Ukraine and Russia: what you need to know now

The Ukrainian army was resisting a Russian assault on the city of Sievierodonetsk, its general staff said on Wednesday, while Russian troops were bringing more resources to Donbass in a battle for control of the region. STRUGGLE

* Ukrainian forces withdrew to the outskirts of the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk on Wednesday in the face of fierce Russian aggression, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said, another big move in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. * President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said two people had been killed and two injured in the Lugansk region in the past 24 hours, five civilians had been injured in the Donetsk region and four had been killed and 11 injured in the Kharkov region. He said the number of casualties in the Kherson region was unclear.

* Zelenskiy said Ukraine would launch a “Book of Executioners” next week to detail war crimes. * Russia denies targeting civilians and has dismissed war crimes allegations.

* More than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered in the city of Mariupol have been transferred to Russia for investigation, Russian news agency Tass reported, citing a Russian police source. * Russia has returned the bodies of 210 Ukrainian fighters, most of whom died defending Mariupol in a vast steelworks, the Ukrainian military said.

DIPLOMACY * Turkey hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for talks aimed at reviving Ukraine’s stalled peace process and finding a way to reopen Ukrainian ports for grain shipments.

* Following the talks, Turkey said a UN-proposed plan to reopen Ukrainian ports was reasonable, but more negotiations were needed. * Lavrov said Ukraine should remove mines from its ports to allow them to reopen.

* Lavrov said a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian Zelenskiy could only take place after peace talks resume. POLITICS

* Russia’s proxies in occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia province have announced plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia on an unspecified date later this year. ECONOMY

* Russian shelling destroyed the warehouses of one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural products terminals in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv over the weekend, the region’s chief said. * Ukraine could export a maximum of just two million tonnes of grain per month if Russia refuses to lift its blockade of the country’s Black Sea ports, said Ukraine’s first deputy minister of agrarian policy and agriculture ‘feed.

* The World Bank’s board has approved additional funding of $1.49 billion for Ukraine to help pay government and social worker salaries. * Under heavy pressure from Western sanctions and airspace bans, Russian airline Aeroflot said it planned to raise up to 185.2 billion rubles ($3 billion) in a sale of emergency actions.

NUCLEAR * Radiation detectors in the exclusion zone around Ukraine’s former Chernobyl nuclear power plant are online for the first time since Russia seized the area on February 24, and radiation levels are normal, the UN nuclear watchdog said. (Compiled by Himani Sarkar and Peter Graff)

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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