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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now


Here's what you need to know about the Ukraine crisis right now:

Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles on Saturday for the third day running but a defiant President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the capital Kyiv remained in Ukrainian hands.

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* Ukraine denied suggestions that it was refusing to negotiate a ceasefire with Russia but said it was also not ready to accept ultimatums or unacceptable conditions.

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* Russian forces are becoming increasingly frustrated by what the United States believes is "viable" Ukrainian resistance, a U.S. defence official said.

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* Russian Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said Chechen fighters had been deployed to Ukraine.

* The mayor of Kyiv extended a curfew in the Ukrainian capital on Saturday.

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* Britain's defence ministry said the bulk of Russian forces involved in the advance on Kyiv were now 30 km (19 miles) from the city centre.

* Russian troops captured the southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, Russia's defence ministry said. But British armed forces minister James Heappey said Britain did not believe Russian forces had captured Melitopol.

* Refugees fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine continued to pour across its western borders on Saturday, with around 100,000 reaching Poland in two days, finding temporary sanctuary in sports halls and train stations.

* Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) denied a report earlier on Saturday that Russian helicopters had landed in the Lviv region, a development that would have signalled a widening of the theatre of Moscow's


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* A decision to cut Russia off from the global SWIFT payment system will be taken in a matter of days, the governor of a central bank within the eurozone told Reuters.

* Leaders from Poland and Lithuania urged the European Union on Saturday to go further in their support for Ukraine in the face of a Russian invasion, as they headed into a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

* Russia will respond to the seizure of money of Russian citizens and companies abroad by seizing funds of foreigners and foreign companies in Russia, RIA news agency quoted Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the security, as saying.

* The Ukrainian border guards service said on Saturday Russia had closed off the northwestern part of the Black Sea to navigation.

* At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Health Ministry was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

* France has decided to send defensive military equipment to Ukraine to support the country against Russia's invasion, a French army spokesman said, adding the issue of sending offensive arms was still under consideration.

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* Russian energy giant Gazprom said it was supplying gas via Ukraine in line with demand from European consumers despite the military conflict.

* French sea police seized a ship on Saturday that authorities suspect belongs to a Russian company targeted by European Union sanctions over the war in Ukraine, a government official told Reuters.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the Ukrainian military to overthrow the country's leadership and negotiate peace.

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* Ukraine and Russia are discussing a place and time for talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's spokesman said on social media.

* Russia vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Friday that would have deplored Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, while China abstained from the vote.

* China is in a diplomatic scramble to limit blowback while standing by a partner with which it has grown increasingly close in opposition to the West.

* President Joe Biden instructed the U.S. State Department to release $350 million in military aid to Ukraine, and asked Congress to approve $6.4 billion in aid to address the humanitarian and security crisis.

* The White House said the United States, in a rare move, would impose sanctions on Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. The European Union and Canada are doing the same.


- "We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video message posted on his social media.

- "We will not put down weapons, we will defend our state," Zelenskiy said.

- "I came to Berlin to shake the conscience of Germany so that they would finally decide on truly harsh sanctions that will influence the Kremlin's decisions," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

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