Surveillance camera footage shows Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling
Surveillance camera footage shows Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine, on March 4, 2022, in this screengrab from a video obtained from social media. Image Credit: Zaporizhzhya NPP/via REUTERS

Europe's largest nuclear power plant in eastern Ukraine comes under attack from Russian shelling early Friday, raising the stakes in Vladimir Putin's assault as his forces bombard cities across the nation for the ninth consecutive day. Here are the latest developments from the war front:

more recent developments

Port city of Mariupol under 'blockade'

Ukraine's strategic port city of Mariupol is under a "blockade" by the Russian army after days of "ruthless" attacks, its mayor said on Saturday, calling for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor.

"For now, we are looking for solutions to humanitarian problems and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade," said Vadim Boychenko in a message posted on Telegram.

Samsung suspends shipments to Russia

Samsung Electronics said on Saturday shipments to Russia have been suspended "due to current geopolitical developments."

"We continue to actively monitor this complex situation to determine our next steps," the company said in a statement.

Samsung is also donating $6 million, including $1 million in consumer electronics, as well as voluntary donations from employees, to actively support humanitarian efforts "around the region," including aid for refugees, it said.

NATO rejects Ukraine no-fly zone

NATO on Friday rejected Ukrainian calls to help it protect its skies from Russian missiles and warplanes, wary of being dragged into Moscow's war on its neighbour, but Europe promised more sanctions to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strongly criticised the decision, saying the alliance had given Russia the green light to continue its bombing campaign.

He had earlier appealed to NATO to set up a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which Russia invaded by land, sea and air on Feb. 24.

"We are not part of this conflict," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in denying Ukraine's request.

"We have a responsibility as NATO allies to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine because that would be even more dangerous, more devastating and would cause even more human suffering," he said following a NATO meeting in Brussels.

Oil surges to multi-year highs

Oil surged on Friday, ending the week at multi-year highs as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensified and oil buyers shunned barrels from the world’s second-largest exporter of crude.

Crude prices posted their largest weekly gains since the middle of 2020, with the Brent benchmark up 21 per cent and US crude gaining 26 per cent. The most commonly traded oil futures closed at levels not seen since 2013 and 2008, respectively.

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French luxury fashion house Chanel to suspend all business in Russia

French luxury fashion house Chanel said on Friday it would suspend all business in Russia.

In a statement published on LinkedIn, the company said the decision came due to "increasing concerns about the current situation, the growing uncertainty and the complexity to operate."

Chanel has already paused its e-commerce operations in Russia and said it planned to close all boutiques and stop deliveries to Russia.

CNN to stop broadcasting in Russia

CNN will stop broadcasting in Russia, the news channel said on Friday.

"CNN will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward," a spokesperson said.

Russia restricts access to Twitter

Russian state communications regulator Roskomnadzor has restricted access to Twitter Inc, Tass news agency said on Friday.

Interfax news agency earlier said the service had been blocked. Earlier on Friday the regulator said it had blocked Meta Platforms Inc's Facebook in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on its platform.

'No-fly zone could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe': US

The United States on Friday defended NATO's decision not to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, arguing such a measure could cause the conflict to spread to more countries.

"We have a responsibility to ensure the war does not spill over beyond Ukraine ... A no-fly zone could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe," Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters.

Putin formally signs fake news law

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday formally signed a law that would impose a jail term of up to 15 years for people who intentionally spread "fake" information about Russia's armed forces, TASS news agency reported.

The law was drafted earlier in the day by Russia's upper house of parliament. Putin also signed a law that would means those who called for sanctions against Russia would be held criminally responsible, said Tass.


Russia blocks Facebook amid conflict with Ukraine


Russia on Friday blocked social media staple Facebook in the country, the media regulator said, over a week after Moscow attacked its neighbour Ukraine.

"On March 4, 2022 it was decided to block access to Facebook (belonging to the company Meta) on the territory of the Russian Federation," Roskomnadzor said citing "26 instances of discrimination toward Russian media" by Facebook.

