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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it could shut down Europe's largest nuclear power plant after it came under shelling on the front lines in Ukraine, a move Kyiv said would increase the risk of a nuclear catastrophe there.


* Russia's foreign ministry on Thursday rejected a proposal by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres to demilitarise the area around the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, saying it would make the facility "more vulnerable".

* Three civilians were killed and 17 wounded in a pre-dawn rocket attack on the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Thursday, the local emergency service said. The strike followed a Russian attack on Kharkiv on Wednesday, in which the emergencies service said 12 people were killed. Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians.

* Reuters could not confirm battlefield reports independently.


* Efforts to ensure safety at Zaporizhzhia was one of the main subjects of talks during a two-day visit to Ukraine by Guterres, who addressed a university in the Western city of Lviv and was meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan.

* Russia said on Thursday there was a risk of a man-made disaster at the Zaporizhzhia plant and accused Kyiv and the West of planning a "provocation" there during Guterres' visit to the country. A Ukrainian official dismissed what he depicted as a cynical assertion by Moscow.

* Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday it was engaged in "quiet diplomacy" with the United States regarding a potential prisoner swap that would include basketball star Brittney Griner.

* Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday that Moscow would only use its nuclear arsenal in "emergency circumstances" and that it has no interest in a direct confrontation with NATO and the United States.

* Russia's defence ministry said on Thursday three MiG-31E warplanes equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles had been relocated to its Kaliningrad region, Interfax reported.


* One more ship carrying grain has left Ukraine's Chornomorsk port, Turkey's defence ministry said on Thursday, bringing the total number of vessels to leave Ukraine's Black Sea ports under the U.N.-brokered grain export deal to 25.

* Denmark expects to invest 40 billion Danish crowns ($5.47 billion) in new warships as the NATO member seeks to bolster its maritime security in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the defence ministry said on Thursday.

(Compiled by Lincoln Feast and Alison Williams; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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