Russia’s war on Ukraine is on its tenth day. UN and Ukrainian officials say no radiation was released from a Russian attack at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant. One building caught fire and firefighters have extinguished the blaze. Russian forces continued to press a campaign that has brought global condemnation.
People across Ukraine have taken up arms and sought shelter. More than 1.2 million people have fled to neighbouring countries, the UN refugee agency said Friday. NATO is refusing to police a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The 30-nation military organisation believes such a move could provoke widespread war in Europe with Russia.
Casualties so far
Russia has acknowledged that nearly 500 Russian troops have been killed and around 1,600 wounded. Ukraine has not released casualty figures for its armed forces. The UN human rights office says at least 331 civilians have been killed and 675 wounded in Ukraine since the start of the invasion. Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said more than 2,000 civilians have died, though it’s impossible to verify the claim.
Sanctions on Russia
The wave of global sanctions on Russia could have devastating consequences for energy and grain importers. Russia is a leading exporter of grains and a major supplier of crude oil, metals, wood and plastics. More companies are suspending operations in Russia, including Apple, Mercedes-Benz, BP, Volkswagen, clothing retailer H&M and furnishings store IKEA. Spain’s Teatro Real, one of Europe’s major opera houses, said it is cancelling a set of upcoming performances by Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet.
Russian media crackdown
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a bill into law that threatens up to 15 years in prison for what Russia deems to be “fake” reports about the war. Also, the state communications watchdog blocked Facebook, Twitter and five foreign media organisations based abroad that publish news in Russian.
Those organisations — the BBC, the US government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvia-based website Meduza — are among the most influential and often critical foreign media publishing in Russian.