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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Russian forces were fighting on Monday to achieve one of their strategic objectives in Ukraine as Moscow-backed separatists said they were pushing into Lysychansk, the last major city still held by Ukrainian troops in eastern Luhansk.

FIGHTING

* Buildings smoldered in Kyiv and the streets were covered in debris after Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital over the weekend. The attacks, the first on Kyiv in weeks, were condemned by U.S. President Joe Biden as “barbarism.”

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* Russian missiles struck a residential building and close to a kindergarten in central Kyiv on Sunday, killing one person and wounding six, officials said, as Moscow stepped up its air strikes on Ukraine for a second day.

* Russian missiles also struck near the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy on Sunday, killing one person and hitting a bridge that helps connect western regions with eastern battle zones, Ukrainian officials said.

* Tass news agency quoted a separatist official on Sunday as saying Moscow’s forces had entered Lysychansk from five directions and were isolating Ukrainian defenders. Reuters could not confirm the report.

* The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russian forces were using artillery to try to cut off Lysychansk from the south but made no mention of separatists entering the city.

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* Russian forces fully occupied the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk on Saturday, both sides said.

ECONOMY AND DIPLOMACY

* U.S. President Joe Biden told allies “we have to stay together” against Russia, as world leaders met on Sunday at a G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps.

* Russia edged closer to a default on Sunday amid little sign that investors holding its international bonds had received payment, heralding what would be the nation’s first default in decades.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to provide more support for Ukraine, Johnson’s office said on Sunday.

* Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Sunday he will urge his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to open room for dialog during a peace-building mission to the countries because “war has to stop and global food chains need to be reactivated.”

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QUOTES

* “Lysychansk, it was a horror, the last week. Yesterday we could not take it any more. I already told my husband if I die, please bury me behind the house,” said Elena, an elderly woman from the city and among the dozens of evacuees who arrived in the Ukrainian-held town of Pokrovsk by bus from frontline areas.

* “At this stage of the war it’s spiritually difficult, emotionally difficult … we don’t have a sense of how long it will last, how many more blows, losses and efforts will be needed before we see victory is on the horizon,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his evening address. (Compiled by Himani Sarkar; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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