Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
* The United States said it has not asked Russia about two U.S. citizens reported missing after travelling to Ukraine to fight, and said there are reports of a third missing American. DIPLOMACY * Britain will welcome representatives from Ukraine and business leaders on Friday to discuss how British companies can help rebuild infrastructure in Kyiv.
The leaders of Germany, France and Italy, criticised in the past by Kyiv for support viewed as too cautious, visited Ukraine on Thursday and offered the hope of EU membership to a country pleading for weapons to fend off Russia's invasion. FIGHTING * Ukrainian officials said their troops were still holding out against massive Russian bombardment in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk. * An air strike hit a building sheltering civilians in Ukraine's embattled eastern city of Lysychansk, killing at least three people, according to the governor. * The United States said it has not asked Russia about two U.S. citizens reported missing after travelling to Ukraine to fight, and said there are reports of a third missing American.
DIPLOMACY * Britain will welcome representatives from Ukraine and business leaders on Friday to discuss how British companies can help rebuild infrastructure in Kyiv. * Ukraine alone should decide whether or not to accept any territorial concessions towards Russia, French President Macron told TF1 television. * The European Union's executive is expected to propose on Friday that Ukraine become a formal candidate for membership. * Russia said it had banned 121 Australian citizens from entering. * The Dutch intelligence service said it had uncovered a Russian military agent attempting to infiltrate the International Criminal Court. * Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he would attend a NATO meeting in Madrid at the end of the month. ECONOMY * Russia promised to speed up talks about increased gas sales to China and warned that Europe would pay a hefty price for its oil embargo against Russia. * Russian-flagged ships have been carrying Ukraine's grain to Syria, U.S. satellite imagery company Maxar said. * Ships loaded with grain and metals will leave the port of Mariupol soon, with shipments potentially headed to the Middle East, a pro-Russian separatist leader told the Interfax news agency.
QUOTES * "Every day of delay or postponed decisions is an opportunity for the Russian military to kill Ukrainians or destroy our cities. There is a direct correlation: the more powerful weapons we receive, the faster we can liberate our people, our land." - Ukrainian President Zelenskiy. * "My colleagues and I came here to Kyiv today with a clear message: 'Ukraine belongs to the European family'," - German Chancellor Scholz. (Compiled by Stephen Coates)
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