Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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The United States promised Ukraine $270 million more in military support, including drones, and is doing preliminary work on whether to send fighter aircraft, as fighting rages in the east of the country.


* Heavy fighting has been taking place in the last 48 hours as Ukrainian forces continued their offensive against Russia in Kherson province, west of the Dnipro River, British military intelligence said.

* Thirteen Russian missiles hit a military airfield and railway infrastructure in Ukraine’s central Kirohovrad region on Saturday, killing and wounding a number of people, the local governor said.

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* Washington is exploring whether it can send U.S.-made fighter jets to Ukraine, although this would not be done immediately, a White House spokesman said on Friday.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the Wall Street Journal a ceasefire with Russia without reclaiming lost territory would only prolong the war.

* Russia’s defense ministry said on Friday its forces had destroyed four U.S.-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) between July 5 and Wednesday.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.


* Ukraine has around $10 billion worth of grain available for sale in the wake of the deal signed with Russia to unblock supplies, and will also have a chance to sell the current harvest, Zelenskiy said on Friday.

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* A number of insurance underwriters are interested in providing cover for grain shipments from Ukraine after the agreement to reopen Black Sea ports although details need to be worked out, a senior London marine insurance market official said on Friday.

* Russia’s state-owned Rosneft and Gazprom will be able to ship oil to third countries under an adjustment of EU sanctions aimed at limiting the risks to global energy security.

* Credit rating firms Fitch and Scope downgraded Ukraine on Friday to a notch above default after Kyiv requested a debt-payment freeze, while adviser JPMorgan said it cannot rule out Ukraine needing more debt relief.

* Lithuania lifted a ban on the rail transport of sanctioned goods into and out of Kaliningrad, the Russian territory sandwiched between the Baltic country and Poland, Russia’s RIA news agency said on Friday.


“Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea. A beacon of hope…, possibility … and relief in a world that needs it more than ever,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said of the grain exports deal. (Compiled by William Mallard and Frances Kerry)

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