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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now


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Ukrainian authorities said they found a mass grave containing 440 bodies in Izium, a northeastern city recaptured from Russian forces, calling it proof of war crimes carried out by the invaders in territory they had occupied for months.

U.N. human rights monitors will be sent to Izium “to try to establish a bit more what may have happened,” a spokesperson said.

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* Reuters could not immediately verify the Ukrainian claim and there was no immediate public comment from Russia, which denies targeting civilians.

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FIGHTING

* In Kupiansk, a railway junction city whose partial capture by Kyiv’s forces on Saturday cut Russia’s supply lines and led to the swift collapse of its front lines in the northeast, small units of Ukrainian troops were securing a nearly deserted ghost city. Many buildings had been damaged or burned out.

* Authorities in Kryvyi Rih are working to repair the damage to a reservoir dam from Russian missile strikes and as a result water levels are receding, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential administration.

* Ukrainian forces repelled three Russian attacks north of the eastern city of Donetsk, the armed forces’ general staff said on Facebook. Sea-based missiles also targeted areas of the Odesa port region but were destroyed by anti-aircraft units.

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* Russian forces launched attacks on several settlements on the Kharkiv frontline, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said.

* Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.

* NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine’s counter-offensive against invading Russian forces had been very effective but warned nations should prepare for the long haul as this did not signal the beginning of the end of the war.

* The United States will soon announce a new $600 million arms package for Ukraine, U.S. officials said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* The United States imposed new sanctions to punish those supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, targeting people and entities it accused of helping Moscow skirt financial sanctions, steal Ukrainian grain and violate human rights.

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* The German subsidiary of Russian oil giant Rosneft was placed under trusteeship, giving German regulators control of a key source of fuel for the capital Berlin, a move to help eliminate imports of Russian oil under European sanctions to punish Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

DIPLOMACY

* In a rare admission, Russian President Putin said he understood that China’s leader Xi Jinping had questions and concerns about the situation in Ukraine but praised Xi for what he said was a “balanced” position on the conflict.

* European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, visiting Kyiv, said Ukraine was making good progress towards joining the EU. She said supporting Ukraine comes at a high cost but freedom is “priceless.”

QUOTES

* Asked by reporters if it was morally right for countries to send weapons to Ukraine, Pope Francis said: “This is a political decision which…can be moral, morally acceptable, if it is done under conditions of morality. Self-defense is not only licit but also an expression of love for the homeland … It can be immoral if the intention is provoking more war, or to sell arms or dump arms that (a country) no longer needs…” (Compiled by Shri Navaratnam and Mark Heinrich)

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