The move was part of an unprecedented government crackdown on independent media and activists since the start of the Russian attack.

The country's key remaining liberal media outlets have been shut down in recent days and a new law introducing harsh jail terms for publishing "fake news" about the war in Ukraine has forced others to abstain from covering that topic.

UN food agency warns of global hunger

The United Nations' World Food Programme warned Friday about a looming food crisis in Ukraine in conflict areas, while disruptions in production and exports could lead to food insecurity globally.

"In a year when the world is already facing an unprecedented level of hunger, it's just tragic to see hunger raising its head in what has long been the breadbasket of Europe,' said the UN agency's director, David Beasley.

"The bullets and bombs in Ukraine could take the global hunger crisis to levels beyond anything we've seen before," said Beasley.

G7 urges Russia to stop attacks near Ukraine nuclear plants

G7 foreign ministers on Friday urged Russia "to stop its attacks in the direct vicinity of Ukraine's nuclear power plants", following the overnight fighting and fire at the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant.

"Any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of international law," they said in a joint statement.

Mohamed bin Zayed, Ukrainian President discuss crisis

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Friday discussed in a telephone conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, a number of regional and international issues, within the framework of discussions with world leaders regarding developments in Ukraine.

Sheikh Mohamed was briefed by the Ukrainian President on the latest developments and stressed the importance of finding peaceful solutions through negotiation, dialogue and understanding.

Sheikh Mohamed said the UAE supports every move aimed at a peaceful settlement of the crisis, and was keen to provide assistance to affected civilians in Ukraine, based on its longstanding humanitarian approach.

Sheikh Mohamed stressed the importance of continuous and serious communication to find a political solution to the crisis that ensures the interests of all parties and safeguards their security.

BBC suspends operations inside Russia

The BBC says it is temporarily suspending the work of all its journalists in Russia after the country's lawmakers approved legislation criminalizing reporting of the war in Ukraine that differs from the government line.

Tim Davie, director-general of the British broadcaster, said the legislation "appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism.'' He said the corporation was halting newsgathering work by its journalists and support staff in Russia "while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development.''

"The safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs,'' he said.

Davie said the BBC's Russian-language news service would continue to operate from outside 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 could be signed by President Vladimir Putin and take effect as soon as Saturday.

Putin says Ukraine must meet Russian demands

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready for talks with Ukraine but insisted that it must meet Moscow’s demands.

Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Ukraine must agree to demilitarise, accept Moscow’s sovereignty over Crimea and surrender territory to Russia-backed rebels in the east, the Kremlin said in its readout of Friday’s call.

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 also agreed to keep talking on ways to negotiate a settlement, but Putin’s tough demands make prospects for a compromise look dim. Ukrainian negotiators said the parties may conduct another round of talks over the weekend.

UN says 1.2 million people have fled Ukraine

The UN refugee agency reported on Friday 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.

UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said “we know that the majority are women, children and the elderly,” but she was unable to provide a more specific breakdown by age or gender.

Ukraine refugees Hungary
A woman and two children wait next to their luggage in the village of Tiszabecs, Hungary, close to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border on March 3, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

UN Security Council to meet on nuclear plant

The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency open meeting on the attack on Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant.

The meeting, to be held at 1630GMT Friday, was requested by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Norway and Albania.

Council diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency will brief council members. The shelling at the Zaporizhzhia plant in Enerhodar had touched off a fire that was extinguished. Russian forces have taken control of the site.

Several explosions heard in quick succession in Kyiv, siren sounds

Several explosions were heard in quick succession in Ukraine's capital Kyiv on Friday and an air raid siren blasted out, a Reuters reporter said.

The exact origin of the explosions could not be immediately established. Russia has launched a multi-pronged invasion of Ukraine. Moscow describes its actions as a "special operation".

Turkey renews effort to mediate in Ukraine crisis

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 Friday to reporters in Brussels where he attended a NATO meeting, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Russian Foreign Minister Seygey 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.

Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv issues air raid warning 

Ukraine's Black Sea port city of Mykolayiv issued an air raid warning on Friday after the authorities reported fighting around the city as Russian forces sought to advance.

Earlier on Friday, the Ukrainian authorities said the Russian advance on the ship-building hub had been halted after Regional Governor Vitaliy Kim reported Russian troops entering the city.

Nuclear regulator seeks talks as fire contained

A top nuclear official called for talks with Moscow and Kyiv after a fire broke out at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia, Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

The government in Kyiv accused Putin's military of causing the fire by shelling the area. Russian forces now occupy the area. Ukraine's nuclear regulator said plant personnel were monitoring the state of power units to ensure safety protocols were maintained.

Preparations continue for a possible landing of Russian assault troops near the Black Sea city of Odesa. Ukraine's defense minister said the navy had sunk its own flagship frigate in port to avoid possible capture. Russian troops are encircling Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, the general staff of the Ukrainian army said.

Moscow awaits Ukraine's response after talks, Kremlin says

The Kremlin told Russians on Friday to rally around President Vladimir Putin and said that what happened next in the negotiations over Ukraine would depend on Kyiv's reaction to this week's talks between the two sides.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that no documents had been agreed yet with Ukraine at the talks, but that Moscow had told the Ukrainian side how it saw the solution to the conflict.

Over 18,000 refugees have come to Germany

Over 18,000 refugees have come to Germany from Ukraine so far and about 3,000 of them are not Ukrainian nationals, a German Interior Ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

"But of course, people who are now fleeing the war zone can enter the EU, regardless of whether they are Ukrainian asylum seekers or third-country nationals," the spokesperson said.

He added that most of the non-Ukrainians had a permanent residence in Ukraine, which means they do not have to go through an asylum procedure.

People, fleeing Ukraine, register for a bus which will take them to Germany, at the train station in Przemysl, Poland. Image Credit: AP

UK seeks UN Security Council meeting

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Friday said 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 told British television on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

No radiation after nuclear plant hit

The head of the UN atomic agency says a Ukrainian nuclear plant was hit by a Russian “projectile” but that the building it struck was a training center and there has been no release of radiation.

Initial reports were unclear about what part of the plant was affected by a fire that broke out after the shelling late Thursday, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said on Friday that the building was “not part of the reactor.”

He said Ukrainians are still in control of the reactor and the fire has been extinguished. The Ukrainian state nuclear company said three Ukrainian troops were killed and two wounded in the Russian attack. The UN says only one reactor at the plant is operating, at about 60 per cent of capacity.

Ukraine wants no-fly zone as nuclear plant hit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants a no-fly zone to be imposed over his country in the wake of Russian shelling of Europe's largest nuclear plant.

The attack on the Zaporizhzhia plant did not produce elevated radiation levels, but Zelenskyy on Friday evoked 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 said.

Any attempt by European air forces to impose a no-fly zone would likely severely escalate the conflict.

Zelenskyy also called on Russian civilians to express outrage about the plant attack.

"Radiation does not know where the Russian border is," he said.

Blinken meets NATO allies in Brussels as Russian troops continue their offensive in Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with NATO allies in Brussels on Friday, the first stop on a European tour meant to project Western unity in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

His visit comes as Russian troops seize control of a nuclear plant and continue to encircle Ukrainian cities, spurring an exodus that's seen over 1 million people flee in a week.

At NATO headquarters Friday morning, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted the attack on the nuclear plant, saying it "just demonstrates the recklessness of this war and the importance of ending it."

NATO members will discuss next steps in the response, as well as the longer-term strategic implications of Russian President Vladimir Putin's assault. Stoltenberg stressed that NATO was not a party to the Ukraine conflict.

"We don't seek war or conflict with Russia," he said. "At the same time, we need to make sure there is no misunderstanding about our commitment to defend and protect our allies," pointing to recent troop reinforcements in Eastern Europe.

