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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

Aug 25 (Reuters) - A Russian missile attack killed 22 civilians and set a passenger train on fire in eastern Ukraine, officials in Kyiv said, with missile strikes north of the capital as Ukraine marked its Independence Day under heavy shelling.


* Ukraine will never give up its fight for freedom from Russia's domination, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an emotional speech marking the country's 31st anniversary of independence from the Moscow-led Soviet Union.

* He said Ukraine would recapture its annexed peninsula of Crimea from Russia by any means.

* On a surprise visit to the capital Kyiv, British Prime Minister Johnson lauded Ukraine for its "indomitable" resistance in six months of war and said now was not the time to promote a "flimsy plan for negotiation" with Moscow.


* On Ukraine's national day Russia's military targeted frontline cities and towns including Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Nikopol and Dnipro, but avoided Kyiv, Zelenskiy's adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said.

* Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian drone in the Vinnytsia region while Russian missiles landed in the Khmelnytskyi area, regional authorities said, both west of Kyiv and hundreds of kilometres from front lines. No damage or casualties were reported. Reuters could not verify the accounts.

* Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the slowing pace of Moscow's military campaign was deliberate and aimed at reducing civilian casualties. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russian forces of war crimes and targeting civilians, charges Moscow rejects.

* Ukraine's top military intelligence official said Russia's offensive was slowing because of morale and physical fatigue in their ranks and Moscow's "exhausted" resource base.


* UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt armed attacks on Ukraine and said the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, now controlled by Russian forces, must be demilitarized.

* Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox church, who backs the war in Ukraine, will not meet when both men attend a gathering of religious leaders in Kazakhstan next month, RIA news agency cited a senior Orthodox official as saying.

* U.S. President Biden marked Ukraine's independence day with a new package of about $3 billion in military aid.

(Compiled by Stephen Coates and Gareth Jones)

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