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- Russia released former US Marine Trevor Reed on Wednesday following a prisoner swap with the United States, despite ongoing tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe noted. Reed was jailed in 2020 for allegedly assaulting Russian police officers a year before. His release came as Washington freed Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was jailed in the US on drug smuggling charges.
- Russia agreed to arrange evacuations from a besieged steel factory in the battered city of Mariupol following a meeting between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. The one-on-one meeting was the first since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.
- Russia reported a number of bombings in the country’s south and a fire at an ammo stockpile Wednesday, the latest in a string of incidents that a top Ukrainian official described as “payback” and “karma” for Moscow’s incursion, Reuters wrote. Without directly acknowledging Ukraine’s involvement, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak stated that it was reasonable for Russian regions where fuel and weapons were kept to learn about “demilitarization.”
- Ukrainian officials said Russian soldiers have taken control of two cities in the Donbas, where Moscow has focused its latest operation, as well as two villages in Kharkiv, according to Al Jazeera. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s capital dismantled a large Soviet-era monument in the center of Kyiv that symbolized brotherhood between Russia and Ukraine in reaction to Moscow’s invasion, Reuters added.
- The European Union is planning to temporarily remove all remaining tariffs and quota restrictions on Ukrainian exports in an effort to help the war-torn country’s economy, Bloomberg wrote. At the same time, the bloc’s banking regulator said that European banks can relax some anti-money laundering rules and procedures for Ukrainian refugees to ensure they can open basic bank accounts, Politico reported.