Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
* The IAEA nuclear watchdog confirmed the restoration, allowing the plant to draw power from the grid to cool its reactors. * The presidents of Russia and France held talks about plant safety, with Putin blaming Ukrainian forces, while Emmanuel Macron pointed the finger at Russian troops.
Ukraine accused the Russian military of attacking civilian infrastructure in response to a rapid weekend offensive by Ukrainian troops that forced Russia to abandon its main bastion in the Kharkiv region. FIGHTING
* Ukrainian forces have advanced north from Kharkiv to within 50 km (30 miles) of the border with Russia and are also pressing to the south and east in the same region, Ukrainian chief commander General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said. * Zaluzhnyi said Ukraine had retaken more than 3,000 sq km (1,160 sq miles) this month.
* On Monday, Britain's defense ministry said Russia had probably ordered the withdrawal of its troops from the entire occupied Kharkiv region west of the Oskil River. (https://bit.ly/3xfp2lf) * Russia's defense ministry ordered troops to leave the area around the city of Ilium, TASS said on Saturday. It also quoted the Russian-installed chief administrator of Russian-controlled parts of the province as telling residents to evacuate to Russia.
* Russian nationalists called angrily for immediate changes by President Vladimir Putin to ensure ultimate victory in the Ukraine war after Moscow was forced to abandon Ilium. * Ukraine needs to secure against a possible counterattack the territory it has recaptured from Russian forces, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov was quoted as saying on Sunday. Ukrainian troops were tired after their six-day offensive but morale was good, he told the Financial Times.
* Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports. NUCLEAR PLANT
* Operations at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant have been fully stopped as a safety measure, its state operator said. The move followed the restoration of the backup power line allowing the plant to be connected to Ukraine's electricity grid. * The IAEA nuclear watchdog confirmed the restoration, allowing the plant to draw power from the grid to cool its reactors.
* The presidents of Russia and France held talks about plant safety, with Putin blaming Ukrainian forces, while Emmanuel Macron pointed the finger at Russian troops. * Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine's president, said Russian attacks had hit Kharkiv's CHPP-5 electricity station, one of the country's largest.
DIPLOMACY, TRADE * Russia was doing "everything" to break Ukrainian and European resolve this winter, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky told a conference attended by Germany's foreign minister. "Ninety days that more than all other years will determine the existence of the European Union," he said in remarks posted on his website late on Saturday.
* Indonesian President Joko Widodo is considering joining India and China in buying Russian oil to offset the growing pressure of rising energy costs, the Financial Times said on Monday. * The International Monetary Fund is looking for ways to provide emergency funding to countries facing war-induced food price shocks and will discuss measures at an executive board meeting on Monday, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* Britain dismissed Putin's assertion that only a tiny fraction of grain exported from Ukraine under an international deal was going to poor countries, saying 30% has gone to low- and middle-income countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. * France's transport minister said he would sign a pact with Romania to help increase Ukrainian grain exports to developing countries, including the Mediterranean.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)