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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree establishing a new operator for the Exxon Mobil Corp-led Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in Russia’s Far East, the oil giant’s largest investment in Russia.

CONFLICT

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* A fuel tank was on fire early on Saturday on the Kerch bridge in Crimea, which was designed to link the peninsula into Russia’s transport network, Russia’s RIA state news agency said, while Ukraine’s media reported an explosion.

* A U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft flew near the site of the Sept. 26 rupturing of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea hours after the first damage emerged, according to tracking reviewed by Reuters, a flight Washington said was routine.

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* Putin marked his 70th birthday with little fanfare as signs grew that key parts of his Ukraine invasion were unraveling to trigger unprecedented criticism at home.

* Ukrainian authorities found a mass grave in the recently recaptured eastern town of Lyman, said regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, while the Ukrinform news agency cited a senior police official as saying the grave contained 180 bodies.

* The United States sees no reason to change its nuclear posture and does not have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons, the White House said a day after President Joe Biden referred to the threat of a nuclear Armageddon.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved Ukraine’s request for $1.3 billion in additional emergency funding to help sustain its economy as it battles Russia’s invasion.

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* Britain rejected Russia’s call for a secret ballot in the United Nations General Assembly next week on whether to condemn Moscow’s move to annex four partially occupied regions in Ukraine and requested that the 193-member body vote publicly.

* U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his team are working to expand and extend a deal allowing Ukrainian Black Sea grain exports, which could expire in late November, a U.N. spokesman said.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE, HUMAN RIGHTS

* Jailed Belarusian activist Ales Byalyatski, Russian organization Memorial and Ukrainian group Center for Civil Liberties won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. The prize will be seen by many as a condemnation of Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

* A U.N. human rights body passed a motion to appoint a new independent expert on alleged human rights abuses in Russia, accusing Moscow of creating a “climate of fear” through repression and violence. (Compiled by Hugh Lawson and William Mallard )

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