Blinken, speaking alongside Stoltenberg, said NATO members had come together to bolster the security of member states as the Russian operation unfolds. "Every ally in one way or another is coming to Ukraine's assistance," he said. "Every ally in one way or another is helping to strengthen NATO itself."

Russia blames attack at nuclear power station on Ukrainian saboteurs

Russia's defence ministry on Friday blamed an attack at the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine on Ukrainian saboteurs, calling it a "monstrous provocation".

Ukraine has said Russian forces attacked the plant in the early hours of Friday, setting an adjacent five-storey training facility on fire, in an incident that provoked international condemnation of Moscow, eight days into its assault of Ukraine.

Reuters could not independently verify either the Russian or the Ukrainian account of the incident.

A Russian defence ministry spokesman said the nuclear plant was operating normally and the area had been under Russian control since February 28.

"However, last night on the territory adjacent to the power plant, an attempt was made by the Kyiv nationalist regime to carry out a monstrous provocation," spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

"On March 4 at about 2am during a patrol of guarded territory adjacent to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, a mobile patrol of the National Guard came under attack from a Ukrainian sabotage group," he said.

"To provoke return fire on the building, heavy small arms fire was opened on Russian National Guard servicemen from the windows of several floors of a training complex located outside the power plant." He said the Russian patrol returned fire to suppress the attack, and the "sabotage group" abandoned the training complex, setting fire to it as they left.

The account was diametrically opposed to Ukraine's version of events.

Earlier, a video from the plant verified by Reuters showed a building aflame, and a volley of incoming shells, before a large incandescent ball lit up the sky, exploding beside a car park and sending smoke billowing across the compound.

Ukraine sinks Navy flagship to avoid its capture

The commander of Ukraine's Navy complied with an order to sink the flagship frigate Hetman Sagaidachny, which was under repair, to avoid it falling into Russian hands, Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov said in a statement.

Images of the vessel at dock in the port city of Mykolaiv, lying half-submerged on its side, appeared on social media. It comes as Russian troops advance closer to key Black Sea targets.

China 'concerned' about Ukraine nuclear sites

China says it is "seriously concerned about the safety and security" of nuclear facilities in Ukraine following a blaze at Europe's biggest nuclear plant ignited by Russian artillery fire.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters Friday that China will continue to follow developments at the Zaporizhizhia plant in the city of Enerhodar and "calls on all parties concerned to maintain calm and restraint, prevent further escalation of the situation and ensure the safety of the nuclear facilities concerned."

"China attaches great importance to nuclear safety and is seriously concerned about the safety and security situation of nuclear facilities in Ukraine," Wang said.

The spokesperson's comments marked a rare Chinese sign of unease over the war in Ukraine, in which Beijing has largely sided with its neighbour and close security partner Russia. Chinese leader Xi Jinping hosted Russian President Vladimir

China had abstained on votes at the United Nations on sanctioning Russia and demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops, and blamed the unprovoked Russian invasion on NATO's eastern advance and a lack of attention to Russia's security concerns.

'Reckless bombardment'

Britain's deputy prime minister says Russia's shelling of a nuclear power plant is an example of the ever more brutal tactics Russian President Vladimir Putin is resorting to as his assault of Ukraine faces greater resistance than expected.

Dominic Raab's comments came after shelling triggered a fire at the Zaporizhzhia power plant overnight. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the attack.

"It was clearly a reckless bombardment of a very sensitive and precarious and dangerous facility," Raab told Sky News on Friday. "And the fact that the Russians kept bombarding it after there was the fire and the Ukrainian emergency rescue team were trying to get to that makes it doubly reprehensible."

Russia curbs access to BBC Russian service and Radio Liberty

Russia's communications watchdog has restricted access to the Russian-language websites of the BBC and Radio Liberty for spreading what it cast as false information about the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly complained that Western media organisations offer a partial - and often anti-Russian - view of the world while failing to hold their own leaders to account for devastating foreign wars such as Iraq and corruption.

