Russia’s war on Ukraine latest: Pope says Vatican involved in secret Ukraine peace mission
(Reuters) – The Vatican is involved in a peace mission to try to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Pope Francis said on Sunday, telling reporters during a flight home after a three-day visit to Hungary that he was willing to do everything that has to be done.
* Ukraine said on Sunday its troops were holding onto parts of the eastern city of Bakhmut, focus of a prolonged Russian assault, while the head of a major pro-Moscow force said his men were making progress.
* Four civilians died as a result of Ukrainian shelling on a village just over the border in Russia’s Bryansk region on Saturday evening, a local governor said.
* A drone strike caused a fire at a fuel storage facility in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, sending a vast column of black smoke into the sky before it was extinguished, the city’s Moscow-installed governor said.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy carries a pistol and would have fought to the death with his inner circle had the Russians stormed his Kyiv headquarters at the start of the war, he said in an interview shown on Saturday.
* Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.
* “I am willing to do everything that has to be done. There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it,” the Pope Francis told reporters during a flight home after a three-day visit to Hungary.
* French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke by phone on Sunday and discussed Ukraine’s military needs, both sides said.
* The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendation to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to international competition as neutrals is “excessive and discriminatory”, the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) athletes’ commission said.
* Russia on Saturday promised it would respond harshly to what it said was Poland’s illegal seizure of its embassy school in Warsaw, an act it called a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.
* Dividends of as much as $400 million to four Indian companies for their stakes in Russian oil assets are stuck due to problems in payments triggered by Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a government source said on Saturday.
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(Compiled by Reuters editors)