Russia’s war on Ukraine is in its ninth day. Russian forces have shelled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, sparking a fire there that was extinguished overnight. The U.N. nuclear watchdog says there was no sign Friday of radiation leaks.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces 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 neighboring countries, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. That number more than doubled from an initial estimate of 520,000 refugees in just four days.
Delegates from Ukraine and Russia met in Belarus on Thursday and agreed on humanitarian corridors that would allow civilians to flee safely and allow for humanitarian supplies to be delivered — but made little headway on ending the fighting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on other European nations to support his country’s fight against the invading Russian military.
Zelenskyy appeared on video as he addressed thousands of people protesting the war in several European cities, naming among them Paris, Prague, Lyon, Frankfurt and others. He asked the big crowds not to be silent about what’s going on in his country.
“Don’t turn a blind eye on this,” he said. “Come out and support Ukraine as much as you can,” he said though a translator.
“If we fall, you will fall,” he said.
“And if we win, and I’m sure we’ll win, this will be the victory of the whole democratic world, this will be the victory of our freedom, this will be the victory of light over darkness, of freedom over slavery. And if we win we will become as blossoming as Europe. And Europe will be flourishing more than ever,” he said.
“All of you are Ukrainians today, thank you for this.”
Reporting by the Associated Press.