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VOL. 46 | NO. 9 | Friday, March 4, 2022

Sorting fact, disinformation amid Russian war on Ukraine

The Associated Press

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Associated Press journalists around Ukraine and beyond are documenting military activity during Russia's invasion. With disinformation rife and social media amplifying military claims and counterclaims, determining exactly what is happening can be difficult. Here's a look at what could be confirmed Thursday as Russia's war on Ukraine was in its eighth day.

DIRECTLY WITNESSED

— Zainish Hussain, a Pakistani citizen who moved to Kherson after marrying a Ukrainian woman, told the AP by video from his home about the Russian takeover of the city, which he said was the "scariest day of his life." He said Russian tanks rolled down his block and soldiers fired into the air to get civilians to clear the street, which he showed was now empty. He said he and his wife hope to flee to Romania with their 3-year-old daughter.

— AP reporters surveyed destruction in the village of Gorenka, which lies on the outskirts of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and has found itself in the crossfire. Residents said a Russian plane bombed the village early Wednesday, destroying several homes.

— AP reporters in Kyiv heard at least one overnight explosion before videos started circulating online of apparent strikes on the city, though targets were not immediately clear. Kyiv's mayor said the explosions were missiles being shot down by Ukraine's air defense systems.

— People, mostly women, children and the elderly, were seen fleeing Ukraine for neighboring European nations by foot and packed into trains. Some of those leaving amid the cold gripping Eastern Europe also have serious mental and physical disabilities.

ANNOUNCED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES

— Ukrainian and Russian officials said they reached a tentative agreement to arrange for safe corridors to evacuate civilians and deliver humanitarian supplies. The officials, who took part in Thursday's talks in Belarus, said the two sides reached a preliminary understanding that cease-fires will be observed in areas where the safe corridors will be created and that further talks will happen soon.

— Russian troops entered the southern city of Enerhodar, a major energy hub on the Dnieper River in southern Ukraine that is the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and that accounts for about one-quarter of the country's power generation. The mayor said Ukrainian and Russian forces were battling for control of the city. Verified video showed people there streaming away from a billowing inferno.

— Shelling was reported in the northern city of Chernihiv, where Ukrainian emergency officials said at least 33 civilians were killed and 18 were wounded in a Russian bombardment of a residential area. They said the search of the rubble for additional casualties was suspended because shelling resumed.

— Zelenskyy challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to sit down for talks and urged the West to offer a stronger military assistance to Ukraine.

— Zelenskyy claimed in his address that 9,000 Russians have been killed since the invasion. It was impossible to verify the claim. Russia said Wednesday that nearly 500 of its troops had been killed since the Feb. 24 start of the invasion.

— The general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said Russian forces "did not achieve the main goal of capturing Mariupol," a crucial city on the Azov Sea. Britain's Defense Ministry said earlier this week that Mariupol was encircled. The city's mayor said the attacks there have been relentless.

ANNOUNCED BY RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES

— Speaking at a meeting with members of his Security Council, Putin accused Ukrainian nationalist groups of preventing civilians from leaving and using them as human shields. The claim couldn't be independently verified.

— The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said Russia claims that its military has taken control of the area around Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant. Russia had already seized control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which was the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster.

ANNOUNCED BY OFFICIALS IN THE U.S. AND ELSEWHERE

— The U.N. human rights office said at least 227 civilians have been killed and 525 wounded in Ukraine since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, though it acknowledged that is a vast undercount.

— The U.N. refugee agency reported that more than a million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded last week. The European Union on Thursday granted people fleeing Ukraine temporary protection and residency permits. EU Migration Commissioner Ylva Johansson said millions more refugees are expected to move into the 27-nation bloc and will require shelter, education and work.

— Non-white people have been facing "life-threatening racist and xenophobic treatment" as they try to flee the violence in Ukraine, Tendayi Achiume, the U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, said Thursday. She said some reported being denied access to bomb shelters in Ukraine, and that many others reported that border guards had prevented them from leaving the country, harassed them or denied them access to their home countries' consulates.

— The Biden administration said Thursday that it was ordering new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and others in Putin's inner circle, including his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, and close ally Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia's wealthiest people. Britain also slapped sanctions Usmanov and another Kremlin insider, Igor Shuvalov, cutting them off from U.K. properties and interests.

— German news agency dpa reported that the country's economy ministry approved sending 2,700 anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. The weapons are Soviet-made, shoulder-fired Strela surface-to-air missiles left over from East German army supplies. Berlin had already authorized sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine.

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Follow the AP's coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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