannot win by fighting yesterday’s battles, or by relitigating the past.”
Bloomberg News announces it is suspending the work of its journalists in Russia and CNN says it will stop broadcasting in the country.
The moves by Bloomberg and CNN come after Russian lawmakers passed legislation that criminalizes independent reporting.
“We have with great regret decided to temporarily suspend our news gathering inside Russia,” Bloomberg quotes the news agency’s editor-in-chief John Micklethwait as saying.
“The change to the criminal code, which seems designed to turn any independent reporter into a criminal purely by association, makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country,” Micklethwait says.
CNN says the 24-hour US cable television news network “will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward.”
The moves came Russian lawmakers threatened to impose jail terms for publishing “fake news” about the Russian army, part of an effort to stifle dissent over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemns NATO’s decision to rule out a no-fly zone over Ukraine earlier today, AFP reports.
NATO’s chief expressed concerns that such a decision could lead to a “full-blown war” with Russia.
Victims of the September 11 terror attacks have asked the US government to seize Iranian crude oil suspected to be on an American-owned oil tanker in Asia, court documents show.
The filings in New York come as US investigators continue to probe the alleged involvement of the Suez Rajan, owned by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management, in the sanctioned trade of Iranian oil as negotiations continue over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal with world powers.
Fleetscape, the Oaktree subsidiary that owns the Suez Rajan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The federal court filings, submitted late Thursday in the US, call on American authorities to seize the crude oil and sell it on behalf of families to in part settle an over $3 billion judgment issued against Iran over the attacks.
The filing suggests as many as 1 million barrels of oil could be aboard the Suez Rajan, crude put there by the National Iranian Oil Co. and the National Iranian Tanker Corp., both now sanctioned entities by the US Treasury.
The group United Against Nuclear Iran raised allegations against the Suez Rajan in a February letter to Oaktree Capital Management, which holds assets worth over $160 billion.
As a precautionary measure, Ukrainian authorities are currently distributing iodine tablets to residents living near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor, which was hit by a Russian shelling that caused a large fire at the site last night.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog says the strike did not damage operations at the site.
Ukrainians living close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant attack are being given iodine tablets after the plant was targeted by Russian rockets and gunfirehttps://t.co/DB3Ij6vHDK pic.twitter.com/s9ndyssLd4
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 4, 2022
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is facing intense pushback from all corners of Washington after calling for the Russian people to end the Ukraine war by assassinating Russian President Vladimir Putin. White House press secretary Jen Psaki says that it is “not the position of the United States government.”
Graham, a former Air Force lawyer and longtime defense hawk, tweeted Thursday evening that “the only people who can fix this” are Russians.
“The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out,” Graham tweeted. “You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service.”
The tweet drew swift pushback from some of the most conservative and liberal members of Congress.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz calls it “an exceptionally bad idea.” Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican who was denounced this week for speaking at an event organized by a white nationalist, says Graham’s tweet was “irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged.” And Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat who has faced criticism over comments about Israel, tweeted: “Seriously, wtf?”
Psaki dismisses Graham’s idea out of hand.
“That is not the position of the United States government and certainly not a statement you’d hear come from the mouth of anybody working in this administration,” she said.
Wall Street stocks have fallen as an increasingly grim picture in the Russian invasion of Ukraine took attention away from good US employment data.
All three major indices finish the week with losses, with the broad-based S&P 500 ending at 4,328.87, down 0.8 percent for the day and 1.3 percent for the week.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation says it is temporarily suspending the work of all its journalists in Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation criminalizing reporting of the war in Ukraine that differs from the government line.
The CBC says the legislation “appears to criminalize independent reporting on the current situation in Ukraine and Russia.” The BBC earlier made a similar announcement.
“In light of this situation and out of concern for the risk to our journalists and staff in Russia, we have temporarily suspended our reporting from the ground in Russia while we get clarity on this legislation,” CBC said in a statement.
CBC says it joins other media in standing up for a free press and unimpeded access to accurate, independent journalism in Ukraine and Russia.
The Russian parliament voted unanimously Friday to approve a draft law criminalizing the intentional spreading of what Russia deems to be “fake” reports. It was then quickly signed by Putin.
After blocking Facebook, Russia’s state communications watchdog has quickly followed up by declaring a block on Twitter amid the tensions over the war in Ukraine.
The agency, Roskomnadzor, says it cut access to Twitter in line with the Russian Prosecutor General’s office decision. The watchdog has previously accused Twitter of failing to delete the content banned by the Russian authorities and slowed down access to it.
The government is seeking to stifle independent voices about the invasion of Ukraine. The moves against Facebook and Twitter came shortly after officials prevented Russians from accessing reporting from the BBC, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Latvia-based website Meduza, and the US government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Thousands of Georgians pack the streets of Tbilisi to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The crowd cheers as Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the demonstration via satellite.
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— Molly McKew (@MollyMcKew) March 4, 2022
TEHRAN, Iran — The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has arrived in Tehran for talks with officials, Iran’s nuclear body says, as talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal reach a crunch point.
Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi “was received on arrival in Tehran by Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization” of Iran, the Iranian body says in a statement on its website. He is to meet with its chief tomorrow.
WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday reiterated that the Biden administration remains resistant for now on banning Russian oil imports, raising concerns that such a ban could have a negative impact on the US and European economies.
She added, however, that the administration was “looking at options we could take right now to cut US consumption of Russian energy.”
Psaki also called on Russian forces to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine. Russian troops seized the plant earlier Friday.
“The best step for nuclear safety would be for Russia to immediately withdraw,” Psaki said.
Footage shows thousands of anti-Putin protesters in Prague erupting in cheers upon hearing a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
— Simone Rodan-Benzaquen (@srodan) March 4, 2022
The Islamic State group claims a suicide bombing that hit a Shiite mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least 56 people.
