Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Ukraine hits city inside Russian-controlled territory
* Reuters could not verify battlefield reports. PEOPLE * Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged Russians not to adopt children who she said were stolen in Ukraine and deported to Russia. * A Russian who was investigated by police after his daughter drew an anti-war picture at school was sentenced to two years in a penal colony on charges of discrediting the armed forces but the whereabouts of the man were unclear.
Ukraine struck a railway depot and knocked out power in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, deep behind the front line, on Wednesday amid growing talk from Kyiv of a counterassault against Russian forces worn out by a failed winter offensive. DIPLOMACY, NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND MILITARY AID
* Rafael Grossi, head of the U.N. nuclear agency, arrived at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Russian-controlled Ukraine as part of a push to reduce the risk of a major accident. * Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has extended an invitation to Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit, the Associated Press reported.
* Russia said it had begun exercises with the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system and several thousand of troops in what is likely to be seen as another attempt by Moscow to show off its nuclear strength. * The United States has informed Russia it will not exchange data on its nuclear forces, describing the change as a response to Russia's decision to suspend participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty.
* Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said Moscow is committed to preventing nuclear war and military confrontation between nuclear-armed states, TASS news agency reported. * Sweden's foreign ministry said it will summon Russia's Stockholm ambassador to complain about an "attempt at interference" with the Swedish NATO application process.
BATTLEFIELD AND MILITARY AID * Russian forces are moving forward in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut despite fierce resistance and have almost taken full control of a metals plant there, the Russian-installed leader in the region said.
* Russian forces trying to encircle the town of Avdiivka in recent days have made only marginal gains despite heavy losses in armoured vehicles, including a tank regiment, Britain's Ministry of Defence said. * Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.
PEOPLE * Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged Russians not to adopt children who she said were stolen in Ukraine and deported to Russia.
* A Russian who was investigated by police after his daughter drew an anti-war picture at school was sentenced to two years in a penal colony on charges of discrediting the armed forces but the whereabouts of the man were unclear. IN-DEPTH STORIES
* SPECIAL REPORT-Facial recognition is helping Putin curb dissent with the aid of U.S. tech * INSIGHT-Ukraine's scramble for 'game-changer' drone fleet
* Peace plans and pipelines: What came out of the Putin-Xi talks? * SPECIAL REPORT-Wagner's convicts tell of horrors of Ukraine war and loyalty to their leader
QUOTE "No, those warnings don’t scare me and don’t change my attitude towards the world, people and our president," said Yulia Gorodnyanskaya, 38, a Moscow resident unfazed by Putin's rising nuclear rhetoric.
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