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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Russia carried out artillery and air strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine’s General Staff said, where fighting near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has raised fears of a catastrophic nuclear incident.

FIGHTING

* Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, has banned public celebrations commemorating Ukraine’s independence from Soviet rule on mounting threat of attacks.

* Kharkiv and Mykolaiv have also imposed curbs ahead of Ukraine’s 31st independence anniversary on Wednesday.

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* The U.S. embassy in Kyiv warned Russia was planning to strike Ukrainian infrastructure in the coming days.

* Russian rockets fired at Nikopol, Krivyi Rih and Synelnykovsky, all close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, injured at least four people, regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.

* Reuters could not confirm the battlefield reports.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* Russia’s Federal Security Service accused Ukraine’s secret services of killing Darya Dugina, the daughter of an ultra-nationalist, in a car bomb attack near Moscow that President Vladimir Putin called “evil.” Ukraine denied involvement in the attack.

* Ukraine’s agricultural exports are likely to rise to about 4 million tonnes in August, from 3 million tonnes in July, thanks to the U.N.-brokered deal that unblocked sea ports, a deputy chair of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council said.

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* Russia’s embassy in London called Britain hypocritical for a statement by its foreign ministry last week that questioned Russia’s “moral right” to sit at the Group of 20 nations.

MILESTONES, TOLL

* This week marks six months since Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops into Ukraine for a “special military operation” – an invasion on a scale unseen in Europe since World War Two.

* Nearly 9,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed in the war with Russia, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces said.

* The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said 5,587 civilians had been killed and 7,890 wounded between Feb. 24 and Aug. 21.

QUOTE

“Of course, we are worried. … It’s like sitting on a powder keg,” said Alexander Lifirenko who lives in Enerhodar, a Ukrainian town near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant now under control of pro-Moscow forces. (Compiled by Himani Sarkar)

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