Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now


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Russia pushed ahead with its biggest conscription drive since World War Two while Ukraine demanded “just punishment” for a seven-month-old invasion sending shock waves around the world.

FIGHTING

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* In Moscow’s first update on casualty numbers in Ukraine almost six months, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of the conflict in February.

* Russian forces fired nine missiles at the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, hitting a hotel and a power station, said regional governor Oleksandr Starukh. At least one person was killed with others trapped under rubble, he said. Zaporizhzhia is about 50 km (31 miles) from the nuclear power plant of the same name.

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* Ukraine’s armed forces said Russia had in the last 24 hours launched eight missile and 16 air strikes and fired 115 anti-aircraft missiles at military and civilian targets, mostly in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk areas.

DIPLOMACY/POLITICS

* Russia and Ukraine carried out an unexpected prisoner swap, the largest since the war began in February and involving almost 300 people, including 10 foreigners.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons was “dangerous and reckless rhetoric,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

* Russian security forces by late Wednesday detained nearly 1,400 people in 38 cities at protests against Putin’s order for the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight in Ukraine, a rights group said.

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* One-way flights out of Russia were selling out fast after the mobilization order.

* U.S. President Joe Biden said Moscow was making “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats to use nuclear weapons. Biden said no one had threatened Russia, despite its claims to the contrary, and that only Russia had sought conflict.

* Western allies said threats to use nuclear weapons show Russia’s Ukraine campaign was failing.

* European Union foreign ministers agreed to prepare new sanctions on Russia and increase arms deliveries to Kyiv.

* China’s position on Ukraine will continue to be “objective” and “fair,” foreign minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly in New York.

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* Uzbekistan state prosecutors warned citizens against joining foreign armies after Russia offered fast-track citizenship to those who sign up.

* Pro-Russian figures announced referendums for Sept. 23-27 in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing around 15% of Ukrainian territory.

NUCLEAR PLANT

* The head of the U.N. atomic agency said he would not abandon a plan to create a protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant despite Russian mobilization plans and moves to hold a referendum in the region.

ECONOMY

* Germany nationalized gas importer Uniper and Britain said it would halve energy bills for businesses in response to a deepening energy crisis that has exposed Europe’s reliance on Russian fuel.

QUOTES

* “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff.” -Putin in a televised address.

(Compiled by Shri Navaratnam, Michael Perry and Mark Heinrich)

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