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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Ukraine pressed ahead with efforts to restart grain exports under a deal aimed at easing global food shortages but warned deliveries would suffer if a Russian missile strike on Odesa was a sign of more to come.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* President Zelenskiy said Russian missile strikes on Odesa were blatant “barbarism” that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement the grain deal.

* The United Nations, European Community, United States, Britain, Germany and Italy condemned the strikes.

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* Russia said its forces had hit a Ukrainian warship and a weapons store in Odesa with high-precision missiles.

* The Ukrainian military said two Kalibr missiles fired from Russian warships hit the area of a pumping station at the port and two others were shot down by air defenses.

* Ukraine could export 60 million tonnes of grain in eight to nine months if its ports were not blockaded, an economic adviser to the Ukrainian president said.

* Pope Francis said he yearned to visit Ukraine, in his efforts to try and bring an end to a five-month-old war.

FIGHTING

* As Ukraine prepares for its national day on July 28, Zelenskiy said: “Will celebrate against all odds because Ukrainians won’t be cowed.”

* Ukraine’s health ministry said at least 18 medical personnel had been killed and nearly 900 medical facilities damaged or destroyed by Russia’s invasion.

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* Ukraine’s military reported Russian shelling in the north, south and east, and again referred to Russian operations paving the way for an assault on Bakhmut in the Donbas.

* Ukraine’s air force command said its forces had shot down three Russian Kalibr cruise missiles aimed at the western Khmelnytskiy region.

* Ukraine’s military said its forces had moved within range of targets in the Black Sea region of Kherson where Kyiv is mounting a counter-offensive. Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

QUOTES

“The Russian missile is Vladimir Putin’s spit in the face of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Erdogan,” said Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, referring to the attack on Odesa.

“Even the occupiers admit we will win … We hear it in their conversations all the time, in what they are telling their relatives when they call them,” Zelenskiy said in a television address. (Compiled by Stephen Coates)

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