Today's top ten happenings in the Russia-Ukraine conflict
On Friday, Russia continued its invasion of Ukraine, striking the country from all sides and marching towards the capital, Kyiv, where many explosions were heard in the early hours.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced in a televised address that at least 137 persons, both troops and civilians, had been killed and hundreds more had been injured.
The West placed new sanctions on Russia, aiming to cut off the country's main banks and prevent it from purchasing crucial technologies.
According to Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, Russian soldiers grabbed control of the Chernobyl nuclear facility site after a tough confrontation with Ukrainian national guards. The state of the plant's facilities, including a containment shelter and a nuclear waste repository, is unknown, he said.
According to an official acquainted with current assessments, Russian shelling hit a nuclear waste dump at Chernobyl, causing an increase in radiation levels. The rise could not be confirmed right away.
President Joe Biden, pledging to make Russian President Vladimir Putin a "pariah," unveiled fresh sanctions aimed at cutting off Russia's top banks and blocking the country from purchasing crucial US technology on Thursday, according to The New York Times.
The UN has announced that it will immediately spend $20 million to expand UN humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. In making the statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that the UN and its humanitarian partners "are determined to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their moment of need...regardless of who or where they are."
According to UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, the $20 million from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund will support emergency operations along the contact line in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as in other areas of the country, and will "help with health care, shelter, food, water, and sanitation to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict."
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a televised address that he is Russia's number one target, and his family is number two, according to AFP. "They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the Head of State," he explained, adding that he is remaining in the government quarter with all those required for the central government to function.
According to the Associated Press, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg branded Russia's attack a "brutal act of war" that destroyed peace on the European continent. The UN refugee agency's chief has urged neighbouring countries to maintain their borders open to Ukrainians fleeing the war.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken with Putin and requested a swift halt to the violence. According to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office, he also called for all parties to work together to return to the path of dialogue.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke on the phone with his Russian colleague Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, emphasising that communication and diplomacy are the best ways to defuse the Ukraine situation.
Thousands of Russians were outraged by the invasion and flocked to the streets in many towns, signing open letters and online petitions demanding that the Kremlin stop the attack. The cops apprehended over 2,000 people.
According to the Associated Press, UEFA will be stripped of hosting the Champions League final in St. Petersburg after Russia began a wide-ranging offensive on Ukraine on Thursday. An unusual meeting of the UEFA executive committee will be convened on Friday to examine the geopolitical crisis and when authorities are expected to confirm moving the May 28 showpiece game out of Russia, according to a person familiar with the process. The individual talked on the condition of anonymity in order to reveal private conversations.