Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
Powerful explosions rocked the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv early on Saturday, the mayor said, a day after authorities said at least 21 people were killed when Russian missiles struck an apartment building near the Black Sea port of Odesa.
* Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “I would like to remind you of the president’s words that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets.”
* Russians have been shelling the eastern city of Lysychansk from different directions, the regional governor said. Russian forces have captured an oil refinery, one report said, citing Russia’s defense ministry. * Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.
DIPLOMACY AND ECONOMY
* The United States is sending Ukraine two NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems, four additional counter-artillery radars and up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition as part of its latest weapons packages for Ukraine.
*President Vladimir Putin issued a decree that seizes full control of the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project in Russia’s far east, a move that could force out Shell and Japanese investors.
* A Reuters examination of companies, executives and investors underpinning Russia’s defense sector shows a sizable number have yet to be affected by Western sanctions.
* U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner went on trial in Moscow to face drug charges that could see her face up to 10 years in prison.
* Two Britons were charged with “mercenary activities” in the Russian-backed separatist region of Donetsk, Russian agency TASS reported. Last month, another two Britons accused of the same charge were sentenced to death.
* Russia’s ambassador to Bulgaria said she would ask Moscow to close its embassy in Sofia after 70 Russian diplomatic staff were expelled.
* Ukraine’s nuclear power operator said it had re-established its connection to surveillance systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, which is occupied by Russian forces.
* “There are powerful explosions in the city! Stay in shelters!” Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Senkevich wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
* “Almost all the city infrastructure is destroyed. We are living without gas, electricity, and water since May,” Sergei Oleinik, 65, resident of Russian-occupied Sievierodonetsk, told Reuters. “We are glad that this ended, and soon maybe reconstruction will start, and we will be back to more or less normal life.” (Compiled by Lincoln Feast)