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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now


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Ukraine pressed ahead with efforts to restart grain exports from Odesa and other Black Sea ports after a missile attack that cast doubt over whether Russia would honor a deal aimed at easing global food shortages caused by the war.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian missile strikes on Odesa were blatant “barbarism” that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement the grain deal.

* The United Nations, European Community, United States, Britain, Germany and Italy condemned the strikes.

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* Russia said on Sunday that its cruise missiles had struck military infrastructure of Odesa port.

* Turkey’s defense minister said on Saturday that Russian officials had told Ankara, which mediated the grain deal along with the United States, that Moscow had “nothing to do” with the Odesa strikes.

* Ukraine could export 60 million tonnes of grain in eight to nine months if its ports were not blockaded, but Russia’s strike on the port of Odesa showed it will definitely not be that easy, an economic adviser to the Ukrainian president said.

* A senior U.S. Congressional delegation, including Representative Adam Smith, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, met Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Saturday and promised to try to ensure continued support in the war.

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* The EU is seeking additional gas supplies from Nigeria as the bloc prepares for potential Russian supply cuts, a European Commission energy official said on Saturday.

FIGHTING

* Ukraine’s military reported Russian shelling in numerous locations in the north, south and east, and again referred to Russian operations paving the way for an assault on Bakhmut in the Donbas.

* Ukraine’s air force command said it had shot down three Kalibr cruise missiles launched by the Russian forces from the Black Sea and aimed at the western Khmelnytskiy region.

* Ukrainian forces are gradually moving into the eastern Kherson region, which was taken over by Russia at the start of the war, Zelenskiy said late on Saturday.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.

* QUOTE

“The Russian missile is Vladimir Putin’s spit in the face of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who went to great lengths to reach an agreement and to whom Ukraine is grateful,” said Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko referring to Saturday’s strikes on Odesa port.

(Compiled by William Mallard and Frances Kerry)



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