Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
Ukrainian defenders battled on Saturday to contain Russian forces along several fronts, officials said, as the United States urged China to align itself with the West in opposing the invasion following an ill-tempered G20 meeting.
FIGHTING * Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, British military intelligence said. * Donetsk regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on the Telegram messaging service that a Russian missile had struck Druzhkivka, a town behind the front line, and reported shelling of other population centers. * Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Telegram that Russian forces were “firing along the entire front line,” though a subsequent Ukrainian counter-attack that hit weapons and ammunition stores had forced Moscow to halt its offensive. * A missile strike on the northeastern city of Kharkiv wounded three civilians, its governor said, though Russia’s main attacks appeared focused southeast of there in Luhansk and Donetsk. * Russia’s defense ministry said its forces hit two “bases of foreign mercenaries deployed near Kharkiv.” * Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov also said two Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft had been shot down in the southern Mykolaiv region, and that it had destroyed ammunition depots there and in the eastern regions of Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk. * Reuters could not independently verify battlefield accounts. an forces in the entire Donbas region.
DIPLOMACY/ECONOMY * U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging the international community to join forces to condemn Russian aggression, told journalists he had raised concerns with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow. * Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed several of Kyiv’s senior envoys abroad, including the outspoken ambassador to Germany. * G20 foreign ministers called for an end to the war and grain blockade in Ukraine, as Russia’s top diplomat walked out of a meeting and denounced the West for “frenzied criticism” and squandering a chance to tackle global economic problems. * President Vladimir Putin said continued sanctions against Russia could lead to “catastrophic” energy price rises for European consumers.
QUOTES * “They took away my spring, they took away my summer, and now they’ve taken away seven more years of my life,” Alexei Gorinov, a Moscow district councilor was quoted by his supporters as saying on Friday after he was handed a seven-year jail sentence for criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Compiled by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry)