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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Ukraine stepped up its counter-attacks against Russian forces in the south while Moscow bombed Kyiv’s outskirts for the first time in weeks as Europe’s biggest conflict since World War Two dragged on with no end in sight.

FIGHTING

* Fifteen people were injured when missiles hit military installations in Vyshhorod district on the edge of the Ukrainian capital on Thursday, Kyiv regional Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram.

* More than 10 Russian missiles also hit the city of Chernihiv about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Kyiv, regional Governor Vyacheslav Chausov told Ukrainian TV.

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* Five people were killed and 25 wounded in a Russian missile strike on a flight school in the central Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi, the regional governor said.

* Russian-backed separatists in east Ukraine’s Donetsk said four civilians had been killed and another 11 by Ukrainian shelling between Wednesday and Thursday.

* Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will address the U.S. request for a call with Secretary of State Blinken when he has time, Interfax reported. His schedule now is busy.

* Russia said there was no deal yet with the United States on swapping detained U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner and a former marine for a jailed Russian cast by prosecutors as one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers.

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* U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Thursday he was hopeful that the first shipment of grain from a Ukrainian Black Sea port could take place as early as Friday, but “crucial” details for the safe passage of vessels were still being worked out.

* Russian gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline and via Ukraine remained steady on Thursday, operator data showed. Russia cut flows on the pipeline to 20% of its capacity on July 27 citing maintenance work.

QUOTE

“It doesn’t matter with what Russia threatens us; whether it’s air-raid sirens or something else, what is important is that we make other countries fall in love with our Ukrainian firmness,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the parliament as air raid sirens blared. (Compiled by Lincoln Feast)

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