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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now © Reuters. Ukrainian national flag is seen through the window of an apartment destroyed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the town of Borodianka, in Kyiv region, Ukraine May 13, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

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(Reuters) – Advancing Russian forces came closer to surrounding Ukrainian troops in the east, briefly seizing positions on the last highway out of a crucial pair of Ukrainian-held cities before being beaten back, a Ukrainian official said.

FIGHTING

* Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai acknowledged Ukrainian forces were retreating before Moscow’s offensive but said the last road out of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk remained outside Russian control.

* Some 150 people were buried in a mass grave in Lysychansk and police are collecting more bodies, said the governor.

* Ukraine’s armed forces said Russia had shelled more than 40 towns in the Donbas region in the past 24 hours, destroying or damaging 47 civilian sites, including 38 homes and a school.

* Ukrainian prisoners of war in the Russian-backed self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics number about 8,000, Luhansk official Rodion Miroshnik was quoted by TASS news agency as saying.

* At least seven civilians were killed in Russian shelling of Kharkiv city in northeast Ukraine, local authorities said.

DIPLOMACY

* The appeal of Russian money is making some countries tolerant of its aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as he rejected calls to accept territorial concessions to appease Moscow.

* Russia will not win its war in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin must not dictate the terms of any peace deal, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Davos.

* British foreign minister Liz Truss accused Putin of “trying to hold the world to ransom” over food.

* Ankara is in negotiations with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor via Turkey for grain exports from Ukraine, a senior Turkish official told Reuters.

*In a rare vote, a World Health Organization assembly backed a resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine for creating a health emergency.

ECONOMY

* Russia is advancing a new law allowing it to take control of businesses of Western companies that decide to leave in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, raising the stakes for multinationals trying to exit.

* The European Union can still strike a deal on a Russian oil embargo in the coming days or look to “other instruments”, Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck said..

QUOTES

* “Russia has the advantage but we are doing everything we can,” Ukrainian General Oleksiy Gromov said.

COMING UP

* An EU summit on May 30-31 could see divisions between member states who want to take a hard line against Moscow and those calling for a ceasefire.

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