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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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By Reuters
Russia-Ukraine talks to start at 1200 GMT - BelTA
Russia-Ukraine talks to start at 1200 GMT - BelTA   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

– Russian forces bearing down on Kyiv are regrouping northwest of the Ukrainian capital, satellite pictures showed, and Britain said Moscow could now be planning an assault on the city within days.

FIGHTING

* Ukrainian local officials reported more Russian strikes, including a psychiatric hospital near the eastern town of Izyum and an airfield in Lutsk in western Ukraine.

* President Vladimir Putin has approved up to 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East being deployed alongside Russian-backed rebels in the conflict.

* The mayor of Kharkiv said 48 schools in Ukraine’s second-largest city have been destroyed in a relentless Russian bombardment with hundreds sheltering in the city’s metro stations.

* Moscow-backed separatists have captured Volnovakha, north of Mariupol, according to the Russian defence ministry.

ECONOMYANDSANCTIONS

* The United States will revoke Russia’s “most favored nation status” U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Other G7 nations and the European Union are expected to follow, allowing new tariffs on Russian goods.

* French President Emmanuel Macron said “all options are on the table” for further sanctions against Russia after an EU summit in Versailles.

FACEBOOK

* Russia opened a criminal case against Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms and moved to designate it as an “extremist organisation” after the social network temporarily relaxed its hate speech rules to allow calls for violence against “Russian invaders” in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.

DIPLOMACY

* President Putin said talks between Moscow and Ukraine were held practically every day and cited “certain positive shifts” without elaborating further

* Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto discussed in a call with Putin the need for humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians and stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire, his office said.

EVACUATIONS

* Russia promised another ceasefire to allow evacuations from the port of Mariupol as well as Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv, but while almost 40,000 managed to leave other cities, all previous attempts to reach Mariupol have failed.

HUMANITARIANTOLL

* Over 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the U.N., around half of them children.

* Russian forces are operating in Ukraine with “reckless disregard” for civilians amid stronger-than-expected resistance, U.S. spy chiefs said.

NUCLEARFACILITIES

* All Ukrainian nuclear power stations are operating normally, state company Energoatom said, but European development lender EBRD voiced its concern over the Chernobyl site and its power supply problems following a takeover by Russian forces.