Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

·3-min read
A woman sits with children at a temporary accommodation centre in Bezimenne

(Reuters) - Russia unleashed rockets on Tuesday on an encircled steel works in Mariupol, Ukraine's last redoubt in the port city, after a ceasefire broke down with some civilians still trapped beneath the sprawling site despite a U.N.-brokered evacuation.

FIGHTING

* At least 10 people were killed and 15 wounded by Russian shelling of a coking plant in the city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, the regional governor said. The Ukrainian president's office said earlier other areas of Donetsk were under constant fire.

* Russia has struck a military airfield near Ukraine's southwestern city of Odesa with missiles, destroying drones, missiles and ammunition supplied to Ukraine by the United States and its European allies, the defence ministry said.

Reuters could not immediately verify reports of battlefield developments.

BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

* The European Union will slap new sanctions on Russia for waging war against Ukraine, targeting Moscow's oil industry, more Russian banks and those responsible for disinformation, the EU's top diplomat said on Tuesday.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin put the West on notice on Tuesday that he could terminate exports and deals, the Kremlin's toughest response yet to the sanctions burden imposed by the United States and its allies.

* Slovakia will seek an exemption from any embargo of Russian oil agreed by the EU, its Economy Ministry said.

* Ukraine is forecast to have a significant shortage of grain storing facilities in the 2022/23 season due to a sharp fall in exports resulting from Russia's invasion, analyst APK-Inform said.

* Russian retailers Magnit and Lenta are in talks with their suppliers and other parties about importing goods via Kazakhstan, Russia's southern neighbour and close partner, a Kazakh official was quoted as saying.

DIPLOMACY, CIVILIANS

* Dozens of evacuees who took refuge for weeks in the bunkers of a steel works in Russian-occupied Mariupol reached the safety of Kyiv-controlled Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday, but aid workers said many still remained trapped in the port city.

* German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said no one could assume that Russia would not attack other countries given its violation of international law in Ukraine, and Germany would support Finland and Sweden if they decided to join NATO.

* Pope Francis said in an interview he had asked for a meeting in Moscow with Putin to try to stop the war but had not received a reply. He also told Italy's Corriere Della Sera newspaper that Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has given the war his full backing, "cannot become Putin's altar boy".* Ukraine's prosecutor general accused Russia on Tuesday of using rape as a tactic of war and described Russian President Putin as "the main war criminal of the 21st century". Russia denies targeting civilians in the conflict and rejects charges that its forces have committed war crimes.

QUOTES

* "You wake up in the morning and you cry," said Mariupol resident Tatyana Bushlanova, sitting by a blackened apartment block and speaking over the sound of shells exploding nearby. "You cry in the evening. I don't know where to go at all." ​

(Compiled by Nick Macfie and Mark Heinrich)

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