Tuesday, February 20

Russia’s war on Ukraine latest news: Kherson battle lines drawn

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Russian forces are digging in for the “heaviest of battles” in the strategic southern region of Kherson, a senior Ukrainian official said, as the Kremlin prepares to defend the largest city under its control in Ukraine.


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* Russian-installed authorities in Kherson city have been encouraging residents to flee to the east bank, but Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said there was no sign that Russian forces themselves were preparing to abandon the city.

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* Russia has notified the United States about planned annual exercises of its nuclear forces, which Washington said lowers the risk of miscalculation at a time of “reckless” Russian nuclear rhetoric.

* New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed in a phone call with US President Joe Biden on the importance of supporting Ukraine. Sunak also spoke with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and the pair saw the need to continue to pressure the Moscow regime.

* A group of liberal US Democrats withdrew a letter to the White House urging a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war after blowback from within their own party.


* Kazatomprom KZAP.KZ, the world’s biggest uranium miner, is seeking to boost the capacity of its alternative shipping route which bypasses Russia to mitigate risks from potential sanctions, the Kazakh company said.

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* Mercedes-Benz MBGn.DE said it would withdraw from the Russian market and sell shares in its industrial and financial services subsidiaries to a local investor, becoming the latest carmaker to exit the country.

* Ukraine will not face a shortage of potatoes this winter despite its refusal to import from Russia and Belarus, the agriculture ministry said.

* The White House has welcomed moves by Saudi Arabia to help Ukraine in its war with Russia as President Biden ponders how tough to be against the Saudis for joining an oil output cut. (Compiled by Cynthia Osterman, Lincoln Feast and Philippa Fletcher)