Ukraine - The second week of Russia's invasion of Ukraine began with an alert at Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant in the southeast. A fire broke out following Russian bombings, and fighting around the Zaporozhye plant delayed firefighters. Ukrainian officials said that safety at the power plant, which was later occupied by Russian military forces, was guaranteed and that radiation levels had not risen in the area. Also in Bucharest, the authorities announced that they do not detect increased radioactivity. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of resorting to nuclear terror with the intention of repeating the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986. The Kyiv leader spoke on the phone with the US President Joe Biden and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who urgently asked for summoning the UN Security Council. Also today, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has warned that the Russian army continues preparations for the landing of airborne troops in the Odessa region, and Radio Romania’s envoy to the region reports that a ground and sea offensive is imminent. On the other hand, the second round of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations ended with an agreement on the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from the besieged areas, with the parties agreeing to meet next week as well. At least 1 million people have left Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion. In Washington, President Biden has announced additional sanctions against Russian billionaires accused of supporting Vladimir Putin's regime. At the same time, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting today in Brussels with the NATO foreign ministers, and he will later travel to Eastern Europe.
Meeting - The Romanian FM, Bogdan Aurescu, is participating today in Brussels in the extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of the NATO member states, convened to analyze the latest security developments, in the context of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine and to further discuss the Alliance's response. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, Bogdan Aurescu will emphasize the need to strengthen the deterrence and defense posture on the Eastern Flank, especially on the Black Sea, by deploying allied forces and by accelerating the establishment of a Fighting Group in Romania. Bogdan Aurescu will also present the measures adopted by Romania in support of Ukraine, including the creation of a logistical facility to coordinate humanitarian aid for this country. On the sidelines of today's meeting, the Romanian FM, Bogdan Aurescu, met with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavuşoglu. Bogdan Aurescu welcomed Turkey's implementation of its war responsibilities under the Montreux Convention (which came into force on November 9, 1936), which regulates the regime of civil and military naval traffic through the Black Sea straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles. The Turkish Foreign Minister thanked Romania in particular for its support for the evacuation of Turkish citizens from Ukraine, but also for Romania's efforts to evacuate Ukrainian and other citizens. Refugees from Ukraine continue arriving in Romania, as they flee the war. So far, more than 160,000 refugees have come from Ukraine.
OSCE – Romania has joined a group of 44 states within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in activating the so-called Moscow Mechanism for assessing the impact on human rights and the humanitarian situation of Russia's assault on Ukraine. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the mechanism facilitates sending experts on the field to collect data to document possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of international law, international humanitarian law and OSCE commitments in Ukraine. Romania's decision to support this move comes in the wake of its efforts to firmly condemn Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, as well as to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders, the Romanian Foreign Ministry added.
Covid – President Klaus Iohannis is today hosting a meeting on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is attended by the Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca and members of the government. This week, the health ministry proposed relaxation measures in the next period, after a constant decrease of all indicators. The latest report from the Strategic Communication Group shows 5,602 new cases of infection in 24 hours and 67 associated deaths, 2 of which are previous to the reference period.
Peace – Today, 150 European public radio stations, including Radio Romania, simultaneously broadcast the song "Give Peace a Chance" written by former Beatles member John Lennon, to ask for an end to the war in Ukraine. The well-known song could be heard in 25 countries, including Ukraine, and also on private radio stations that joined the German public radio’s initiative. (LS)