CHERNOBYL - JANUARY 28: A Chernobyl sign on entry to the town is seen on January 28, 2006 in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Chernobyl and the surrounding area will not be safe for human habitation for several centuries. Scientists estimate that the most dangerous radioactive elements will take up to 900 years to decay sufficiently to render the area safe. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Heavy fighting rages near Kyiv as Russia appears to regroup
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Heavy fighting raged on the outskirts of Kyiv and other zones amid indications the Kremlin is using talk of de-escalation as cover while regrouping and resupplying its forces and redeploying them for a stepped-up offensive in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile Thursday a convoy of buses was heading to Mariupol in another attempt to evacuate people from the besieged port city. After the Russian military agreed to a limited cease-fire in the area, the Red Cross said Thursday its teams were traveling to Mariupol with relief and medical supplies and hoped to help pull civilians out of the beleaguered city on Friday. Previous attempts at establishing a humanitarian corridor out of the city have fallen apart.

Ukraine nuclear operator: Russian troops leave Chernobyl
LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s nuclear operator company says Russian troops are leaving the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and heading towards the country’s border with Belarus. The operator Energoatom said that the Russian military is also preparing to leave the nearby city of Slavutych where power plant workers live. Energoatom also said reports were confirmed that the Russians dug trenches in the Red Forest and received “significant doses of radiation.” The forest is in the 10-square-kilometer (nearly four-square-mile) area surrounding the Chernobyl plant within the Exclusion Zone. The operator said the Russian troops “panicked at the first sign of illness,” which “showed up very quickly,” and began to prepare to leave. The claim couldn’t be independently verified.

As Russia sees tech brain drain, other nations hope to gain
By LIUDAS DAPKUS Associated Press
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Russian technology workers are fleeing the country by the tens of thousands as the economy goes into a tailspin under pressure from international sanctions. For some countries, Russia’s loss is seen as their potential gain. An elite pool of high-tech exiles furnished with European Union visas has relocated to Poland or the Baltic nations of Latvia and Lithuania. A larger contingent has gone to Armenia, Georgia and former Soviet republics in Central Asia where Russians do not need visas. As soon as the war started in Ukraine, Uzbekistan radically streamlined the process for information technology specialists to obtain work visas and residence permits. Russia is scrambling to stem the brain drain with generous tax incentives.