Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

World1 hour ago (May 26, 2022 03:16AM ET)

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(C) 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) – Russian forces shelled more than 40 towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Ukraine’s military said, threatening to shut off the last main escape route for civilians trapped in the path of their invasion, now in its fourth month.

DIPLOMACY

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy savaged suggestions that Kyiv give up territory and make concessions to end the war with Russia, saying the idea smacked of attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938.

* The European union hopes to be able to agree sanctions on Russian oil before the next meeting of its leaders, President Charles Michel said.

* The European Commission proposed making breaking EU sanctions against Russia a crime, which would allow EU governments to confiscate assets.

FIGHTING

* Russian forces were close to encircling two key towns in Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region, with constant mortar bombardment destroying houses and killing civilians, Ukrainian officials said.

* Some 150 people had been buried in a mass grave in one of the towns, Lysychansk, and police were collecting more bodies, said the regional governor.

* Ukrainian prisoners of war held 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.

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.

* Gerhard Schroeder has backed off from taking a top role at Russian energy giant Gazprom (MCX:GAZP), dealing a setback to Germany’s gas lobby as it seeks to keep the energy lifeline from Russia open.

* The United States pushed Russia closer to the brink of a historic debt default by not extending its license to pay bondholders.

QUOTES

“It is much more dangerous giving in to Putin than provoking him,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in a speech. “All these seemingly small concessions to the aggressor lead to big wars. We have done this mistake already three times: Georgia, Crimea and Donbas.”

COMING UP

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

* A U.N. trade official is set to visit Moscow in coming days to discuss resumptions of Russian fertilizer exports.

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