“Today Friday, an Islamic State fighter succeeded in assaulting a Shiite mosque in Peshawar,” in northwestern Pakistan, the transnational jihadist group says on its Amaq propaganda site.
The deadly bombing came on the first day of a cricket Test match in Rawalpindi — around 190 kilometers (120 miles) to the east — between Pakistan and Australia, who have not toured the country in nearly a quarter of a century because of security concerns.
Russia’s defense minister has spoken to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about humanitarian corridors in Ukraine.
Sergei Shoigu tells Guterres in Friday’s call that the Russian military has created safe corridors for civilians to exit areas blocked by the Russian troops, but charged that Ukrainian “nationalists” have prevented them from leaving, according to the Defense Ministry readout.
Shoigu alleges that “nationalist and neo-Nazi forces, which also include foreign mercenaries, have used civilians as shields,” a claim that couldn’t be independently verified.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators on Thursday held the second of two rounds of talks, reaching a tentative agreement on setting up safe corridors to allow civilians to leave besieged Ukrainian cities and the delivery of humanitarian supplies. They are yet to iron out detailed provisions for those corridors.
French President Emmanuel Macron expresses alarm over nuclear security risks in Ukraine after Europe’s largest atomic power plant was attacked and seized by invading Russian forces.
Macron is “extremely worried about the risks to nuclear safety, security, and the implementation of international safeguards resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the French presidency says in a statement.
It adds that France would in the next hours propose “concrete measures” to ensure the safety and security of the five main nuclear sites in Ukraine after the seizure of the Zaporizhzhia plant by Russian forces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calls on European nations to support his country’s fight against the invading Russian military.
Zelensky appears on video as he addresses thousands of people protesting the war in several European cities, naming among them Paris, Prague, Lyon, and Frankfurt. He asked the big crowds not to be silent about what’s going on in his country.
“Don’t turn a blind eye on this,” he said. “Come out and support Ukraine as much as you can,” he said through a translator.
“If we fall, you will fall,” he said.
“And if we win, and I’m sure we’ll win, this will be the victory of the whole democratic world, this will be the victory of our freedom, this will be the victory of light over darkness, of freedom over slavery. And if we win we will become as blossoming as Europe. And Europe will be flourishing more than ever,” he said.
“All of you are Ukrainians today, thank you for this.”
A Russian delegation is scheduled to land in Israel next Thursday for a monthly meeting on security coordination in Syria, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
Such meetings have been a regular occurrence in recent years, but it will be the first time since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, and at a time when Western powers are calling on Israel to distance itself from the Kremlin.
Israel has sought to avoid aligning itself too closely with Ukraine, despite it being a fellow Western democracy, as it relies on Russia allowing Jerusalem to use the airspace it controls over Syria to carry out strikes against Iranian proxies stationed there.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs into law a bill introducing jail terms of up to 15 years for fake news about the Russian army, as Moscow pushes forward with its invasion of Ukraine.
Putin also signs a bill that would allow fines or jail time for calling for sanctions against Russia, with Moscow facing unprecedented economic penalties from Western capitals over the invasion.
ROME — The head of the World Food Program says the UN organization is putting in motion systems to feed 3 million to 5 million people inside Ukraine.
David Beasley tells The Associated Press from Warsaw, Poland that they were putting together teams around Ukraine’s borders to reach “those who can’t get out, and those who are going to be needing food support immediately.” He says they were leasing warehouses, trying to figure out how much food they can potentially buy in Ukraine, and how much can be brought from outside.
“No one would ever expect anything like this in Europe in this century,” Beasley says, adding that millions of Ukraine’s 43 million-strong population were either refugees or internally displaced.
He praises the response of Poles, who have been meeting fleeing Ukrainians at the border, “making certain they’re getting hot meals, taking them to wherever they need to go,” calling it “really, really quite remarkable.”
Yuval Harari: Putin’s is a war by one man, without his people’s support, and with several screws loose
Israeli philosopher Yuval Noah Harari is interviewed on Channel 12 about the ongoing Russian invasion.
Asked if there are similarities between Putin and Hitler, Harari says:
“There are certain parallels” between Putin and Hitler “but there’s one very very big difference. Hitler had an ideology. And the German people were to a certain extent united around that ideology. Here, this is a war waged by one single man. This is not a war of the Russian people. The Russian people don’t want it. It’s not even a war of that small circle around Putin, those oligarchs. These oligarchs… have their yachts, their homes in London, their castles in France, the private jet — that’s what they want from life.”
“This is a truly rare historic event — of a war by one man. Unfortunately, it’s a man with astounding power, several of whose screws have come loose,” he adds.
Regarding Israel’s stance, and its concern to keep its people safe with Russia so influential across the northern border, Harari says:
“There is a murderous dictatorship that is threatening to kill hundreds of thousands, to throw them out of their homes. Do the Jewish people need someone to explain to them where morality lies in this situation? So yes, I understand that there are also [vital Israeli] interests and they cannot be ignored. But where you can help, help. If you can’t send weapons, send medical equipment. Send food. Provide moral support. There are things that can be done.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk tells the Kan public broadcaster that he understands that Israel might not be able to provide Ukraine with weapons due to its need to maintain working ties with Russia. However, Korniychuk asks why Israel can’t at least send military protective gear, which Ukraine needs right now much more than the humanitarian shipments Israel has agreed to send.
“Can you kill with personal protection?” Korniychuk asks. “That could save the people’s lives. We’re not talking about military. They all need the self-protection.”
Other countries, such as Japan, have announced that they are sending Ukraine military vests and helmets, as Israel remains on the fence.
“Our government believes that as a partner and a friend, you can do more,” Korniychuk says.
