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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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(C) Reuters. A woman sits with children as evacuees, including civilians who left the area near Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, arrive at a temporary accommodation centre during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine May 1
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(Reuters) – Russian forces were battling for control of the last Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said, while the EU proposed its toughest sanctions yet against Moscow, with a phased oil embargo.

FIGHTING

* Ukrainian fighters inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant are fighting “difficult, bloody battles” against Russian troops, a Ukrainian commander said.

* More than 300 civilians were evacuated from Mariupol and other areas in southern Ukraine as part of a joint U.N.-Red Cross operation, the United Nations said.

* Russian shelling killed five civilians in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, governor Serhiy Gaidai said.

* At least 25 civilians were wounded as Russian forces shelled the town of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, the region’s governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

* The United States has provided intelligence that has helped Ukrainian forces kill about 12 Russian generals, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Oil prices jumped on the proposed EU ban on Russian oil imports, which needs approval by member states. The Kremlin said it was looking into various options in response. Germany said prices could go up considerably. [O/R]

* The Czech Republic and Bulgaria will seek exemptions from the ban, while Hungary and Slovakia say they need a three-year transition.

* U.S. President Biden said he would speak with leaders from the G7 advanced economies this week about more sanctions.

DIPLOMACY

* Sweden has received U.S. assurances that it would receive support during the period a potential application to join NATO is processed by the 30 nations in the alliance, Foreign Minister Ann Linde (NYSE:LIN) said in Washington.

* The Kremlin dismissed speculation that President Vladimir Putin would declare war on Ukraine and announce a national mobilisation on May 9. Russia describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation”.

QUOTES

“My position is simple: every euro paid to Russia for gas, oil or other goods ends up as rounds of ammunition in Ukraine to kill my compatriots,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Austrian TV channel Puls 4.

Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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