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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now


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Russian forces have taken over Ukraine’s second-biggest power plant in eastern Donetsk region and are undertaking a “massive redeployment” of troops to three southern regions, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* A U.S. offer to Russia to gain the release of two Americans detained by Moscow, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, was made weeks ago and the White House is hoping Russia will react favorably. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he will press his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to respond.

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* Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday in a further escalation of an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter heating season.

* Turkey’s defense minister unveiled a center in Istanbul to oversee the unblocking of Ukrainian grain exports after a landmark U.N. deal last week, with the first shipment expected to depart from Black Sea ports within days.

* Ukraine’s navy confirmed that work has started at three Ukrainian Black Sea ports to prepare for renewed grain exports.

* State-controlled media outlet Russia Today lost its court fight against a European Union ban imposed in March over alleged disinformation, prompting the Kremlin to warn of retaliatory measures against Western media.

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* The EU decided to renew sanctions against Russia for a further six months, until the end of January 2023.

FIGHTING

* Russian forces are undertaking a “massive redeployment” of troops to three southern regions of Ukraine in what appears to be a change of tactics by Moscow, a senior adviser to Zelenskiy said.

* Authorities in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Kherson have shut its only bridge across the Dnipro river after it came under fire from U.S.-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), an official from the Russian-installed administration said.

* Russia’s Defence Ministry said its forces on July 24 had destroyed more than 100 U.S.-made HIMARS rockets in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region. Reuters was unable to independently verify battlefield accounts from either side.

QUOTE

“I did not plan or have an intent to bring any cannabis to Russia…. For them being accidentally in my bags, I take responsibility. But I did not intend to smuggle or plan to smuggle anything into Russia.” – U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner testimony at her drugs trial in Russia. (Compiled by Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feast)



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