LIVE: 221st day of Russian aggression against Ukraine

Damage after the Russian shelling church, in the village of Korobochkyne, Kharkiv region, Ukraine. Photo: PAP/EPA

Ukrainian troops said they had retaken the key bastion of Lyman in occupied eastern Ukraine, a stinging defeat that prompted Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to call for the possible use of low-grade nuclear weapons.

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US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine's presidential office, in Istanbul on Sunday and pledged Washington's steadfast support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the White House said.

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EU country leaders will discuss how to step up support for Ukraine and their joint next steps to tame soaring energy prices when they meet on Friday.

In a meeting invitation letter to EU leaders published on Sunday, European Council President Charles Michel called for a firm EU response to recent developments, including Russia declaring the annexation of four regions of Ukraine on Friday.

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Britain will acquire two specialist ships to protect underwater infrastructure such as cables and pipelines, defence minister Ben Wallace said on Sunday, following leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Europe.

“I can announce we have recently committed to two specialist ships with the capability to keep our cables and pipelines safe,” Wallace told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England.

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Since February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine, over 6.72 million people have crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border into Poland, the Border Guard (SG) tweeted on Sunday morning.

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Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Ukraine's Luhansk region, said that the retaking of Lyman in the neighbouring Donetsk region is one of the key factors for reclaiming lost territory in Luhansk.

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