Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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July 10 (Reuters) – At least 15 people were killed and two dozen more are feared trapped after Russian Uragan rockets hit a five-storey apartment block in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, local officials said as rescuers picked their way through rubble.

FIGHTING

* Rescuers raced to reach more than 20 people feared trapped under the rubble of an apartment block in eastern Ukraine that was hit by a Russian rocket attack in the night, killing at least 15 people, officials said.

* Donetsk regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on the Telegram messaging service that a Russian missile had struck Druzhkivka, a town behind the front line, and reported shelling of other population centres.

* Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Telegram that Russian forces were gathering in the area of the village of Bilohorivka, about 50 km (30 miles) east of Sloviansk, from where they were shelling the surrounding settlements and carrying out air strikes.

* Russia’s Tass news agency cited pro-Russian separatists as saying Ukrainian forces had fired an artillery barrage into residential districts of the city of Donetsk.

* Russian forces struck two Ukrainian army hangars storing U.S.-produced M777 howitzers, a type of artillery weapon, near Kostantinovka in the Donetsk region, the Russian defence ministry said.

* Reuters could not independently verify battlefield accounts.

ECONOMY/DIPLOMACY

* Canada will return a repaired turbine to Germany that is needed for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline and could help to ensure continued flows of energy until Europe can end its dependency on Russian gas, Canada’s minister of natural resources said.

* The French government is preparing for a total cutoff of Russian gas supplies, which it sees as the most likely scenario in its forward planning, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

* U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging the international community to join forces to condemn Russian aggression, told journalists on Saturday he had raised concerns with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed several of Kyiv’s senior envoys abroad on Saturday, including the outspoken ambassador to Germany. 

(Compiled by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry)

A man with umbrella walks in front of a giant National flag painted on a slope, near an Orthodox church in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

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