He says the donations already made by Israeli civilians is appreciated, but that from the perspective of those in Kyiv who don’t see the limits to Israel’s ability to act from up close, there is disappointment towards Jerusalem.
The envoy acknowledges that Israeli efforts to mediate between the sides have yet to bear fruit.
An inter-ministerial committee is set to give recommendations to the government on Sunday regarding sanctions against Russia, Channel 12 reports.
One scenario that might potentially need to be addressed, for instance, is how to prevent sanctioned Russian oligarchs from using Israel as a financial safe haven for their assets.
As things stand, the network says, there is no legislation that would prevent oligarchs with Israeli citizenship from putting their money into bank accounts here.
‘Sad mistake’: Ex-ADL chief pans AIPAC endorsement of GOP lawmakers who refused to certify 2020 election
The former head of the Anti Defamation League Abe Foxman criticizes AIPAC for endorsing 37 Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.
“Sad mistake! Israel’s security depends on America being a strong democracy,” Foxman tweets. “Those who undermine America‘s democracy undermine America and a weak America will not be able to stand and support its ally Israel.”
AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann defended the endorsements of the lobby’s new political action committee, saying, “as a single-issue organization, we remain focused on our mission of building bipartisan support in Congress to strengthen the US-Israel relationship.’
The 37 endorsements were among 120, which included dozens for Democratic lawmakers.
Since launching 10 weeks ago, AIPAC’s PAC says it has raised over $1.67 million and an additional $1 million for candidates.
The vast majority of Ukrainian Jews are sheltering in place, according to a spokesperson for Chabad, which has a network of hundreds of emissaries in the country.
Chabad estimates that around 10,000 Jewish refugees have left Ukraine, and another 30,000 are internally displaced. The movement estimates there are around 350,000 Ukrainian Jews; other estimates have put the figure at around 200,000.
The movement has raised and spent $12 million on relief efforts, and estimates it will need $30 million in total for immediate essentials including food, shelter, and transportation, the spokesperson said.
Most of the Jewish refugees are crossing into Romania and Moldova, are lacking in essentials and the war has driven up prices.
Refugees are being housed in a few hotels in Romania and Moldova and are being taken in by Jewish communities throughout Europe, including in Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Poland, and Hungary.
Chabad says it has 384 emissaries in Ukraine in 35 cities.
Vladislav Roitberg, a Hebrew-speaking adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, thanks “all the Israelis who are supporting” Ukraine.
“It is very much felt,” he tells Channel 12 from Kyiv. “The citizens supporting the Ukrainian people — I thank them very, very much.”
He also says he can’t confirm or deny today’s reports of three assassination attempts on Zelensky. Roitberg says Zelensky is “full of energy” and that Ukraine’s citizens are united.
Channel 12 reports that cabinet ministers are lamenting that Israel is paying a price in the international community for not aligning closely enough with Ukraine.
Israeli sources tell the network that Israel is playing on borrowed time before it’ll have to come out more forcefully against Russia.
“If things calm down in the next few days and are headed to dialogue, Israel will maintain its current approach… of humanitarian support for Ukraine, declarative condemnations of the Russian invasion and no sanctions,” an unnamed government source tells the network. “But if the situation continues to escalate, and Putin deepens the invasion, and the victims and killing mount, Israel will be compelled to join the Western effort to impose sanctions.”
The head of the UN nuclear agency says a “projectile” hit a building adjacent to a block of six reactors at Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, sparking a fire that didn’t affect its operation, although he stressed there is nothing normal when military forces are in charge of the site.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi tells an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that the IAEA was informed by Russia a few days ago that its military forces were moving to take control of the C plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, similar to troops’ seizure last week of Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
Grossi says the advance of Russian troops toward the perimeter of the nuclear power plant “was met with opposition and some group of civilians attacking the access to the plant.” In the early hours Friday, he said, the IAEA “got information that a projectile had impact [sic] a building adjacent to the block of reactors, six of them.” He did not say who fired the projectile.
Grossi says Ukraine’s nuclear installations and facilities are important — four big sites and 15 reactors and associated facilities, plus the site at Chernobyl, which has a giant metal dome covering the destroyed reactor.
The IAEA chief reiterated his readiness to travel to Chernobyl “as soon as practicable” to consult Ukrainian nuclear authorities and, when necessary, the Russian authorities in charge to ensure that basic principles of safety and security are maintained “starting with the physical integrity of the facilities.”
Russia blocks Facebook inside the country amid war with Ukraine, regulators say.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid plans to introduce a proposal at the upcoming cabinet meeting that will see Israel begin to take in refugees from Ukraine, and not just those who are Jewish, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
The rumored policy follows criticism of Israel for charging refugees NIS 10,000 to temporarily stay in the country.
A Foreign Ministry internal memo claims that the Kremlin was surprised by the power and impact of Western sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
A top Russian diplomat insists that his country will not occupy Ukraine.
“The goal is very clear: Denazification and demilitarization,” Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s ambassador in Geneva, said of the invasion — which he called a “special military operation.”
“We are not going to stay in Ukraine militarily. We are not going to occupy this country,” he told the UN Geneva press association ACANU. “I don’t know all the details of the military plan, but the political goal is as I described it.”
He said the definition of “demilitarization” was being discussed in diplomatic talks between Ukrainian and Russian envoys.
“We want to secure — or to have guarantees — that the threat is not coming from Ukraine against the Russian Federation.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to legitimize Russia’s moves in Ukraine by claiming a desire to “denazify” Ukraine, a country with a Jewish president who lost relatives in the Holocaust and who heads a Western-backed, democratically elected government.
Historians see Putin’s invocation of World War II as disinformation and a cynical ploy to further the Russian leader’s aims.
Ukrainian authorities thwarted three separate assassination attempts targeting President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to The Times British daily.
Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia denies that his county’s forces bombed Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during an emergency Security Council session on the attack.
