Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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KYIV, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Explosions erupted overnight near military bases deep within Russian-held areas of Ukraine and in Russia itself, an apparent display of Kyiv’s growing ability to wreak havoc on Moscow’s logistics far from front lines.

Ukraine also issued a new warning about a frontline nuclear power station where it said it believed Moscow was planning a “large-scale provocation” as a justification to decouple the plant from the Ukrainian power grid and connect it to Russia’s.

In Crimea – the peninsula Russia seized and annexed in 2014 – explosions were reported near an air base in Belbek, on the southwest coast near Sevastopol, headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. On the opposite end of the peninsula, the sky was also lit up at Kerch near a huge bridge to Russia, with what Russia said was fire from its air defences.

Inside Russia, two villages were evacuated after explosions at an ammunition dump in Belgorod province, near the Ukrainian border but more than 100 km (60 miles) from territory controlled by Ukrainian forces.

DIPLOMACY

* The U.N.’s Guterres said after talks in Lviv, Ukraine, that he was gravely concerned by circumstances at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and called for military equipment and personnel to be withdrawn.

* The Russian foreign ministry has rejected a proposal by Guterres to demilitarise the area.

* The United States is preparing about $800 million of additional military aid to Ukraine and could announce it as soon as Friday, three sources familiar with the matter said.

FIGHTING

* At least four explosions hit an area near the Russian Belbek military airport north of Sevastopol in annexed Crimea, three local sources said, but a pro-Moscow official said no damage had been done.

* Seventeen people were killed and 42 wounded in two separate Russian attacks on the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, the regional governor said on Thursday while five rockets hit the city early on Friday killing at least one person, he said.

* The inhabitants of two villages in southern Russia near the Ukrainian border were evacuated after a nearby ammunition storage depot caught fire but no one was hurt, an official said.

* Reuters could not confirm battlefield reports independently.

QUOTE

“Personally, I maintain my belief that the war will ultimately end at the negotiating table. Mr Zelenskiy and Mr Guterres have the same opinion in this regard,” Turkish President Erdogan after talks with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and Guterres.

Deminers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine neutralize the explosive item which was found at the bottom of the Dnipro river, in Cherkasy, Ukraine, 19 August 2022. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

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