Tuesday, January 31

Ukraine’s president says Russian forces are attempting to seize control of Chernobyl nuclear power plant

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From CNN’s Anastasia Graham-Yooll in London and Gul Tuysuz in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that Russian forces are attempting to seize control of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

“Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the Chernobyl [Nuclear Power Plant]. Our defenders are sacrificing their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Zelensky tweeted. “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe,” he added. 

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry echoed Zelensky’s warning, tweeting that a Russian attack on Ukraine could “cause another ecological disaster.”

“In 1986, the world saw the biggest technological disaster in Chernobyl,” the ministry tweeted. “If Russia continues the war, Chernobyl can happen again in 2022.”5 min ago

UN refugee agency says it’s ready to provide humanitarian assistance wherever necessary and possible

From CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is ready to assist in humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and is asking neighboring counties to keep borders open to those who are seeking safety, the organization said in a series of tweets on Thursday. 

“We’re gravely concerned about the fast-deteriorating situation and ongoing military actions in Ukraine. We have seen reports of casualties, and people starting to flee to seek safety. Civilian lives and civilian infrastructure must be protected and safeguarded at all times,” the UNHCR tweeted on Thursday. 

“We are working with the authorities, UN, [internally displaced people] community groups and other partners in Ukraine and are ready to provide humanitarian assistance wherever necessary and possible. Security and access for humanitarian efforts must be guaranteed,” according to another agency tweet.

“UNHCR is also working with governments in neighbouring countries, calling to keep borders open to those seeking safety and protection. We stand ready to support efforts by all to respond to any situation of forced displacement,” the agency stated. 9 min ago

On the ground: Mother and kids take shelter in subway station: “We try to be brave”

CNN’s Clarissa Ward spoke with a mother and her two young children as they took shelter in a subway station in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

She said they woke up around 5 a.m. local time when they heard explosions.

Her 9-year-old son said he was “so-so” when asked if he was scared.

She told Ward she thinks they will stay in the station tonight. They only have snacks and water.

She said she never thought they would be in this situation.

“We try to be brave, because we have children and we don’t want to show them that we are scared,” she said.

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