The Moscow stock exchange will remain closed on Friday
From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Moscow
The Moscow stock exchange will not open for trading Friday, the Russian Central Bank said in a statement.
Soon after, the stock exchange said in a statement it would remain closed through March 8. The closure includes "trading and settlements on all markets of the Moscow Exchange," the statement said.
The stock exchange has not opened all week, after Western sanctions were imposed on Russia over the past weekend.
Some context: US President Joe Biden announced new sanctions on Russian oligarchs on Thursday. The United Kingdom also sanctioned two leading oligarchs with a combined worth of $19 billion.
"We won’t stop here. Our aim is to cripple the Russian economy and starve Putin’s war machine," UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.
2:43 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
In Odessa, nannies and computer programmers step to the front line
In Odessa, a strategically important port city on Ukraine's Black Sea coast, civilians — computer programmers, IT workers, everyday workers — have taken up weapons to defend against Russia's invasion.
Zhena was a chief marketing officer for an IT company before he joined Ukraine's armed forces. He told CNN two of his friends had already been killed in the war, both volunteers who had been fighting in the besieged city of Kherson.
"They have no military grounding at all. Both of them are programmers," he said.
One 19-year-old volunteer, who formerly worked as a nanny, says she faced the Russian threat to her home once before. When she was 11,she fled Crimea, which was occupied by Russia in 2014 and annexed after a referendum widely seen as a sham.
"We're ready to the end to defend our land," she told CNN. "The occupiers came to my home before. My family is still there. Only I could leave because I don't want to live in Russia."
On the other side of the southern city, Odessa's mothers knit camouflage netting as they pray for their children's safety on the front lines.
"We know the danger. We know it will come. But we didn't know when will it come," said one mother, Nellia Kononova.
She had asked her children to stay with her for their safety — but they were determined to fight and defend Ukraine "because everybody loves our motherland," she said, before breaking into tears. "I pray every day, I pray every night, for them to stay alive."
1:31 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
Children moved to basement of hospital in Kyiv as shelling continues
As the Russian assault on Kyiv steps up, some of the city's most vulnerable residents can't leave.
For the Ukrainian capital's largest children's hospital, shutting down is not an option, even with the sound of heavy fighting and shelling outside. Children who are too sick to be transferred have been moved to the basement, in case bombardment starts again. There are about 10 patients being treated in the underground hallway, where exhausted staff hover nervously.
One of the patients is 3-month old Milena, who has a brain tumor. Her mother, Sonia, told CNN she had been sleeping on the floor next to Milena for the past seven nights as the bombing gets closer.
"We must stay underground and we don't know how long for," she said. "I'm alone here at the hospital and my husband is at home with my other kid."
She said she has become so stressed that she can't lactate, and is now using formula to feed her daughter.
Resources are stretched tight as hospitals deal with trauma injuries — so some parents have stepped in to help care for other children in the basement. Non-essential procedures are now on hold. When CNN visited the hospital, one 11-year-old boy needs to have his sutures removed — but the risk of infection is too high.
With no clear end in sight, for many families here the only glimmer of hope is evacuation. On Thursday, Ukrainian and Russian delegations met in Belarus for another round of talks, where they agreed to provide humanitarian corridors for civilians and a possible temporary ceasefire in areas where evacuation is happening.
1:08 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
Ukraine's energy minister in "urgent" call with US counterpart about Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
From CNN's Radina Gigova
Ukraine's Minister of Energy German Galushchenko had an "urgent" telephone conversation with his US counterpart Jennifer Granholm about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant early Friday, according to a statement from Ukraine's Ministry of Energy.
The fire at the facility broke out in the early hours of Friday morning, and has since been extinguished with no casualties, according to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service.
"The enemy is not concerned about nuclear and radiation security," Galushchenko said, according to the statement. He added that Russia was "indifferent to the human lives of Ukrainians, Europeans and their own citizens."
"We have been trying to convey this message to the International Atomic Energy Agency for several days now. We demanded the intervention of this international organization and tough decisions regarding the aggressor. But they are not there yet," Galushchenko said.
"Therefore, we demand not only a professional assessment of what is happening, but also real intervention, taking the toughest measures, including by NATO and the countries that possess nuclear weapons," he added.
12:46 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
A fire at Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant has been put out. Here's how the situation unfolded
Ukrainian authorities said a fire that broke out at a nuclear power plant early Friday amid heavy shelling by Russian forces has now been extinguished.
Here's what happened:
When did the fire start? Ukrainian authorities said about 2:30 a.m. local time Friday that a fire had broken out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in Enerhodar, southeastern Ukraine. The plant is the largest of its kind in Ukraine and contains six of the country's 15 nuclear energy reactors, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
When did the blaze stop? The Ukrainian State Emergency Service said the fire at the plant's training building was extinguished at 6.20 a.m. No deaths or injuries were reported, according to the statement.
Are they still fighting? Fighting has since stopped in the area, a spokesperson for the power plant told CNN. In a Facebook post early Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of intentionally firing at the nuclear plant — and urged European leaders to "wake up now" and stop Russian forces "before this becomes a nuclear disaster."
How serious is the situation? It's hard to say since there is still a lot we don't know. But the plant hasnot sustained any "critical" damage, the spokesperson for the facility said. The fire has not affected any "essential" equipment, and staff are taking action to mitigate any damage, the IAEA said, citing Ukrainian authorities.
Are we seeing any radiation spikes? No — nuclear regulators and government bodies in the United States and Ukraine say radiation levels appear normal.
