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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Battle of Donbas begins

Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

A man walks on a pavement as a house is burning following a shelling Severodonetsk, Donbass region, on April 6, 2022 Photographer: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images
By Reuters
19 Apr 2022 0

April 19 (Reuters) - Ukrainian Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the "Battle of Donbas" had begun, as Russian forces launched an anticipated new offensive across eastern Ukraine, with explosions reported all along the front lines. Russian attacks were reported in other regions too, including missile strikes on the western region of Lviv. Read full story

FIGHTING

* Zelenskiy said Russia had begun the “Battle of Donbas” in the east on Monday and a “very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive”. Read full story

* Preliminary reports suggested four missiles had struck the city of Lviv, according to the regional governor. Three hit warehouses that are not currently being used by the military, and another hit a car service station causing multiple casualties, the city’s mayor said.

* The United States military expects to start training Ukrainians on using howitzer artillery in coming days, a senior U.S. defense official said. Read full story

* No fewer than 1,000 civilians are hiding in underground shelters beneath the vast Azovstal steel plant in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the city council said, adding that Russia was dropping heavy bombs on the Ukranian-held factory. Read full story

* Russia said it had launched mass strikes overnight on the Ukrainian military and associated military targets. Read full story

* Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said that Russian forces advanced overnight, taking the town of Kreminna.

 

DIPLOMACY

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will discuss allies aid for Ukraine with U.S. President Joe Biden in a video call on Tuesday, chief cabinet secretary Fumikazu Matsuno said.

* French President Emmanuel Macron said that his dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin stalled after mass killings were discovered in Ukraine. Read full story

Zelenskiy formally submitted a completed questionnaire on European Union membership to an envoy on Monday and said he believed this step would lead to his country gaining candidate status within weeks. Read full story

* Humanitarian ceasefires between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Ukraine are not on the horizon right now, but may be possible in a couple of weeks, the U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said.

 

ECONOMY

* Russia’s invasion has damaged or destroyed up to 30% of Ukraine’s infrastructure at a cost of $100 billion, a Ukrainian minister said, adding reconstruction could be achieved in two years using frozen Russian assets to help finance it.Read full story

* Russia flagged a likely further cut in interest rates and more budget spending to help the economy adapt to biting western sanctions as it heads for its deepest contraction since 1994. Read full story

QUOTES

“This is what hell looks like on earth … It’s time (for) help not just by prayers. Save our lives from satanic hands,” Major Serhiy Volyna, commander of Ukraine’s 36th marine brigade which is still fighting in Mariupol, wrote in a letter to Pope Francis.

 

(Compiled by Robert Birsel, Alexandra Hudson, Keith Weir, Cynthia Osterman and Himani Sarkar)

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