“Together with the people of Belarus and Ukraine, we lived through the tragedy of Chernobyl and so we are more interested than most in maintaining a normal radiation situation,” Nebenzia says, according to a quote from Bloomberg.
The US State Department announces new sanctions against a pair of Hezbollah financiers operating in Guinea — Ali Saade and Ibrahim Taher.
“This action will help disrupt Hezbollah’s business network in West Africa, which relies on bribery to circumvent the rule of law,” the State Department says in a statement.
G7 foreign ministers warns that Russia would face further reprisals for its invasion of Ukraine, and said it would crack down on the spreading of fake news by Moscow.
G7 countries would “continue to impose further severe sanctions in response to Russian aggression,” the group said in a statement, which they say had been “enabled by the Lukashenko regime in Belarus.”
Allies will also counter “Russia’s disinformation campaign,” which was “putting additional lives at risk,” the ministers say.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Friday that the war in Ukraine might not be over soon and that the US and European allies must sustain tough pressure on Russia until it ends.
“Unfortunately, tragically, horrifically this may not be over soon,” he said in Brussels.
“We have to sustain this until it stops, until the war is over,” he said.
LONDON — A Western official says a huge Russian military convoy advancing on Kyiv has made little progress for several days.
The official said the convoy, which has been estimated at up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) long, had become a huge traffic jam that included damaged or destroyed vehicles.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence, said the convoy had been attacked from the air by the Ukrainians, but that Ukraine’s ability to do so was limited.
The official assessed that Ukrainian forces remain in control of much of the country’s territory, but that Russia holds the cities of Kherson, Melitopol, and Berdiansk in the south.
Multiple Western officials have said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has advanced more slowly than planned, with Russian forces meeting stiff Ukrainian resistance and encountering myriad logistical problems.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that what he calls a “special military operation” was on course to meet its goals.
US envoy to UNSC: World nearly sustained ‘nuclear catastrophe’; Russian attack on nuke plant endangers Europe
Russia’s “reckless” overnight attack on a nuclear power plant in Ukraine endangered all of Europe, the US ambassador to the United Nations says. The world “narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe last night,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield adds.
“Russia’s attack last night put Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at grave risk,” Thomas-Greenfield says during an emergency Security Council session to discuss Russia’s attack last night on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
“It was incredibly reckless and dangerous. And it threatened the safety of civilians across Russia, Ukraine, and Europe,” she says.
“Reliable electricity is vital for the nuclear facility, as are back-up diesel generators and fuel. Safe transit corridors must be maintained,” she says. “Russia must halt any further use of force that might put at further risk all 15 operable reactors across Ukraine – or interfere with Ukraine’s ability to maintain the safety and security of its 37 nuclear facilities and their surrounding populations.”
“We are gravely concerned that the Ukrainian operators are now doing their jobs under extreme duress,” she adds. “Nuclear facilities cannot become part of this conflict.”
The Palestinian Red Crescent says it has treated 128 civilians who were injured in clashes with Israeli troops throughout the West Bank Friday.
Many of the injured suffer from tear gas inhalation.
The official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa reports that an Israeli settler shot four Palestinians in Hebron.
The shooting appears to have taken place during a clash with IDF troops in the flashpoint West Bank city.
One of the victims is seriously injured and is undergoing surgery, according to the Palestinian Authority health ministry. Three of the wounded are teenagers, according to Wafa.
BBC boss Tim Davie says the corporation is halting its coverage in Russia, as new legislation passed “appears to criminalize independent journalism.”
“It leaves us no other option than to temporarily suspend the work of all BBC News journalists and their support staff within the Russian Federation while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development,” he adds.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has denied that Russian troops were bombing Ukrainian cities, dismissing such information as fake, the Kremlin says.
Putin said reports about “the alleged ongoing airstrikes of Kyiv and other large cities are gross propaganda fakes,” the Kremlin says in a statement.
He adds that dialogue on Ukraine would be possible only if Russian demands are met.
Putin “confirmed that Russia is open to dialogue with the Ukrainian side, as well as with everyone who wants peace in Ukraine. But under the condition that all Russian demands are met,” the Kremlin says.
These include the neutral and non-nuclear status of Ukraine, its “denazification,” recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, and the “sovereignty” of separatist territories in eastern Ukraine.
“Hope was expressed that during the planned third round of talks, the representatives of Kyiv will take a reasonable and constructive position,” the Kremlin added.
The next meeting of delegations from Russia and Ukraine is expected during the weekend, according to one of Kyiv’s negotiators.
A photo of a Ukrainian father weeping over the draped body of his son who was killed when Russian shelling hit a soccer field in Mariupol earlier this week has gone viral.
“My little son,” Serhii cried, as he cradled the body of 16-year-old Iliya at a local hospital, according to media reports.
Iliya’s two friends survived the attack, but are facing possible amputations after shrapnel pierced their legs.
Russian President Vladimir Putin kept senior officials in the Kremlin in the dark about his plans to invade Ukraine last week, according to a report in the independent Russian investigative outlet Agency, which cites several unnamed Kremlin officials.
One of the senior officials cited says people at the Kremlin “did not know” it would be a full-blown invasion and that many were caught off guard by the news.
The cabinet was only planning to deal with Western sanctions over Putin’s decision to declare as independent the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, and were not prepared to discuss an invasion, according to the report.
The UN human rights office, in its latest count of casualties released this afternoon, says it has confirmed 331 people killed and 675 people injured since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
The rights office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has confirmed. It believes the real figures are much higher. Ukrainian officials have presented far higher numbers.
The UN refugee agency reports that more than 1.2 million people have left Ukraine since the fighting began.
