Sorting fact, disinformation amid Russian war on Ukraine

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Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at a damaged city center after Russian air raid in Chernigiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 3, 2022. Russian forces have escalated their attacks on crowded cities in what Ukraine's leader called a blatant campaign of terror. (AP Photo/Dmytro Kumaka)

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.

— 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

— A spokesman for Europe’s largest nuclear plant said Russians began shelling the power station. The plant is in Enerhodar, a city on the Dnieper River that accounts for one-quarter of the country’s power generation. The spokesman said the shelling began early Friday.

— The mayor of Enerhodar 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 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. The regional governor said Thursday that the city's access to electricity, water, heating and food had been cut, and he described the siege as punishing.

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.

— 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