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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.

FIGHTING

* Russia's defence ministry says its forces hit a military train at Chaplyne railway station.

* On Ukraine's Independence Day on Wednesday, Russia's military targeted frontline cities and towns including Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Nikopol and Dnipro, but avoided Kyiv, presidential 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.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* The U.N. nuclear watchdog is "very, very close" to being able to go to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe's largest, its chief Rafael Grossi told France 24 TV.

* 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.

* Ukraine's economy should stabilise over the coming year and expand by as much as 15.5% in 2023, depending on military developments in the war against Russia, the country's economy minister told Reuters in an interview.

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

(Compiled by Gareth Jones)

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