What are the risks? The worst-case scenario would be if a fire or attack reached the reactors, disrupted their cooling system and caused a meltdown, which would release large amounts of radioactivity. However, Graham Allison, professor at the Belfer Center, Harvard University, told CNN early Friday that "not all fires in a power plant, have catastrophic consequences."
12:30 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
It's 7:30 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's the latest from Ukraine
A fire that broke out at Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant was extinguished early Friday following heavy shelling by Russian forces, as key cities come under attack from invading troops.
Here's what you need to know:
Nuclear plant fire: A blaze at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex in southeastern Ukraine has been extinguished, Ukrainian authorities said. The fire broke out early Friday amid heavy shelling in the area by Russian forces. Fighting has since stopped in the area, according to a spokesperson for the plant. Nuclear regulators and government bodies in Ukraine and the United States say radiation levels appear normal.
Zelensky claims Russia targeted the plant: In a Facebook post early Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of intentionally firing at the nuclear plant — and urged European leaders to "wake up now" and stop Russian forces “before this becomes a nuclear disaster.”
Deadly attack on residential buildings: New videos posted to social media show the horrific aftermath of Russian military strikes that hit an apartment complex in the northern city of Chernihiv on Thursday. At least 33 people were killed and 18 others injured in the attack, Ukrainian authorities said.
Key cities under assault: Russia is laying siege to the key Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The southeastern city's deputy mayor said it was "surrounded" by Russian forces and in desperate need of military and humanitarian aid. In northeastern Ukraine, 34 civilians were killed by Russian attacks on the Kharkiv region within a 24 hour period, emergency services said. Kharkiv's mayor said the Russian military is "intentionally trying to eliminate Ukrainian people" as it targets civilian spaces. Russian troops are also advancing toward Odessa, the strategically significant city on the southern coast.
Talks end with no breakthrough: A Ukrainian negotiator on Thursday said that a second round of talks with Russia didn’t deliver any results that Ukraine needed. However, humanitarian corridors for civilians were agreed on by both sides.
Growing humanitarian crisis: The UN estimates that more than 10 million people may end up fleeing their homes in Ukraine, including 4 million who may cross the border into neighboring countries. Want to help? You can learn how to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine here.
12:21 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
Zelensky urges world leaders to stop Russia "before this becomes a nuclear disaster"
In a Facebook post early Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of intentionally firing at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, after a fire broke out at the facility following heavy shelling from Russian forces.
Ukrainian authorities say the power plant has not sustained any critical damage, and that radiation levels are currently normal, though the situation remains fluid and firefighters continue to battle the blaze.
“Russian tanks are shooting at the atomic blocks equipped with thermal imagers. They know what they are shooting at. They’ve been preparing for this (attack),” he said in the post.
Zelensky also referred to the Chernobyl tragedy and its victims in the post. "For all Ukrainians, for all Europeans, for all people who know the word 'Chernobyl,' how many victims there were."
The 1986 Chernobyl disaster, which took place in Soviet Ukraine, is considered the worst nuclear accident in history. It was a "global catastrophe that affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people," and had a lasting impact on the country, Zelensky said.
What's happening now: Ukrainian authorities say fighting has stopped in the area and about 40 firefighters are working to put out the blaze.
"We don’t know how it is going to end with the fire at the station, if there might be an explosion, God forbid," Zelensky said, adding "our guys are keeping the atomic power station secure."
But the very fact Russia launched an attack at the plant is itself anextremely dangerous act and could cause a potential catastrophe, he said. "There are 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine. If one of them blows, that’s the end for everyone, that’s the end of Europe," he added.
"No country besides Russia has ever fired upon an atomic power plant’s reactors. The first time, the first time in history," he said, urging European leaders to "wake up now" and stop Russian forces “before this becomes a nuclear disaster.”
11:58 p.m. ET, March 3, 2022
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant fire extinguished
From CNN's Josh Pennington
The fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been put out, according to a statement from the Ukrainian State Emergency Service on Friday.
"At 06:20 the fire at the Zaporizhzhia NPP training building in Enerhodar was extinguished. There are no dead or injured,” the statement said.
11:55 p.m. ET, March 3, 2022
IAEA says radiation levels are normal at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
From CNN's Simone McCarthy
A fire at Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant is still burning following an attack by Russian troops, though a plant spokesman says background radiation levels are normal and fighting has temporarily ceased.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine had not sustained any critical damage in the attack, Andrii Tuz, a spokesman for the plant, told CNN on Friday, adding that when firefighters initially arrived they were blocked by Russian troops.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Ukraine's regulator had told the organization there had been no change in reported radiation levels and that the fire had had not affected "essential" equipment. The White House said it was monitoring the situation.
Attention has focused on the safety of Ukraine's nuclear power facilities as Russia's invasion of the country intensifies. The prospect of the fire causing damage at the nuclear plant has alarmed experts, though they cautioned that it was too early to gauge the full impact.
Graham Allison, Professor at Belfer Center, Harvard University told Anderson Cooper early Friday that "facts are unfolding" but "not all fires in a power plant, have catastrophic consequences."
Ukrainian officials called on Russian troops to cease fighting after reports the plant has been attacked first emerged Friday morning local time
A large number of Russian tanks and infantry "broke through the block-post" to the town of Enerhodar, a few kilometers from the Zaporizhzhia power plant, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said, according to a statement from the watchdog.
The agency was closely monitoring the situation, and Grossi spoke with Ukraine's Prime Minister and the country's nuclear regulator about the fire, the IAEA said on Twitter early Friday.