Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

Updates on the fighting, economic impact, evacuations and more.

Russian forces bearing down on Kyiv are regrouping northwest of the Ukrainian capital, satellite pictures showed, with Britain saying Moscow could now be planning an assault on the city within days.

Fighting

* Ukraine accused Russian forces of hitting a psychiatric hospital near the eastern Ukrainian town of Izyum. Emergency services said no one was hurt as the patients were already sheltering in the basement.

* President Vladimir Putin has approved up to 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East being deployed alongside Russian-backed rebels in the conflict.

* The mayor of Kharkiv said 48 schools in Ukraine’s second-largest city have been destroyed in relentless bombardment by Russian forces.

* Three air strikes in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro killed at least one person, state emergency services said.

* Russian troops took out two military airfields in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, while Moscow-backed separatists have captured Volnovakha, north of Mariupol, according to Russian defence ministry.

Economic impact

* The United States, G7 nations and European Union will move on Friday to end normal trade relations with Russia, allowing new tariffs on Russian goods, sources told Reuters.

* As EU leaders debate further steps, including doubling military aid for Ukraine, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Facebook the bloc will not extend its sanctions to Russian energy.

* The U.S. Senate approved $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine.

Evacuations

* Russia promised another ceasefire to allow evacuations from the port of Mariupol as well as Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv, although previous ones have failed.

* About 222,000 people arrived in Russia from Ukraine and Russian-backed rebel regions, the TASS news agency said.

* While almost 40,000 have left other cities, not a single civilian made it out of Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Humanitarian toll

* Over 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the U.N., around half of them children.

* Russian forces are operating in Ukraine with “reckless disregard” for civilians amid stronger-than-expected resistance, U.S. spy chiefs said.

Facebook

* Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms temporarily lifted a ban on calls for violence against the Russian military and leadership in some countries, internal e-mails showed, prompting Russia’s call on Washington to stop Meta’s “extremist activities.”

Nuclear power

* All Ukrainian nuclear power stations are operating normally, state company Energoatom said.

Quotes

“This is a war crime against civilians, genocide against the Ukrainian nation,” Oleh Synegubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, wrote on the Telegram messaging app, reporting a strike on a psychiatric hospital there.

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