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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy heard firsthand what people in recaptured northeastern towns experienced under Russian forces while a major city struggled to contain damage to its water system from Russian missle attacks.

FIGHTING

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* Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine, was targeted by eight cruise missiles that destroyed the water pumping station and caused the Inhulets River to break through a dam, officials said.

* Zelenskiy made a surprise visit to Izium – until four days ago Russia’s main bastion and logistics hub in the region. Buildings showed signs of blasts and shrapnel.

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* With a pink hood wrapped around her face for warmth, Lyubov Sinna, 74, said Izium residents were shell-shocked. “There is also fear – fear that the Russians could return here,” she said.

* In another battle-scarred northeast Ukrainian town, Balakliia, police officers said civilians were killed when the town was under Russian control. Reuters could not independently verify the account. Russia has denied targeting civilians.

* After his return to Kyiv, the Ukrainian president’s car was in an accident but he was not seriously hurt, a spokesman said early on Thursday.

* Zelenskiy said Ukraine had recaptured around 8,000 square km (3,100 square miles), apparently all in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

* Ukraine has made significant progress but it is not possible to tell if the war is at a turning point, U.S. President Biden said.

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DIPLOMACY

* Ukraine wants the United Nations General Assembly to allow Zelenskiy to address world leaders via video.

* Democratic and Republican U.S. senators introduced legislation that would designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, a label pushed for by Ukraine but opposed by President Joe Biden’s administration.

* Vladimir Putin’s chief envoy on Ukraine told the Russian leader as the war began that he had struck a provisional deal with Kyiv that would satisfy Russia’s demand that Ukraine stay out of NATO, but Putin rejected it and pressed ahead with his military campaign, according to three people close to the Russian leadership.

* German Chancellor Scholz urged Putin to find a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, based on ceasefire, complete withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a spokesperson said.

* A United Nations proposal that Russia resume exporting ammonia via Ukraine has raised hopes that a global shortage of fertilizer could be eased and alleviate world food shortages exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine.

(Compiled by Cynthia Osterman)

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