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28th Feb 2022

Violence in Ukraine enters fifth day as death toll rises

Katy Brennan

352 Ukrainian civilians, including children, have been killed so far.

As countries around the world rally in support of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has responded with a frightening nuclear warning.

On Sunday, Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces to high alert, claiming it was in response to “unfriendly” actions towards Russia by Western countries and “aggressive statements” by NATO members.

While it is unclear if Putin is genuinely considering launching a nuclear war, the threat has raised serious concerns.

The United States said Putin was escalating the war with “dangerous rhetoric”.

Last week, when he launched his “full-scale invasion”, he warned any countries who tried to interfere in the Russian operation would face “consequences they have never seen”.

It comes as The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says missiles hit a radioactive waste disposal site in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Sunday night.

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Grossi said the facilities hit by the missiles usually hold low-level radioactive materials, like hospital and industry waste, but the incident highlights a “very real risk”.

Blasts were also heard very early this morning in the capital of Kyiv and in the major city of Kharkiv.

Ukraine’s interior ministry said 352 civilians have been killed since Thursday, including 14 children, as Russia’s invasion continues.

According to The UN, at least 368,000 refugees have fled Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine are set to hold negotiations at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.

“I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting,” President Zelenskyy said. “But let them try so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as President, tried to stop the war, when there was even a small, but still a chance.”

Zelenskyy also said yesterday that the next 24 hours would be crucial for Ukraine.

The Irish Government has joined several other EU countries in confirming that Russian carriers will not be permitted to enter Irish airspace amid the ongoing invasion.

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, said on Twitter:

“Shocking Russian attacks on Ukraine overnight. #Ireland will move to shut off Irish Airspace to all Russian Aircraft.

“We encourage other EU partners to do the same. We also support new wide-ranging sanctions to be agreed today at EU FAC & new assistance package for #Ukraine.”