Kyiv troops are preparing for a bloody fight for Kherson

STRUGGLE

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that civilians in the region should be evacuated from the conflict zone, his first acknowledgment of a deteriorating situation in a bitterly contested area he claims to have annexed.

* Ukrainian forces using seized weapons fired at Russian targets near the eastern town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, as fighting raged in an area Moscow is scrambling to capture.

* Iran admitted for the first time on Saturday that it supplied drones to Russia, but said they were sent before the invasion of Ukraine in February. Kyiv says Iranian drones have been used to attack a range of power plants and civilian infrastructure.

DIPLOMACY

* The United States on Friday announced $400 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, including the refurbishment of 45 T-72 tanks and missiles for HAWK air defense systems for Kyiv.

* Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have condemned threats to use atomic weapons in Ukraine, with Scholz warning that Russia risks “crossing a line” in the international community by using nuclear force.

* The foreign ministers of the economic powers of the Group of Seven (G7) said that any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would have serious consequences, renewing their call on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.

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