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Russia’s war on Ukraine latest news: Putin backs evacuation of civilians from occupied region

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Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed the evacuation of civilians from parts of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region on Friday, the latest sign of Russia’s retreat in one of the most bitterly contested areas in Ukraine.

FIGHTING

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* Ukrainian soldiers are bracing for determined fighting from their Russian foes around Kherson, raising the specter of a bloody slog in the coming weeks for control of a key city on the west bank of the Dnipro River, a gateway to the peninsula of Crimea annexed by Russia in 2014.

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* The Russian-installed deputy governor of Kherson region said a 24-hour curfew had been imposed in Kherson city, amid what he said was a likely Ukrainian offensive against the city.

* Putin had said civilians in the Kherson region should be evacuated from the conflict zone, his first acknowledgement of a deteriorating situation in a region he claims to have annexed.

* Ukrainian forces using captured weapons fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.

DIPLOMACY

* The United States on Friday announced an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including refurbishing 45 T-72 tanks and missiles for HAWK air defense systems for Kyiv.

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* Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned threats to use atomic weapons in Ukraine, with Scholz warning that Russia risked “crossing a line” in the international community by resorting to nuclear force.

* The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven economic powers said any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences, renewing their call on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.

ECONOMY

* Russia wants the West to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to four sources familiar with the request, made during talks to extend a deal on food shipments from Ukraine.

* Just a month before the G7 plans to cap the price of Russian oil, officials are racing to finalize details, leaving traders, shippers and insurers with questions about the price level and how it will work.

* Ukraine has sufficient gas supplies for this winter when planned imports are taken into account, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said, as the country prepares for further Russian strikes targeting its energy systems.

(Compiled by Philippa Fletcher and William Mallard)

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