The Ukrainian roundup

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May 30 (Reuters) – Russian troops have entered the outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, the regional governor said on Monday, describing “very fierce” fighting in the ruins of a city that has become the focus of Moscow’s offensive. 

FIGHTING

* Luhansk region governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian troops had advanced into the southeastern and northeastern fringes of Sievierodonetsk. But he said Ukrainian forces had driven the Russians out of the village of Toshkivka to the south, potentially frustrating Moscow’s push to encircle the area.

* Britain’s Defence Ministry said Russia appears to have suffered devastating losses amongst mid-ranking and junior officers in its conflict with Ukraine, raising the prospect of weaker military effectiveness in future.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

DIPLOMACY

* Top European Union diplomats met for a last-ditch attempt to agree on Russian oil import sanctions before their leaders meet later in the day, seeking to avoid a display of disunity over the bloc’s response to the war in Ukraine. 

* NATO’s support for Ukraine is unbreakable and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not reach his objectives, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said. 

TRADE

* The Russian-controlled Ukrainian region of Kherson has begun exporting grain that was harvested last year to Russia, the TASS news agency cited a senior local official as saying. Ukraine has previously accused Russia of stealing grain from the territories it has occupied. 

FINANCE

* Russia plans to settle its Eurobond obligations using a mechanism similar to the scheme used to pay for Russian gas in roubles, the Vedomosti newspaper reported, citing Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. 

* SPB Exchange, Russia’s second-largest bourse, said it would transfer up to 14% of U.S.-listed shares that its clients possess to a non-trading account after the central bank said it would restrict trading in some foreign shares.

(Compiled by Kevin Liffey)

The mural ‘St. Javelina’, which depicts a symbolic figure of Madonna holding a US anti-tank missile system ‘Javelin’ – used by the Ukrainian army in the fight with Russian troops – on the wall of an apartment block in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine. Artists from the Kailas-V creative group explain that the image has nothing to do with religion and does not want to offend the feelings of believers in any way, but is an art. EPA-EFE/OLEG PETRASYUK

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