More than 165,000 people left the country on Thursday — down slightly from Wednesday’s count and well under the nearly 200,000 on Tuesday, which amounted to the peak one-day outflow of people from Ukraine since the conflict began, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Its data portal on Ukraine showed that the majority — about 650,000 — had gone to neighboring Poland, and roughly 145,000 had fled to Hungary. Another 103,000 were in Moldova and more than 90,000 in Slovakia.
A deal on reviving the 2015 accord between Tehran and world powers on Iran’s nuclear program is “close,” the UK said Friday, as negotiations in Vienna reach a crunch point.
“We are close. E3 negotiators leaving Vienna briefly to update ministers on state of play,” British diplomat Stephanie Al-Qaq says on Twitter, referring to negotiators from Britain, France and Germany.
European and UK gas prices have surged to record peaks on supply disruption fears as a result of key supplier Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine.
Europe’s reference Dutch TTF gas price struck 213.895 euros per megawatt hour in afternoon deals, while UK gas prices hit 508.80 pence per therm.
Ukraine plans to hold a third round of talks this weekend with Russian officials to try to end the fighting triggered by Moscow’s invasion, one of Kyiv’s negotiators says.
“The third leg could take place tomorrow or the day after, we are in constant contact,” Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak says, on the eighth day of the war.
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military organization will not police a no-fly zone over Ukraine and is warning that such a move could end in a widespread war in Europe.
Speaking after chairing a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Stoltenberg says “we are not going to move into Ukraine, neither on the ground, nor in the Ukrainian airspace.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces have ramped up their attacks in Ukraine, launching hundreds of missiles and artillery strikes on cities and making significant gains in the south.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed to the West to enforce a no-fly zone over his country, most recently after a fire overnight at one of Ukraine’s nuclear plants, the largest in Europe.
“The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukrainian airspace, and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes,” Stoltenberg says. “We understand the desperation, but we also believe that if we did that, we would end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe.”
“We have a responsibility as NATO allies to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine,” he said.
Iran’s foreign minister says he is ready to travel to Vienna if a deal is reached to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, as the US suggested an agreement is possible.
“I am ready to go to Vienna when the Western sides accept our remaining red lines,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says in a phone call with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, quoted in a foreign ministry statement.
“The presence of foreign ministers in Vienna and the announcement of a final deal depend on full respect for the red lines set out by Iran, including effective economic guarantees,” the statement reads.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is accusing Russian troops of raping women and is backing a call for the creation of a special tribunal to punish Moscow’s aggression.
“We have numerous cases of, unfortunately, when Russian soldiers rape women in the Ukrainian cities,” Kuleba tells a briefing at London’s Chatham House think-tank.
He does not provide any details, but supports an appeal by former British prime minister Gordon Brown and a swathe of international law experts for a special tribunal.
International law “is the only tool of civilization that is available to us to make sure that in the end, eventually, all those who made this war possible will be brought to justice,” Kuleba says, as civilian casualties mount in Ukraine.
“We are fighting against the enemy who is much stronger than us,” Kuleba says.
Israel’s 100-ton shipment of humanitarian aid for Ukrainians has arrived in Poland after a three-day journey, the Foreign Ministry announces.
The aid includes 17 tons of medical equipment and medicine; water purification systems intended to supply 200,000 people; emergency water supply kits to supply 100,000 people; winter tents to house 3,000; 15,000 blankets; 3,000 sleeping bags; and 2,700 winter coats.
The trucks carrying the shipment are now on their way toward the Ukrainian border and will continue to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv where Israel is operating a makeshift embassy after evacuating its mission in Kyiv.
Ukraine has extended its appreciation to Israel for the gesture, though many of its leaders are insisting that what Kyiv needs most at the moment is military equipment — a request Israel has refused to grant as it seeks to maintain a working relationship with Russia, which controls the airspace in bordering Syria.
Polish security services say they have arrested a Spanish citizen on suspicion of spying for Russia.
Security services spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn says the man, who was born in Russia but holds a Spanish passport, was arrested on the night of February 27 at a hotel in Przemysl, in southeastern Poland, and had journalist status.
Przemysl, near Poland’s border with Ukraine, is one of the main points where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees arrive as they flee Russia’s invasion.
Also, thousands of additional US troops recently deployed to Poland to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank are stationed in the area.
The man allegedly was collecting information that was sensitive to Poland’s security and defense, Zaryn told The Associated Press.
The man is accused of spying for Russia. If convicted, he could get up to 10 years in prison.
TOKYO — Japan is sending bulletproof vests, helmets, and other defense supplies to Ukraine to help the country fight Russia’s invasion — a step Israel has declined to take, despite Ukrainian requests, sufficing with humanitarian aid shipments for the time being.
It is a rare move by Japan, which has a principle of not shipping defense supplies to countries in conflict.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno tells reporters that shipping and other logistical details are being finalized after a decision by the National Security Council.
Bulletproof vests, helmets, tents, as well as generators, food, winter clothes, and medical supplies will be delivered by Self-Defense Force aircraft, Matsuno says.
The planned shipment comes after a request from Ukraine. Japan, because of its pacifist principles, is supplying only non-lethal goods, Matsuno says.
“[Russia’s] unilateral change of status quo by force, which is absolutely unallowable, is an act that shakes the foundation of international order,” he said. “International society is sticking together and taking unprecedented steps to support Ukraine.”
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s foreign minister says Ankara wants to bring Russia and Ukraine’s top diplomats together for talks during an international diplomacy forum in the country next week.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels where he attended a NATO meeting, Mevlut Cavusoglu says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has confirmed his attendance at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum to be held in the Mediterranean coastal city between March 11-13.
Cavusoglu said a meeting between Lavrov and Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba could be possible, but added that he was not certain Ukrainian officials would be able to attend.
Turkey, which has close ties to both Ukraine and Russia, has been trying to balance its relations with both. It has repeatedly offered to mediate between the two.
