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Ukraine War sees Russians bogged down

Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

epa09896966 A frame grab from an undated handout drone video first published by DPR militia commander Alexander Khodakovsky and made available by the Mariupol City Council shows smoke rising from the Azovstal steel plant during airstrikes in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, 18 April (issued 19 April 2022). The Russian Defence Ministry on 19 April 2022 issued a statement calling on the Ukrainian forces in Mariupol "to cease any hostilities and lay down their arms. All who lay down their weapons are guaranteed the preservation of life." The city council on 18 April 2022 via their official Telegram channel said that at least 1,000 civilians are sheltering in the underground shelters of the metallurgical plant, and that heavy bombs were dropped on the Azovstal plant by Russian forces. EPA-EFE/MARIUPOL CITY COUNCIL HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

April 25 (Reuters) - The United States will reopen its embassy in Ukraine soon, its top diplomat said on Monday after he and the U.S. defense secretary visited Kyiv, promising more military aid and hailing the fight against Russia's invasion.

FIGHTING

The following reports could not be immediately verified by Reuters:

* Russia’s defence ministry said its high-precision missiles destroyed six facilities powering railways used to deliver foreign weapons to Ukrainian forces in the embattled eastern Donbas region. Read full story Ukraine’s military said Russia was trying to bomb rail infrastructure to disrupt arms supplies from Kyiv’s Western allies.

* Russia said it had hit 56 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities overnight.* Two people were injured in shelling in Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, the region’s governor said. Officials have in the past few weeks reported cross-border shelling.

* Ukraine’s general staff said Russia was shelling its second biggest city, Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine and towns and villages to the south but that Ukrainian forces had repelled assaults on three settlements.

* Russian forces carried out strikes on Ukrainian positions in the Azovstal steel plant, the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol where more than 1,000 civilians are also sheltering, Ukrainian officials said. Read full storyRead full storyRead full story

* Britain said Russia had made minor advances since shifting its forces to fully occupying the Donbas but had tied up many units with its focus on Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant.

* Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova said the Russian military had destroyed 347 health facilities including all of those in the Luhansk part of the Donbas, threatening thousands of lives. All of Luhansk province was without electricity on Monday after Russian attacks, the governor said.

DIPLOMACY, SANCTIONS, AID

* U.S. officials said Blinken and Austin pledged $713 million in new aid for Ukraine and other countries in the region. Russia warned Washington against sending more arms to Ukraine. Read full story

* The European Union is preparing “smart sanctions” against Russian oil imports, possibly an oil embargo, the Times newspaper said on Monday. Read full story

WAR CRIMES PROBE

* The International Criminal Court will take part in the joint team investigating allegations of war crimes in Ukraine, the European Union’s agency for criminal justice cooperation said. Read full story

QUOTES

* “In terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed and Ukraine has already succeeded,” Blinken said.

* “What the Americans are doing is pouring oil on the flames,” Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said of U.S. military aid to Ukraine. Read full story

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