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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know


Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive near the Russian-held town of Izium in eastern Ukraine, a regional governor said, in what could prove a serious setback for Moscow’s plans to capture the entire Donbas region.

FIGHTING

* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said talks with Russia on getting wounded defenders out of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol were “very complex”, and that Kyiv was using influential intermediaries.

* Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had hit Ukrainian command posts, ammunition depots and other military equipment in several regions, including the Donbas, killing at least 100 Ukrainian “nationalists”.

* Ukraine’s military said Russian forces fired on a border settlement in the Chernihiv region from Russia’s own territory and eight explosions were recorded on the outskirts of Bleshnya village. There were casualties, they said.

* The bodies of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine were brought to a rail yard outside Kyiv and stacked with hundreds of others in a refrigerated train, waiting for the time when they can be sent back to their families.

* Russian Su-27 fighter jets have taken part in drills to repel a mock air strike on Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, Interfax news agency reported, citing the Baltic Sea fleet.

DIPLOMACY

* Group of Seven foreign ministers vowed to reinforce Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and work to ease global food shortages stemming from the war.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto that ditching neutrality and joining NATO would be a mistake that could damage relations between their two countries, the Kremlin said.

* Moscow will take “adequate precautionary measures” if NATO deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to Russia’s border, Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying.

* Turkey has not shut the door to Sweden and Finland joining NATO but wants negotiations with the Nordic countries and a clampdown on what it sees as terrorist activities especially in Stockholm, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said. Erdogan had said on Friday it was not possible for Turkey to support enlarging the alliance because Finland and Sweden were “home to many terrorist organisations”.

* Turkey has proposed a sea evacuation of wounded fighters holed up in the Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Erdogan’s spokesman said.

* Moscow will almost certainly manipulate the results of a planned referendum in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson to ensure the vote is in favour of joining the Russian Federation, Britain’s defence ministry said.

ECONOMY

* The European Union is hopeful of a deal on a phased embargo on Russian oil this month despite concerns about supply in eastern Europe, diplomats said.

QUOTE

“I don’t know how I will rebuild this house,” Vera Kosolapenko, 67, said as she stood weeping in the still-smouldering ruins of her small home after it was struck by a Russian missile. “I loved this place.”

Moscow denies targeting civilians. (Compiled by Gareth Jones and Timothy Heritage)



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