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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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By Reuters

– Ukrainian troops counter-attacking Russian forces have pushed them back from the city of Kharkiv and advanced as far as the border with Russia, Ukrainian officials said.

FIGHTING, CIVILIANS

* Ukraine said troops defending its second-largest city, Kharkiv, had repelled Russian forces and advanced as far as the border with Russia. Reuters could not immediately verify Ukraine’s battlefield account.

* Russia said its forces had shot down three Ukrainian fighter jets, one near Snake Island in the Black Sea and the others in the Mykolaiv and Kharkiv regions, while its missiles continued to pound targets in the east of the country.

* White, brightly burning munitions were shown cascading down on the Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol in what a British military expert said looked like an attack with phosphorus or incendiary weapons.

* Russia said it had agreed to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers from Azovstal to a medical facility in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk.

DIPLOMACY

* Russia said the West should have no illusions that Moscow will simply put up with the Nordic expansion of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance to include Sweden and Finland, casting the move as a mistake that would stoke military tension.

* With Hungary opposing an oil embargo, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the European Union will need a few more days to find agreement on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. [nS8N2SV0CH]

ECONOMY

* The war and resulting surge in energy and commodity prices will slash economic growth in Europe and boost inflation to record levels, the European Commission forecast.

* The world’s largest burger chain, McDonald’s Corp, whose arrival in Russia was an emblem of the Cold War’s end, said it would sell all its restaurants there.

QUOTE

“We had a victory: today in Eurovision, but soon we will have a victory in Ukraine-Russian war,” Tetyana, a military medic, said after Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the popular song contest.

* “They are in hell. They receive new wounds every day. They are without legs or arms, exhausted, without medicines.” Natalia Zaritskaya, wife of a member of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, describes conditions at Azovstal.

“The whole union is being held hostage by one member state,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis calls on Hungary to accept an EU embargo on Russian oil.