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting requested by Britain today after Russian forces attacked Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Ukraine, diplomatic sources say.
The session was requested by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, diplomats tell AFP, with the United States, France, Norway, Ireland, and Albania joining the call for an urgent meeting.
Speaking at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg says the days ahead in Ukraine are “likely to be worse.”
“The days to come are likely to be worse, with more death, more suffering, and more destruction, as the Russian armed forces bring in heavier weaponry and continue their attacks across the country,” he says.
“We call on President Putin to stop this war immediately, withdraw all his forces from Ukraine without conditions and engage in genuine diplomacy now,” he adds.
Stoltenberg also rejects the notion of NATO enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has requested.
“Allies agree that we should not have NATO planes operating over Ukrainian airspace or NATO troops on Ukrainian territory,” he says.
Stoltenberg says NATO has stepped up support for Ukraine, but it is “not part of this conflict.”
NATO has a “responsibility to ensure it does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine,” he says.
Stoltenberg says this would be “ever more devastating and dangerous.”
Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai calls on the government to stop demanding refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine to deposit NIS 10,000 as a condition of entry to Israel.
“Refugees will continue to arrive,” Shai tells Army Radio.
“The irrational and inhumane demand of depositing NIS 10,000 for anyone who has entered Israel must be removed immediately,” he says.
The deposit is held as a guarantee that the Ukrainians will eventually leave Israel, as the country rarely grants refugee status to non-Jews, and instead allows them temporary entry as tourists.
Israel’s immigration authority said earlier 1,408 foreigners holding Ukraine passports have arrived in the country since Russia’s invasion began last week. The authority says 79 of them were denied entry.
Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky is lightly injured in a car accident in Poland, where he and the embassy staff have been stationed since Saturday.
The accident occurred on the way to Warsaw. He is returning to Israel for medical treatment and will then return to Poland, where he has been leading efforts to assist Israelis to leave Ukraine and get through the often crowded border crossings.
Brodsky will be temporarily replaced by Simona Halperin, Head of the Euro-Asia Bureau at the Foreign Ministry.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urges Russia’s neighbors not to escalate tensions, more than one week after Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine.
“There are no bad intentions towards our neighbors. And I would also advise them not to escalate the situation, not to introduce any restrictions. We fulfill all our obligations and will continue to fulfill them,” Putin says in televised remarks according to Reuters.
“We do not see any need here to aggravate or worsen our relations. And all our actions, if they arise, they always arise exclusively in response to some unfriendly actions, actions against the Russian Federation,” he adds.
Separately, the Kremlin calls on Russians to rally around Putin.
“Now is not the time to be divided,” the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters, responding to a question on pleas from public figures to end the war.
“Now is the time to unite, to unite around our president.”
The remains of an Israeli man who was killed by Ukrainian troops due to apparent mistaken identity are being flown back to Israel ahead of his funeral later today.
Roman Brodsky’s coffin is flown from Ukraine to Moldova, and then Romania, before arriving in Israel, the Foreign Ministry says.
Brodsky was shot dead by Ukrainian troops after he was apparently mistaken for a Chechen soldier earlier this week.
The funeral in Israel is expected to take place later today.
ארונו של האזרח הישראלי רומן ברודסקי שנהרג באוקראינה עושה דרכו לארץ בטיסה פרטית מרומניה. קרדיט: חברת מנוחה לעד pic.twitter.com/zt97v6H60m
— Itamar Eichner (@itamareichner) March 4, 2022
An overwhelming vote at the UN Human Rights Council to investigate abuses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should show Russian President Vladimir Putin “the whole world is against you,” Kyiv’s ambassador says.
“The message to Putin has been clear: You’re isolated on a global level and the whole world is against you,” Ukrainian ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko tells reporters after the vote.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says the UK wants an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council after Russian forces attacked a nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
The attack was “a threat to European security and stability and we need those responsible to be held to account,” she tells British television on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.
GENEVA, Switzerland — The UN Human Rights Council overwhelmingly votes to create a high-level investigation into violations committed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Thirty-two members of the 47-seat council vote to establish the highest-level probe possible into alleged rights violations, with an eye to holding perpetrators responsible.
Only two countries — Russia and Eritrea — vote against.
The Ukrainian state nuclear company says three Ukrainian troops are killed and another two are wounded in Russia’s attack on a nuclear plant overnight.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant caught fire overnight during a battle with Russian troops. The blaze was later extinguished.
Earlier, the regional military administration said Russian forces took control of the plant and that operational personnel are ensuring its safe operation.
Russian troops have entered the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv near the coast of the Black Sea, the mayor says according to Sky News.
Mykolaiv is close to the city of Kherson, which Russian troops have claimed to have captured.
It has a population of nearly half a million.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants a no-fly zone to be imposed over his country in the wake of the Russian shelling of Europe’s largest nuclear plant.
The attack on the Zaporizhzhia plant did not produce elevated radiation levels, but Zelensky evokes the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion and fire to raise alarm about further attacks.
The plant “could be like six Chernobyls. The Russian tanks knew what they were shelling … This is terror on an unprecedented level,” he says.
Any attempt by European air forces to impose a no-fly zone would likely severely escalate the conflict.
Zelensky also calls on Russian civilians to express outrage about the plant attack. “Radiation does not know where the Russian border is,” he says.
The head of the UN nuclear watchdog offers to travel to Chernobyl in order to negotiate with Ukraine and Russia to try to ensure the security of Ukraine’s nuclear sites.
“I have indicated to both the Russian Federation and Ukraine my availability… to travel to Chernobyl as soon as possible,” Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency tells reporters.
“Both sides are considering” the possibility, he adds.
Rafael Grossi, the head of the UN atomic watchdog says there has been no release of radioactive material at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which caught fire overnight during a battle with Russian troops.