Western leaders have for years raised concerns about the dominance of state media in Russia and say the freedoms won when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 have been rolled back by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia's RIA news agency said access to the websites of BBC Russian service as well as Radio Liberty and the Meduza media outlet were being limited, citing the media watchdog's official register.

According to an official notice received on March 3, the Russian communications watchdog said Radio Liberty's Russian service had spread "obviously fake socially significant information about the alleged Russian attack on Ukrainian territory".

Describing the situation in Ukraine has become a sensitive issue in Moscow.

Russian officials do not use the word "invasion" and say Western media have failed to report on what they cast as the "genocide" of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine.

130 Russian buses ready to evacuate Indian students

130 Russian buses are ready to evacuate Indian students and other foreigners from Ukraine's Kharkiv and Sumy to Russia's Belgorod Region, Russian National Defense Control Center Head Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev announced.

"A total of 130 comfortable buses are ready to depart to Kharkiv and Sumy from the Nekhoteyevka and Sudzha checkpoints in the Belgorod Region since 6am today in order to rescue Indian students and citizens of other foreign states," he said.

It is also reported that places for temporary accommodation and rest have been set up at the checkpoints. The refugees will be provided with hot meals; mobile clinics have also been set up there with a stockpile of medicine, reported Russian News Agency TASS.

"The evacuees will be then transported to the city of Belgorod for subsequent departure to their homeland by air, including via Russian military airplanes," said General Mizintsev.

Australia freezes $33 million in Russian funds

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 attack of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Friday declined to identify the institution or who owned the money.

Australia has imposed sanctions against more than 350 Russian individuals including President Vladimir Putin. Australia has also targeted with sanctions 13 Belarus entities and individuals including Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant seized by Russian military

Russian military forces have seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - Europe's largest - in Ukraine's southeast, the regional state administration said on Friday.

"Operational personnel are monitoring the condition of power units," it said on social media, quoting the Ukrainian nuclear inspectorate.

This image made from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows bright flaring object landing in grounds of the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine Friday, March 4, 2022. Image Credit: AP

It said efforts sought to ensure the operations were in line with safety requirements.

Ukraine has said Russian forces attacked the plant in the early hours of Friday, setting an adjacent five-story training facility on fire.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the reactors at Zaporizhzhia power station "are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down".

Granholm said on Twitter she had spoken with Ukraine's energy minister about the situation at the plant. She said there was no elevated radiation readings near the facility.

Ukrainian emergency services said one of six nuclear power units was working as of early Friday.

Fire at Ukraine nuclear plant 'extinguished', Kyiv blames Russia

The fire at Europe's largest nuclear power plant has been extinguished, Ukrainian emergency services said Friday, after Kyiv blamed Russian military shelling for the blaze.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of resorting to "nuclear terror" and wanting to "repeat" the Chernobyl disaster after he said Russian forces deliberately attacked the nuclear power plant.

Ukraine's emergency services said it was able to put out the fire after the Russian military eventually allowed rescuers to access the site.

"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 said in a statement on Facebook.

Another Indian student shot in Kyiv, hospitalised

An Indian student has been hospitalised after he was shot in the capital city of Ukraine, a few days after an Indian student lost his life in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Speaking exclusively to ANI, Minister of State (MoS) for Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) General VK Singh revealed the information at Poland's Rzeszow airport on Friday.

"A student from Kyiv was reported to have been shot and was immediately admitted to the hospital in Kyiv," General (retd) Singh told ANI.

"The Indian embassy had earlier cleared on the priority that everyone should leave Kyiv. In the event of war, the gun bullet does not look at anyone's religion and nationality," he added.

The students are currently fleeing the war-torn country Ukraine and trying to reach the border of Poland for their safe return to India.

Four Union Ministers, Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya M Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and Gen (Retd) VK Singh - are overseeing the evacuation efforts in the countries adjoining Ukraine.

Airbnb is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus

Home rental company Airbnb Inc is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus, Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky said in a tweet on Friday.

