As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
Russia turned over the bodies of 210 Ukrainian soldiers killed in Mariupol, Ukraine's Defense Ministry said. Many of the troops died defending the last holdout in the southeastern city, the Azovstal steel plant. Russia seized control of Mariupol in May after a weeks-long siege culminated in fierce fighting against a Ukrainian regiment at the steel plant. Russia said more than 2,400 of the fighters surrendered. Ukraine's government said remains of fallen Azovstal defenders arrived in Kyiv following an exchange of war dead with Russia.
Ukraine's parliament speaker made a plea for European Union membership at the European Parliament. Ruslan Stefanchuk warned in a speech to lawmakers that any signal otherwise would only encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin. EU leaders are expected to take up Ukraine's application for EU candidate status later this month.
The Turkish and Russian foreign ministers held talks in Ankara, but failed to reach a breakthrough toward shipping millions of tons of grain and sead stuck in Ukraine's Black Sea ports. Ukraine is a big exporter of key foods like wheat that countries in Africa and the Middle East rely on, but Russia's invasion has blocked Ukraine's ports. Turkey said if Russia agreed to create a safe corridor, the West should consider Moscow's demand to lift sanctions. Ukraine was not part of the talks and raised objections to the proposal for the corridor, saying security guarantees are needed. Russia has also demanded that Ukraine remove mines from the Black Sea.
Ukraine continued to defend parts of the eastern Donbas region from Russia's assault, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. The areas hit hardest by fighting were the city of Sievierodonetsk, he said, as well as the towns of Popasna and Lysychansk. Russia's defense minister said his country controls 97% of the Luhansk province. But according to British defense intelligence and Zelenskyy, Ukrainian forces were holding on. The United Kingdom's Defense Ministry said Ukraine made successful counterattacks in the southwestern Kherson region, regaining a foothold on the eastern bank of the Inhulets River.
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