IN BRIEF: Ukraine & Russia – What you need to know right now

A Ukrainian counteroffensive was underway near the Russian-held town of Izium, but Ukraine’s military said Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the key Donbas region.

Fighting, civilians

British military intelligence said Russia’s offensive in the Donbas “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule”, with a dramatic acceleration unlikely over the next 30 days.
Refugees from bombed-out Mariupol spoke of devastation as they reached Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia in a large convoy of cars and vans after waiting days for Russian troops to let them leave.

White, brightly burning munitions were shown cascading down on the Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol in what a British military expert said looked like an attack with phosphorus or incendiary weapons.

Russia said its forces had hit Ukrainian command posts, ammunition depots and other military equipment including in the Donbas, killing at least 100 Ukrainian “nationalists”.

Diplomacy

Russian neighbour Finland will apply for NATO membership, President Sauli Niinisto said, in a major policy shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats were poised to come out in favour of joining NATO, paving the way for an application soon after and abandoning decades of military non-alignment.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin and that “more weapons and other aid is on the way to Ukraine”.
G7 foreign ministers vowed to reinforce Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and work to ease global food shortages stemming from the war.

Quote 

“We had a victory: today in Eurovision, but soon we will have a victory in Ukraine-Russian war,” Tetyana, a military medic, said after Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the popular song contest.

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