Grossi says the attacks did not impact reactors, but an adjacent building. “It is important to say that all the safety systems of the six reactors at the plant were not affected at all,” Grossi says according to Sky News.
“There has been no release of radioactive material,” he says.
Grossi says two people are injured in the overnight attack, believed to be security personnel.
He adds that the International Atomic Energy Agency is in contact with both Russian and Ukrainian forces.
“Here I should emphasize for the time being [the control room] is purely Ukrainian staff running the operations there,” Grossi says according to Sky.
Grossi adds that the projectile which hit the plant “came from the Russian forces.”
Western leaders strongly condemn a Russian attack on Europe’s largest nuclear plant, accusing Moscow of endangering millions of people by launching a full-blown war in Ukraine.
“The reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says in a statement.
“This just demonstrates the recklessness of this war and the importance of ending it and the importance of Russia withdrawing all its troops and engaging good faith in diplomatic efforts,” Jens Stoltenberg, head of the NATO military alliance, says.
“Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi condemns the heinous attack by Russia on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, an attack on everyone’s security,” a statement says.
“The European Union should continue to react with unity and with the utmost determination, together with its allies, to support Ukraine and protect European citizens,” the statement adds.
“This kind of attack is madness,” Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store says, expressing “strong condemnation.”
In a video statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says nearly 9,200 Russian soldiers have been killed since Moscow began its invasion last week.
Russia has said that so far 498 service members were killed.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A powerful bomb exploded inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, killing more than 30 worshippers and wounding dozens more, many of them critically, police say.
The explosion occurred as worshippers had collected in the Kucha Risaldar mosque in Peshawar’s old city for Friday prayers.
Ambulances rushed through congested narrow streets carrying the wounded to Lady Reading Hospital, where doctors worked feverishly. No one immediately claimed responsibility.
— The Pakistan Daily (@ThePakDaily) March 4, 2022
MOSCOW — Russian lawmakers approve legislation providing up to 15 years in jail for any publication of fake news about the Russian armed forces, one week after Moscow invaded Ukraine.
The bill, adopted after a third reading, sets out jail terms of varying lengths and fines against people who publish “knowingly false information” about the military, with harsher penalties to hit when dissemination is deemed to have serious consequences.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky survived at least three assassination attempts in the past week, London’s The Times reports.
The newspaper says mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a security company under the control of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chechen special forces were sent to kill Zelensky.
The report claims Ukraine was tipped off about the plans by anti-war members of Russia’s Federal Security Service.
The Times says Wagner Group sustained losses in their assassination attempts, with a source close to the group saying it is “eerie” how well informed Zelensky’s security team is.
Chechen assassins were “eliminated” on the outskirts of Kyiv during one of the attempts on Saturday, the report says.
Israel has rejected a request by Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, to block Russian state-run media outlets in Israel, the Ynet news site reports.
Korniychuk and European communications ministers asked Israel’s Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel to block the state-linked outlets, including RT and Sputnik, the report says.
Ynet says Israel responded to Korniychuk by saying the move would have far-reaching consequences, and must also have legal precedent.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s foreign minister says 45 million Australian dollars ($33 million) have been frozen in an Australian financial institution under new sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne declines to identify the institution or who owned the money.
Australia imposed sanctions against more than 350 Russian individuals including President Vladimir Putin. Australia also targets with sanctions 13 Belarus entities and individuals including Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin.
The Shin Bet security agency says it has reached an agreement with authorities in the United Arab Emirates over security arrangements in the central Gulf city’s airport.
Head of the agency Ronen Bar met with his counterpart in the UAE last week, to solve disagreements relating to the security of flights landing in Dubai.
“Understandings were reached, common working principles and security arrangements were agreed upon, which will allow Israeli airlines to continue flying to Dubai on a regular and continuous basis,” the Shin Bet says.
The Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration says that 1,408 foreigners holding Ukraine passports arrived in Israel since Russia’s invasion began last week.
The authority says 79 of them were denied entry.
Ukraine has about 43,300 people who self-identify as Jews and about 200,000 eligible to immigrate to Israel under its Law of Return for Jews and their relatives, according to a 2020 demographic study of European Jewry.
Israel rarely grants refugee status to non-Jews, instead allowing them temporary entry as tourists.
A worker at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport is suspended from his job after waving a Ukrainian flag in front of a Russian plane near the runway, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
Video shows the man wearing a yellow vest waving the flag in front of the Russian aircraft, as other airport employees look on, some filming.
According to Kan, the man has been suspended from his job. It was not immediately clear when the incident occurred.
בנתיים בנתב"ג pic.twitter.com/d83WU8om2E
— איתי בלומנטל Itay Blumental (@ItayBlumental) March 4, 2022
The UK Defense Ministry says Mariupol, a large city on the Azov Sea, is still under Ukrainian control despite being encircled by Russian forces.
“Mariupol remains under Ukrainian control but has likely been encircled by Russian forces,” the ministry says in an intelligence report.
It adds that the city has been “subjected to intense Russian strikes.”
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said yesterday the attacks there had been relentless.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 04 March 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/vHxz2SoCNW
— Ministry of Defence ???????? (@DefenceHQ) March 4, 2022
MOSCOW — Russia’s media watchdog says it has restricted access to several independent media websites, including the BBC, tightening controls over the internet more than one week after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Access to websites of the BBC, the independent news website Meduza, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, and the Russian-language website of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Svoboda, were “limited” by Roskomnadzor, it says, following a request from prosecutors.
Ukrainian authorities say a fire at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant ignited by Russian shelling has been extinguished, with Russian forces taking control of the site.
The regional military administration says in a statement that Russian forces took control of the Zaporizhzhia plant in Enerhodar and that operational personnel are ensuring its safe operation.
