Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now By Reuters


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© Reuters. Ukrainian national flag is seen through the window of an apartment destroyed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the town of Borodianka, in Kyiv region, Ukraine May 13, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

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(Reuters) – Ukraine will be accepted as a candidate to join the European Union on Thursday, a move that will boost the country’s morale as the battle with Russian troops for two cities in the east reached what one official called a “fearsome climax”.

FIGHTING

* Russian forces are trying to encircle Ukrainian troops defending the frontline eastern city of Lysychansk, a senior Ukrainian defence official said.

* Ukrainian forces continue to defend he eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, adjacent to Lysychansk, and the nearby settlements of Zolote and Vovchoyrivka, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said, although Russia had captured Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka to the south.

* According to Britain’s defence ministry, Russian forces have highly likely advanced more than 5 km (3.11 miles) towards the southern approaches of Lysychansk since June 19.

* Three cruise missiles hit Ukraine’s southern port city of Mykolaiv, while air defences shot down another two missiles near the southern city of Odesa, the Ukrainian armed forces said. Russia’s defence ministry said it had used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army fuel tanks and military equipment near Mykolaiv, Interfax news agency reported.

* Reuters was unable to independently verify the situation on the ground.

Two Britons and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine and sentenced to death by a court in the Russian-backed, self-proclaimed breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are preparing to appeal, TASS news agency cited one of their lawyers as saying.

MILITARY AID

* High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from the United States have arrived in Ukraine, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said. Ukraine has pleaded for more Western heavy weapons to offset Russia’s huge artillery firepower.

ECONOMY AND DIPLOMACY

* European Union leaders will formally accept Ukraine as a candidate to join the EU on Thursday, a bold geopolitical move triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

* The Group of Seven rich democracies will seek to demonstrate long-term support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion at a summit starting on Sunday, even as the war’s growing impact on the world economy tests their resolve.

* Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was investigating claims that Ukrainian grain has been stolen by Russia and shipped to countries including Turkey, though added the probes had not found any stolen shipments so far. Russia has previously denied the theft allegations.

* A dozen European Union countries have now been affected by cuts to gas supply from Russia, the EU’s climate policy chief said as the bloc faces a deepening energy standoff with Moscow.

QUOTE

“Harry Potter is better than Voldemort, and we know who is Voldemort in this war, and who is Harry Potter, so we know how the war will end.” -Zelenskiy, speaking to a student in Canada who compared him to the fictional boy wizard.

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