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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

Aug 16 (Reuters) - Explosions rocked an ammunition depot and disrupted trains in Russian-annexed Crimea on Tuesday, the latest such incident in a region Moscow uses as a supply line for its war in Ukraine.

FIGHTING

* Russia blamed saboteurs for orchestrating a series of explosions at an ammunition depot in Russian-annexed Crimea, a rare admission that armed groups loyal to Ukraine are damaging military logistics and supply lines on territory it controls.

* Plumes of black smoke were seen on Tuesday at a Russian military airbase near the settlement of Hvardiyske in the centre of Russian-controlled Crimea, Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported.

* Russia has "no need" to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, its defence minister said on Tuesday, describing media speculation that Moscow might deploy nuclear or chemical weapons in the conflict as "absolute lies".

* Britain said on Tuesday that Russia's Black Sea Fleet is currently struggling to exercise effective sea control, with patrols generally limited to the waters within sight of the Crimean coast.

* Reuters could not confirm battlefield reports independently.

DIPLOMACY

* Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Tuesday of whipping up tensions in Asia, describing a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a "thoroughly planned provocation".

* Finland will slash the number of visas issued to Russians to 10% of the current amount from Sept. 1, foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday, amid a rush of Russian tourists bound for Europe.

GRAIN SHIPMENTS

* The ship Brave Commander has left the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi, carrying the first cargo of humanitarian food aid bound for Africa from Ukraine since Russia's invasion, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Tuesday.

* Ukraine can export 3 million tonnes of grain from its ports in September and may in the future be able to export 4 million tonnes from them monthly, Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Vaskov said on Tuesday. (Compiled by Nick Macfie)

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