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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now – Metro US

Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

A woman walks with a child at a temporary accommodation
A woman walks with a child at a temporary accommodation centre in Bezimenne

(Reuters) – Around 100 Ukrainian civilians were being evacuated from a ruined steel works in the city of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, after the United Nations had confirmed a “safe passage operation” was in progress there.

FIGHTING

* Russia’s defence ministry said it had carried out a missile strike on a military airfield near the port city of Odesa, destroying a runway and a hangar containing Western-supplied weapons and ammunition. On Saturday, Ukraine said Russian missiles had knocked out a newly constructed runway at Odesa’s main airport. It was unclear if the two sides were referring to the same incident.

* Kharkiv region governor Oleh Synehubov warned residents in the north and east of the city of Kharkiv to remain in their shelters due to heavy Russian shelling. Reuters could not immediately verify reports of shelling in the area.

* Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, urged people to evacuate while it was still possible.

* Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukraine’s forces of shelling a school, kindergarten and cemetery in villages in the occupied southern Kherson region, the Russian RIA news agency said. There was no immediate response from Ukraine.

Reuters could not immediately verify reports of battlefield developments.

DIPLOMACY, CIVILIANS

* Dozens of civilians were evacuated from Mariupol’s Azovstal steel works in a convoy with vehicles bearing United Nations symbols. A Reuters photographer saw civilians arriving at a temporary accommodation centre and the United Nations confirmed a safe passage operation to evacuate people had been under way.

* Cowering in the labyrinth of Soviet-era bunkers far beneath the vast Azovstal steel works, Natalia Usmanova felt her heart would stop she was so terrified as Russian bombs rained down on Mariupol, sprinkling her with concrete dust. She spoke to Reuters after being evacuated from the plant.

* Pelosi said she had met Zelenskiy to send the message that the United States stands firmly with Ukraine as it battles “Putin’s diabolic invasion”.

* Britain’s Foreign Office said Russia is using a troll factory to spread disinformation about the war on social media and target politicians across a number of countries including Britain and South Africa.

BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

* U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he will add provisions to a $33 billion Ukraine aid package to allow the United States to seize Russian oligarchs’ assets and send money from their sale directly to Ukraine.

* Russia should confiscate property owned by Westerners in response to a proposal by U.S. President Joe Biden to transfer the frozen assets of Russia’s elite to Ukraine, Russia’s most senior lawmaker said.

* The European Union is leaning towards a ban on imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, two EU diplomats said, after talks between the European Commission and EU member states this weekend.

QUOTES

* “I suffer and cry thinking of the suffering of the Ukrainian population, in particular the weakest, the elderly, the children,” Pope Francis, speaking to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

(Compiled by Frances Kerry)

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