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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Ukrainians mark 31 years since they broke free from the Russia-dominated Soviet Union on Wednesday in what is certain to be a day of defiance against the Kremlin's six-month-old war to subdue the country once again.

FIGHTING

* 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.

* Reuters could not confirm the battlefield reports.

* Ammunition being stored in southern Russia near the border with Ukraine caught fire, the second such incident in a week, and an official said high temperatures were to blame.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* 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 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.

* A total of 33 cargo ships carrying about 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.

QUOTE

"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," Zelenskiy said in his evening video address.

(Compiled by Cynthia Osterman, Robert Birsel)

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