- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges Russian President Vladimir Putin to sit down for talks, while calling for more international support.
- Russian troops edge closer to Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Energodar, where the mayor says shot have been heard.
- Ukrainian and Russian negotiators agree to a tentative plan to create a humanitarian corridor.
- Putin says Russia’s military operations in Ukraine are “going to plan”.
- While Kherson is under Russian control, other cities including the capital, Kyiv, northeastern Kharkiv and Mariupol, in the southeast, continue to be attacked.
- More than one million people have fled Ukraine amid Russia’s assault, according to the UN.
Here are all the latest updates:
Zaporizhzhia power plant is on fire, says the mayor of the local town
The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the largest of its kind in Europe, was on fire after an attack by Russian troops, the mayor of the nearby town of Energodar has said.
“As a result of continuous enemy shelling of buildings and units of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is on fire,” Dmytro Orlov said.
There is currently a livestream broadcasting fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops fighting over the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.https: //t.co/pXXQKW524V
– Woofers (@NotWoofers) March 3, 2022
Charter aircraft carrying Russian foreign nationals held in Canada
A charter aircraft carrying Russian foreign nationals has been held at the Yellowknife airport in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a Twitter post.
“We will continue to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine,” Alghabra said.
A charter aircraft that carried Russian foreign nationals has been held at the Yellowknife airport. We will continue to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.
– Omar Alghabra (@OmarAlghabra) March 3, 2022
US grants temporary protection to Ukrainians in the country
US President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is shielding Ukrainian citizens already in the country from deportation.
The US Department of Homeland Security said it is offering temporary protected status (TPS) to Ukrainians for 18 months because the current situation prevents them from safely returning to the country.
“The premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
Russia-owned SCF oil tankers returning to Russia
Two oil tankers owned and operated by Sovcomflot, the Russian maritime and freight shipping company that the United States blacklisted last week, are rerouting from their Canadian destinations, while another is returning to Russia after discharging, according to tracking data and marine sources.
The two tankers are the first Russian-owned oil vessels to change course after Canada this week ratcheted up pressure on Russia by shutting ports to Russian-owned ships and barring them from Canadian waters.
“It’s incredibly confusing for where these ships go, whether they will be received or not and if ports will accept them,” said Dan Yergin, vice chairman of energy research and consultancy IHS Markit.
IDPs recount spending ‘days and days’ without food
Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people fleeing the conflict are being housed in public buildings in the outskirts of Dnipro.
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from a public school that is being used as a temporary shelter, said many fleeing from Kharkiv, Mariupol, as well as the Donbass region arrived at the facility. They will soon be continuing their journey to try and reach the nearest border.
“There are a lot of people here… a lot of children,” Abdel-Hamid said.
“Those who are fleeing Kharkiv told me how they spent days and days in the shelter with no food, in the cold, not being able at any point to go out,” she said.
Many said they “don’t know if they will ever return,” Abdel-Hamid added.
Czech Republic to send additional military aid to Ukraine
The Czech Republic will send an additional military aid package worth 17 million crowns ($ 730,900) to Ukraine, including light weapons and ammunition rounds, the Defense Ministry has said.
The ministry said on its Twitter account the package included hundreds of machine guns or assault rifles and more than 100,0000 ammunition rounds from Czech weapons groups, such as CZG-Ceska Zbrojovka Group.
Saudi crown prince supports de-escalation in call with Zelenskyy
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has told Zelenskyy in a phone call that Saudi Arabia is willing to mediate between Russia, Ukraine and all parties related to the ongoing crisis, the state news agency reported.
The Saudi leader, known as MBS, also said the Gulf kingdom will extend the visas of Ukrainian visitors, tourists and residents in the country.
WHO fears more vulnerable refugees could flee Ukraine
The next wave of refugees to flee Ukraine is likely to be even more vulnerable to illness and economic hardship than the one million people who have already left, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official has said.
Speaking from a warehouse in Warsaw, Poland, where the WHO is coordinating the delivery of 36 tons of medical aid to Ukraine, European director Hans Kluge said the “humanitarian catastrophe” was set to work as Russian troops surround and bombard major Ukrainian cities.
“If the military conflict escalates, that means we are going to see more and more very vulnerable people coming with only the clothes on their body,” Kluge told the Reuters news agency.
Senegal calls Ukraine embassy war recruitment post illegal
Senegal’s foreign ministry has condemned as illegal a Facebook post by Ukraine’s embassy that called for Senegalese volunteers to join its fight against Russia.
The recruitment of volunteers, mercenaries and other foreign fighters is illegal in Senegal and punishable by law, the ministry said in a statement.
Ukrainian ambassador Yurii Pyvovarov was summoned to the ministry to explain the post, where after verifying its legitimacy he was asked to take it down, the statement said.
Fresh US sanctions target Russian elites, Putin’s inner circle
The White House has announced additional sanctions on several wealthy Russian elites and individuals in Putin’s inner circle, including the Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov.
The sanctions, which include visa restrictions and seizure of assets, target 19 “oligarchs” and 47 of their family members.
Read more here.
Zelenskyy asks Putin to meet for talks
Zelenskyy has challenged Putin to sit down for talks while urging the West to offer stronger military assistance to Ukraine.
In a sarcastic reference to a long table Putin used for his recent meetings with foreign leaders and Russian officials, Zelenskyy said: “Sit down with me to negotiate, just not at 30 meters.”
The Ukrainian president added: “I don’t bite. What are you afraid of? ”
Zelensky said that prospects for another round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiations do not seem promising, but stressed the need to negotiate, adding that “any words are more important than shots”.
Russian troops head to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in southeast Ukraine
The mayor of the Ukrainian town of Energodar said a column of Russian troops was headed towards the nearby Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, late on Thursday.
Earlier, the Ukrainian authorities reported that Russian troops were stepping up efforts to seize the plant in southeast Ukraine and had entered Energodar with tanks.
“Loud shots can be heard in the town,” Mayor Dmytro Orlov said in an online post.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Read all the updates from Thursday, March 3, here.