Indian shares tumble as Ukraine crisis intensifies

Indian shares fell more than 1% on Friday, tracking a sell-off in global equity markets, as the escalating Ukraine crisis sent oil prices surging and stoked inflation fears.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index had fallen by 1.46% to 16,256.80 by 0350 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex had dropped by 1.52% to 54,266.72. Both the indexes were set for their fourth consecutive weekly loss.

India is the world's third-largest importer of crude oil, and rising prices push up the country's trade and current account deficit while also hurting the rupee and fuelling imported inflation.

Nifty's bank index {.NSEBANK, financial services index , auto index and IT index were among the top losers, falling between 1% and 2%.

Asian stock markets suffered heavy losses while oil prices jumped on the worsening Russia-Ukraine conflict.


Boris Johnson to seek UN Security Council meeting

The office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting after Russian troops in Ukraine attacked a nuclear power plant and sparked a fire.

Johnson's office says he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the early hours of the morning. He says Britain will raise the issue immediately with Russia and close partners.

Johnson's office says he and Zelensky agree Russia must immediately cease attacking and allow emergency services unfettered access to the plant. The two agree a ceasefire is essential.

"The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe," Johnson's office said in a statement. "He said (the United Kingdom) would do everything it could to ensure the situation did not deteriorate further."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he also spoke with Zelenskyy about the attacks on the power plant.

"These unacceptable attacks by Russia must cease immediately," he said on Twitter.

Ukraine nuclear reactors being safely shut down - US energy official

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Friday the reactors at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station "are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down".

Granholm said on Twitter she had just spoken with Ukraine's energy minister about the situation at the plant, where a fire broke out during fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

"We have seen no elevated radiation readings near the facility," Granholm said.

Zelensky talks to leaders about nuclear plant

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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on March 3, 2022 Image Credit: AFP

"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.

Biden speaks to Zelensky about power plant fire

US President Joe Biden spoke on Thursday evening with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to receive an update on the fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the White House said in a statement.

Biden joined Zelenskiy "in urging Russia to cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site," the statement said.

Biden also received an update on the situation from the US Energy Department's under secretary for nuclear security, it said.

Ukraine officials say fire at nuclear power plant erupted outside the perimeter

A fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine, the largest of its kind in Europe, broke out in a training building outside the plant's perimeter after an attack by Russian troops, the state emergency service said in a statement on Friday.

Separately, the plant's director told Ukraine 24 television that radiation security had been secured at the site.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plan
File photo: In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is seen in Enerhodar, Ukraine. Image Credit: AP

Radiation level 'unchanged' at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Background radiation levels remain unchanged at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine where a fire has broken out following an attack by Russian military, the RIA news agency cited a plant spokesman as saying.

Separately, RIA quoted Ukraine's emergency service as saying that the fire was outside the station perimeter and one of the blocks at the station had been switched off.

'If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chernobyl!'

A fire has broken out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine and the Russian army was shelling it from all sides, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter on Friday after a local mayor also reported a Russian attack there.

Reuters could not immediately verify the information.

"Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe," Kuleba's tweet said.

"Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chernobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!" Kuleba wrote, referring to the 1986 accident in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant when the country was part of the Soviet Union, considered the worst nuclear disaster in history.

Google stops all ad sales in Russia

Alphabet Inc's Google said on Thursday that it had stopped selling online advertising in Russia, a ban that covers search, YouTube and outside publishing partners.

The move by the world's top seller of online ads by revenue follows similar pauses in Russia by smaller internet companies Twitter Inc and Snap Inc.

Russian troops shoot at firefighters trying to extinguish fire

A generating unit at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, has been hit during an attack by Russian troops and part of the station is on fire, RIA news agency cited the Ukrainian atomic energy ministry as saying on Friday.

"Firefighters can't start extinguishing the fire at the Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant - they are being fired on at point-blank range. There is already a hit on the first power unit," the agency quoted the ministry as saying.