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Russia’s war on Ukraine latest news: Retreat in southern Ukraine signaled

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Russian forces are likely to abandon their foothold on the west bank of Ukraine’s Dnipro River, a Russian-installed occupation official said, signaling a massive Russian retreat that, if confirmed, would be a major turning point in the war.

FIGHTING

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* Russian attacks were reported across large areas of Ukraine, damaging infrastructure, Ukrainian officials said.

* Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has again been disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged the remaining high voltage lines, leaving it with just diesel generators, Ukraine nuclear firm Energoatom said.

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* The U.N. nuclear watchdog said it had found no sign of undeclared nuclear activity at three sites in Ukraine that it inspected at Kyiv’s request in response to Russian allegations that work was being done on a “dirty bomb.”

* Russia and Ukraine exchanged 214 captured service personnel in the latest of a series of prisoner swaps, many of the Ukrainians wounded survivors of a failed attempt to defend the city of Mariupol in April and May.

* The commander of one of Russia’s five military districts, heavily criticized for the performance of his troops in Ukraine, is taking a three-week holiday, according to the regional news agency Ura.ru.

* Ukrainian forces have destroyed 278 Russian aircraft during eight months of fighting, more than twice as many as the Soviet Union lost in its 1979-89 military intervention in Afghanistan, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief said.

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* The streets and boulevards of the Russian-held port of Kherson are virtually empty. Many shops and businesses have been closed. Evacuations have picked up as Ukrainian forces have advanced to the north and east of the strategic city.

GRAIN DEAL

* Ukraine has exported 10 million tonnes of grain and other food since a U.N.-brokered deal in July restarted shipments stalled by Russia’s war, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said as he pushed Russia and Ukraine to extend the pact.

* The Russian delegation resumed work at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) that runs the Black Sea grain deal operations in Istanbul and joined vessel inspections on Thursday, the U.N. Secretariat at the center said. Russia said on Wednesday it would resume its participation in a deal to free up vital grain exports from Ukraine, after suspending it over the weekend, saying it had received guarantees from Ukraine that it would not use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia.

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* Ukraine said it had made no commitments to Russia that go beyond the terms of the Black Sea Grains Initiative agreed in July to persuade Moscow to resume its participation in the deal.

* Moscow urged the United Nations to help fulfill the parts of the deal intended to ease Russia’s food and fertilizer exports.

* Britain is seeking to prevent countries from using its services to transport Russian oil unless it is bought at or below a price cap set by Western governments as part of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

DIPLOMACY

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he would not take part in a summit in Indonesia of the Group of 20 major economies if Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin attends.

* Turkey’s foreign minister said Sweden and Finland have not yet fulfilled all obligations under a deal clearing their bids to join NATO, and they must still take concrete steps.

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* Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it had delivered a protest to the British ambassador after summoning her over its allegation that British specialists had been involved in a Ukrainian drone strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.

* Foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich democracies were discussing how best to coordinate further support for Ukraine at a meeting in Germany. ​ QUOTE

“The entire front line is subject to constant shelling around the clock,” Donetsk region Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, told Ukrainian television.

“There is practically not a single dwelling that hasn’t been damaged in Avdiivka, in Maryinka, in Krasnohorivka. Selydove, even closer to the front line, took a direct hit this week. The enemy’s strategy of artillery strikes tactic is to destroy these towns and wipe them off the face of the Earth. Nothing else works for them.” (Compiled by Angus MacSwan and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Gerry Doyle, Simon Cameron-Moore, William Maclean)

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