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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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At least three people were killed and dozens of homes damaged by blasts in the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukraine border, the regional governor said, while Ukrainian forces hit a Russian military base in occupied southern Ukraine.

FIGHTING

* Ukrainian forces hit a Russian base with over 30 strikes in the Russian-occupied southern city of Melitopol, the city’s exiled Ukrainian mayor said. A Russian official confirmed strikes had hit the city.

* Lysychansk, Ukraine’s last big bastion in the strategic eastern province of Luhansk, could fall, Zelenskiy adviser Oleksiy Arestovych acknowledged as fighting intensified.

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* Rodion Miroshnik, ambassador to Russia of the pro-Moscow self-styled Luhansk People’s Republic, said, “Lysychansk has been brought under control” but “not yet liberated.”

* Far from the eastern fighting, Russia said it had hit army command posts in Mykolaiv near the Black Sea port of Odesa, where the mayor had reported powerful explosions.

* Belarusian President Lukashenko said Ukraine tried to strike military facilities on Belarusian territory last week but all its missiles had been intercepted. * Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

DIPLOMACY AND ECONOMY

* Russia may continue to suspend gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline beyond a planned maintenance shutdown this month, said German Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

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* The United States is sending Ukraine two NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems, four additional counter-artillery radars and up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition as part of its latest weapons packages for Ukraine.

* A sizable number of companies, executives and investors underpinning Russia’s defense sector have yet to be affected by Western sanctions, a Reuters examination show.

QUOTES

* “The sound was so strong that I jumped up, I woke up, got very scared and started screaming… All the windows in our house were shattered, the doors came out of alignment,” a resident of Belgorod told Reuters about the 3 a.m. blasts. (Compiled by William Mallard)

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