Ukraine: Latest developments you need to know

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Russian troops keep waxing stronger at keeping its neighbouring Ukraine on a tight leash, in the nearly two-month-old Russo-Ukrainian war that has severely strained diplomatic relations between Moscow and allied European nations, with the latter doing their best in trouncing the Russian economy as punitive measures meant to level it down to an international pariah.

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– Eastern offensive begins –

Russia says its forces have carried out dozens of airstrikes in eastern Ukraine as part of a major offensive in the Donbas region that had been expected for days.

The Russian defence ministry confirms strikes on Ukrainian positions in the key town of Slovyansk and on towns close to the frontline.

“We can now confirm that Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, which they have been preparing for a long time,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says.

– New Mariupol ultimatum –
Russia calls on Ukrainian forces to “immediately lay down arms” and issues a new ultimatum for the defenders of the besieged port city of Mariupol to end their resistance.

The Russian defence ministry says that defenders of Mariupol will be “guaranteed survival” if they lay down their arms starting at noon (0900 GMT).

Ukrainian forces in Mariupol ignored a previous such ultimatum on Sunday.

– Deaths in Lviv –
Five “powerful” Russian missiles hit the western city of Lviv, which had been mostly spared by the fighting, killing at least seven people and wounding eight, local officials say.

Russia says it has also destroyed an arms depot near Lviv containing weapons recently delivered to Ukraine.

– New US arms shipments arrive –
The first shipments of a new US military aid package have arrived at Ukraine’s borders to be handed over, a senior Pentagon official says.

The package includes 18 155mm howitzers for the first time, as well as 40,000 artillery rounds, 200 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 11 Mi-17 helicopters and 100 armoured multi-purpose vehicles.

– Biden to hold meeting of allies –
US President Joe Biden will convene a meeting of allies on Tuesday to discuss the Ukraine conflict, the White House says.

The video call will also cover “efforts to hold Russia accountable”, it says.

– Putin honours Bucha-linked brigade –
Russian President Vladimir Putin bestows an honorary title on a brigade accused by Ukraine of “war crimes” and mass killings in the town of Bucha.

A decree signed by Putin gives the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade the title of “Guards” for defending the “Motherland and state interests” and praises the “mass heroism and valour, tenacity and courage” of its members.

– Tycoon seeks prisoner exchange –
Russian state television broadcasts a video of two men it says are captured Britons asking to be exchanged for Viktor Medvedchuk, a recently captured Ukrainian tycoon close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine’s security services then put out a video of Medvedchuk asking to be exchanged for Ukrainian civilians and soldiers trapped in the strategic besieged port of Mariupol.

Source: PUNCH

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