What you need to know right now By Reuters

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© Reuters. General view of Kyiv after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

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(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the Ukraine crisis right now:

HEADLINES

* Russian troops captured the southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, Russia’s Interfax news agency said, as Moscow launched coordinated missile and artillery attacks on several cities including the capital Kyiv.

* British armed forces minister James Heappey said Britain did not believe Russian forces had captured Melitopol.

* Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian attack in the Lviv region near Brody in western Ukraine, Lviv’s mayor was quoted as saying by the Telegram messaging service.

* An air raid siren was heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv at about 11:20 a.m. (0920 GMT), a Reuters correspondent reported.

* Around 100,000 people have crossed into Poland from Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion, including 9,000 who have entered since 7 a.m. on Saturday, Poland’s Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker told a news conference.

* A decision to cut Russia off from the global SWIFT payment system will be taken in a matter of days, the governor of a central bank within the euro zone told Reuters.

* Russia will respond to the seizure of money of Russian citizens and companies abroad by seizing funds of foreigners and foreign companies in Russia, RIA news agency quoted Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the security, as saying.

* At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Health Ministry was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

* The municipal administration of Ukraine’s northeastern city of Sumy said fighting was under way on its streets, urging residents to stay home.

* France has decided to send defensive military equipment to Ukraine to support the country against Russia’s invasion, a French army spokesman said, adding the issue of sending offensive arms was still under consideration.

* Russian energy giant Gazprom (MCX:) said it was supplying gas via Ukraine in line with demand from European consumers despite the military conflict.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the Ukrainian military to overthrow the country’s leadership and negotiate peace.

* Ukraine and Russia are discussing a place and time for talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokesman said on social media.

* Russia vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Friday that would have deplored Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, while China abstained from the vote.

* China is in a diplomatic scramble to limit blowback while standing by a partner with which it has grown increasingly close in opposition to the West.

* President Joe Biden instructed the U.S. State Department to release $350 million in military aid to Ukraine, and asked Congress to approve $6.4 billion in aid to address the humanitarian and security crisis.

* The White House said the United States, in a rare move, would impose sanctions on Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. The European Union and Canada are doing the same.

* Ukraine said more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had been killed. Russia did not release casualty figures. The United Nations said 25 civilians had been killed and 102 wounded.

QUOTES

– “We will not put down weapons, we will defend our state,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, facing the worst European security crisis in decades.

– “The (Ukrainian) armed forces are repelling the occupier! We are keeping the situation under control,” Lviv’s mayor Andrey Sadovyi was quoted as saying by the Telegram messaging service.

– “SWIFT is just a matter of time, very short time, days,” the governor of a central bank within the euro zone told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity and referring to cutting Russia off from the global payments system.

“Is it sufficient? No. Is it necessary? Absolutely. Sanctions only make sense if there are costs for both sides and this will be costly.”

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