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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

Aug 23 (Reuters) - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy promised a powerful response if Russian forces carried out attacks around Ukraine's Independence Day on Wednesday after a U.S. official said it had intelligence Russia was planning to attack civilian infrastructure and government facilities.


* "Tomorrow is a important day for all of us - it is also, unfortunately, important for our enemy. We must be aware that disgusting Russian provocations and brutal strikes are possible tomorrow," Zelenskiy said in his evening video address.

* Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, has banned public celebrations commemorating Ukraine's independence from Soviet rule. Kharkiv and Mykolaiv have also imposed curbs.

* Zelenskiy said Ukraine would recapture its annexed peninsula of Crimea from Russia by any means it deemed right, and that it would not consult other countries before doing so.

* Russian air defences shot down an unspecified number of Ukrainian drones near the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Tuesday night, Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said in a statement.

* Reuters could not confirm the battlefield reports.


* The United States will announce a new security assistance package for Ukraine of about $3 billion as early as Wednesday, a U.S. official said, in what would be the single largest tranche to Kyiv since Russia's invasion six months ago.

* Russian politicians bade farewell at a service on Tuesday to Darya Dugina, the daughter of one of Russia's most prominent nationalist ideologues, hailing her as a martyr whose death must inspire Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

* The U.N. nuclear watchdog will visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine within days if talks to gain access succeed, it said on Tuesday.

* A total of 33 cargo ships carrying around 719,549 tonnes of foodstuffs have left Ukraine under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to unblock Ukrainian sea ports, the Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday.

* EU members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland, which all share a border with Russia, may stop Russian tourists from entering their countries if the EU does not enact a bloc-wide ban, Lithuania's foreign minister said.


"Probably no one has done as much to unite Ukraine as Putin," said Kyiv resident Yevhen Palamarchuk, 38, ahead of Wednesday's Independence Day. "We always had some internal tensions in the country but since 2014, and especially since February, we are united more than ever."

(Compiled by Himani Sarkar and Alison Williams)

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