The administration says the fire at the site was extinguished, and that there is damage to the compartment of reactor No. 1 but it does not affect the safety of the power unit.
Emergency services say there are no casualties.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israelis are protesting at the Western Wall after Labor party MK Gilad Kariv uses his parliamentary immunity to bring a Torah scroll to the Western Wall plaza.
Kariv, an ordained Reform rabbi and director of the Reform movement in Israel, plans to hand it over to the Women of the Wall pro-pluralism group, for use during their prayer service, in violation of policy at the holy site.
In a video statement, Kariv calls for the government to advance an egalitarian plaza at the Western Wall. The plans for such a move were reportedly shelved last year.
“It’s time for those close to Prime Minister [Naftali Bennett] to stop sucking up to the ultra-Orthodox parties,” Kariv says.
At least two people have been detained by police, according to video footage. There is no immediate comment from law enforcement on the matter.
מתפלל נעצר בכותל המערבי בחשד להפרת הסדר הציבורי pic.twitter.com/4n4kln9huO
— kobi bornshtein | קובי בורנשטיין (@kobi_bornshtein) March 4, 2022
— ReformJudaismIsrael (@IsraelReform) March 4, 2022
Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai says on Twitter he is “saddened by scenes from the Western Wall this morning. The situation there is unjust. All Jews deserve a place at this site to pray in accordance with their customs. The Western Wall plan must be implemented.”
Two people are killed and two others wounded in a deadly multi-vehicle crash in southern Israel overnight, officials say.
Police say the accident between three cars occurred around 3 a.m on the Route 60 highway near the town of Omer and the Bedouin village Abu Kaf Umm Batin.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says medics declare the death of a 20-year-old at the scene.
Another man in his 20s, who was critically hurt, dies at a hospital.
The other men, also in their 20s, are listed in moderate and light conditions, at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center.
Police launch an investigation.
Senior US Senator Lindsey Graham calls for “somebody in Russia” to assassinate President Vladimir Putin after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in a televised interview.
“How does this end? Somebody in Russia has to step up to the plate… and take this guy out,” the senator tells conservative Fox News TV host Sean Hannity.
“You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service,” he adds.
He repeats the call in a series of tweets, saying “the only people who can fix this are the Russian people.”
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 4, 2022
The only people who can fix this are the Russian people.
Easy to say, hard to do.
Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in darkness you need to step up to the plate.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 4, 2022
Emergency services in Ukraine say they have extinguished a fire at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant after Kyiv blamed Russian military shelling for the blaze.
“At 06:20 (04:20 GMT) the fire in the training building of Zaporizhzhia NPP in Energodar was extinguished. There are no victims,” the emergency services says in a statement on Facebook.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweets that the hospitality firm is “suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus.”
Airbnb is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus
— Brian Chesky ???????? (@bchesky) March 4, 2022
He also says the company is waiving its cut for people booking Airbnb rentals in Ukraine they don’t intend to use as a way of supporting the local economy there.
— Hilary Mak (@hilarydmak) March 3, 2022
The company offered earlier in the week to house 100,000 refugees for free in rentals offered through its platforms in countries neighboring Ukraine.
Ukraine’s emergency services report that a fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s training center has been contained to a 2,000-square-meter (21,500 square-foot) area over three floors.
It says there are no injuries there.
Shares are down in Asian trading as investor jitters resurface following the shelling of a nuclear plant in Ukraine and broader concerns over the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Shares have fallen more than 2% in Tokyo and Hong Kong and are down in most other Asian markets.
Stocks rallied mid-week after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said he favored a modest interest rate increase at a policy meeting later this month. That reassured investors worried he might back more aggressive moves to fight inflation.
But Powell warned Thursday that the fighting in Ukraine is likely to further magnify the high inflation troubling world economies. He said he is committed to doing whatever is necessary to slow inflation, underscoring the high-risk challenge in raising interest rates enough to cool price pressures without triggering another recession.
Russia is a key oil producer and prices have been rising as global supplies are threatened by the conflict, raising concerns that persistent inflation could become even hotter.
Ukraine’s emergency services says firefighters have managed to reach the training building where a fire is still burning at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
It says on Telegram that 10 engines and 40 firefighters are battling the blaze.
Dmytro Orlov, mayor of a nearby town, says there are an unknown number of injured at the site. He says there is no way to get them to the hospital, UNIAN reports.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of endangering all of Europe Friday, after invading Russian forces attacked a Ukrainian nuclear power plant.
“The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe,” according to a Downing Street statement.
The statement adds that Johnson will seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting in the coming hours.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky say he has informed the leaders of the US, Britain, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency about the dire threat of nuclear disaster after Russian troops shelled a nuclear power plant.
“If there is an explosion – that’s the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe,” he said in an emotional speech in the middle of the night.
“Only urgent action by Europe can stop the Russian troops. Do not allow the death of Europe from a catastrophe at a nuclear power station,” he said
He’s calling on politicians and citizens to pressure Russian leadership to stop Russian troops.
The spokesman for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant says at least two reactors at the site suffered damage and warns “an accident can happen at any moment.”
“Many buildings are damaged and still on fire,” Andriy Toz tells CNN. He says firefighters still cannot access the site, though he also says Ukraine is in control of the plant.
He clarifies that no reactors have caught fire, though buildings at the site are going up in flames.
“We ask Americans to close the airspace of Ukraine,” he says. “Please help us.”
Ukraine’s emergency service says one fire is continuing to burn in a training complex and firefighting are not able to access the site.
Ukraine’s Nexta TV quotes Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant general manager Ihor Murashov saying that nuclear safety at the site has been compromised, with fighting ongoing at the plant and a fire still raging.
“Reactors are in danger,” he says.
CNN reports that White House officials monitoring the situation say there are no indications of heightened radiation levels.
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