Russian forces seize Ukrainian nuclear power plant after attack

Blinken on NATO: ‘If conflict comes to us, we’re ready for it’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on March 3, 2022, to travel to Europe for discussions with NATO allies and European partners on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Olivier Douliery | Afp | Getty Images

US Secretary of State has said that NATO is prepared for conflict if it seeks out the military alliance’s territory.

“Ours is a defensive alliance, we seek no conflict, but if conflict comes to us we’re ready for it and we will defend every inch of NATO territory,” he told reporters as he extraordinary arrived at NATO’s meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday.

“In the wake of Russia’s unprovoked and premeditated aggression against Ukraine, this alliance came together with speed and determination,” Blinken added. “Every ally in one way or another is coming to Ukraine’s assistance.”

— Chloe Taylor

Former Australian prime minister says China is looking for long-term lessons from the world’s reaction to Russia’s invasion

Beijing will be taking note of the repercussions Russia faces for invading Ukraine and drawing long-term lessons for itself, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.

“The Chinese will be looking very carefully at the nature of the financial, economic and diplomatic fallout for Russia from the rest of the world as a result of this unilateral Russian invasion,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Friday.

Beijing has often said it plans to reunify with democratically self-governed Taiwan. Other analysts have previously told CNBC, however, that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine doesn’t necessarily encourage China to take its own actions against Taiwan.

Rudd said at this point, China’s financial system is not insulated enough.

“China still remains vulnerable to the dollar-denominated global financial system,” said Rudd, who is the president and CEO of Asia Society.

— Abigail Ng

672,500 Ukrainian refugees have reached Poland

People who have fled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine wait at the Shehyni border crossing to enter Poland, near Mostyska, Ukraine, on March 1, 2022.

Thomas Peter | Reuters

Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 672,500 people have crossed the border into Poland to flee the conflict, the Polish border guard said Friday.

On Thursday, more than 99,000 refugees crossed from Ukraine into Poland, and as of 7 local time on Friday, more than 25,000 people had fled Ukraine and reached Poland.

— Chloe Taylor

Russian military forces in control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant

Ukraine’s nuclear agency says Russian military forces have taken control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Russian troops shelled the power station in the early hours of Friday morning. The attack resulted in a fire that has since been put out by Ukrainian emergency services.

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine said that personnel at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant continue to work at the site to ensure safe operation. Radiation levels are also normal.

Located in the southeast of the country, the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant houses six of Ukraine’s 15 operational nuclear power reactors.

— Sam Meredith

US energy secretary says Ukrainian nuclear power plant reactors ‘being safely shut down’

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said she has spoken to Ukraine’s energy minister about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and has decided to activate the US Nuclear Incident Response Team.

“Russian military operations near the plant are reckless and must cease,” Granholm added in a tweet.

“The plant’s reactors are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down.”

Separately, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that it has spoken with Ukrainian leadership, and has been told that “essential” equipment at the plant is still working.

“Ukraine tells IAEA that fire at site of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has not affected essential’ equipment, plant personnel taking mitigatory actions,” the agency posted on Twitter.

— Sumathi Bala

UK’s Johnson speaks with Zelenskyy, calls for UN Security Council meeting

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a joint news conference with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (not pictured) in Warsaw, Poland February 10, 2022.

Slawomir Kaminsk | Reuters

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Friday on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.

“Both leaders agreed that Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant,” according to a readout provided by 10 Downing Street.

“The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe,” the readout added.

Johnson also told Zelenskyy that he would seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the matter.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian officials say situation at nuclear power plant is secure

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine said Friday that following an attack by Russian forces on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the facility is currently secure.

The emergency service said that there was a fire behind the nuclear power plant in an area that is used for training. The service said that initially, firefighters were unable to extinguish the fire due to the ongoing armed conflict.

The director of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant said in a statement posted Friday on Facebook that at the moment the plant is secure.

— Amanda Macias

Google pauses ads in Russia

Google says it is pausing all ads in Russia, effective immediately.

“In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia,” a company spokesperson said in an email response to CNBC on Thursday evening. “The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate.”

The pause includes ads in Search, YouTube, and Display, the company added.

The widespread Google ad pause comes after the company only previously blocked ads that “sought to take advantage of the situation” as categorized under its “Sensitive Events” policy. It also comes after the company this week. He said it would ban Russian state-funded publisher sites, ads, apps, and YouTube channels from its various platforms.

— Jennifer Elias

Biden speaks with Zelenskyy as Russian forces attack Europe’s largest nuclear plant

President Joe Biden speaking to Vladimir Putin from the White House, Dec. 30, 2021.

Source: White House Photo

President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday evening amid reports that Europe’s largest nuclear plant was under siege by Russian forces.

“President Biden joined President Zelenskyy in urging Russia to cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

Biden also spoke with the under secretary for nuclear security of the US Department of Energy and the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration to receive an update on the situation at the plant.

The White House said that Biden will continue to receive regular briefings on the matter.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, was on fire and warned that “if it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl!”

The last known call between Biden and Zelenskyy was on Tuesday, before that the two leaders spoke on Feb. 25.

— Amanda Macias

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