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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 540 of the invasion

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Nato official apologises for saying Ukraine could give up territory to Russia; Russia shoots down Ukrainian drones near Moscow

A senior Nato official has apologised and clarified his comments, a day after he said publicly that Ukraine could give up territory to Russia in exchange for Nato membership and an end to the war. Stian Jenssen, the chief of staff to the Nato secretary general, said “My statement about this was part of a larger discussion about possible future scenarios in Ukraine, and I shouldn’t have said it that way. It was a mistake.”

Ukraine’s forces have entrenched themselves on the outskirts of Urozhaine after recapturing the settlement in the Donetsk region from Russian forces, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said. Hanna Maliar posted on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday morning that the village had been liberated, adding that offensive operations continue.

Ukraine’s air force on Wednesday said a large group of Russian army drones entered the mouth of the Danube river and headed toward the Izmail river port near the border with Romania. The governor of southern Odesa region, Oleh Kiper, asked residents of Izmail district to take shelter at about 1:30 am and cancelled the air raid alert one hour later.

Russia’s defence ministry said Wednesday it shot down three Ukrainian drones southwest of Moscow, the latest in a surge of aerial attacks near the capital. Ukraine launched the attack at 5:00 am using “three unmanned aerial vehicles on objects in the Kaluga region”, the ministry said on Telegram.

Russian authorities refused to renew the visa for Dutch journalist Eva Hartog, who has lived and worked in the country for 10 years, and gave her six days to leave Russia, she said in a column published Wednesday. Her effective expulsion is one of several in recent years and comes amid a months-long crackdown that the Kremlin has unleashed on independent journalists, critical news outlets, opposition activists and human rights groups.

The United States condemned Russia’s continued attacks on Ukraine’s grain infrastructure in a state department statement on Wednesday, as it called for Moscow to return immediately to the grain deal. Russian president Vladimir Putin does not care about global food security, state department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters after Ukraine earlier on Wednesday said Russia had attacked its grain storage facilities overnight.

Kyiv said a civilian cargo vessel had exited its southern port of Odesa on Wednesday despite warnings from Russia that its navy could target ships using Ukraine’s Black Sea export hubs.

Ukraine will not be able to operate US-built F-16 fighter jets this coming autumn and winter, air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat told Ukrainian television late on Wednesday. “It’s already obvious we won’t be able to defend Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets during this autumn and winter,” Ihnat told a joint telethon broadcast by Ukrainian channels.

Vladimir Putin is reportedly planning to hold a meeting with Russian policymakers on Wednesday in order to discuss reintroducing some capital controls to help prop up the struggling rouble. Citing a Russian finance ministry proposal, the Financial Times said large exporters could be forced to convert up to 80% of their foreign currency into roubles in order to raise demand for the currency.

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