Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now


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Ukrainian forces swept deeper into territory seized from fleeing Russian troops on Monday and joyful residents returned to former frontline villages, while Moscow’s leaders dodged any discussion of the collapse of their occupation force in northeast Ukraine.

FIGHTING

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* Russian strikes killed at least one person, injured others and caused further disruption to power and water supplies in Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv, officials said.

* Vitaly Ganchev, the Russian-installed head of Moscow’s occupation administration in what remained of Russian-held territory in Kharkiv region, acknowledged that Ukraine’s troops had broken through to the frontier.

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* Ukraine’s general staff said on Monday its forces had recaptured more than 20 towns and villages in just the past day.

* At least 1,000 people have been killed in the last six months in fighting in the city of Izium but the real figure is probably much higher, an official said, two days after Kyiv’s forces recaptured the major supply hub.

* Britain’s defense ministry said Russia had probably ordered the withdrawal of its troops from the entire occupied Kharkiv region west of the Oskil River. (https://bit.ly/3xfp2lf)

* In the wake of Kyiv’s lightning counteroffensive, the mood among commentators on Russian state television was more subdued and the narrative turned to how allegedly Ukrainian forces overwhelmingly outnumbered the Russians in the northeast.

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* Faced with one of its worst defeats in nearly seven months of war, the Kremlin insisted it would achieve its military goals and Putin maintained an air of business as usual as he chaired a meeting on the economy.

* Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

DIPLOMACY, TRADE

* The Kremlin said it saw no prospect of peace talks and that what it calls the special military operation in Ukraine would achieve its goals.

* The acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Monday that Russia was intimidating opponents of the war in Ukraine, violating the right to access information by pressuring journalists, blocking the internet and imposing other forms of censorship.

* Ukraine’s grain maize (corn) harvest is expected to fall 24% below last year and 5% below the five-year average to 32.0 million tonnes, the European Union’s crop monitoring unit said.

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NUCLEAR PLANT

* The last operating reactor at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has been put into what is known as a cold shutdown after an external power line was restored, making it possible to shut it down more safely.

* Ukraine and Russia are interested in the U.N. atomic watchdog’s proposal that a protection zone be created around the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the watchdog’s chief Rafael Grossi said, describing it as a ceasefire.

* Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said Russian attacks had hit Kharkiv’s CHPP-5 electricity station, one of the country’s largest.

(Compiled by Lincoln Feast and Shri Navaratnam; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Hugh Lawson)

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