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Three foreign fighters sentenced to death as Russia lashes out

Smoke and dirt rise from shelling in the city of Severodonetsk on Tuesday. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

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With death sentences, criminal probes and aggressive rhetoric, Russia on Thursday lashed out at Western businesses, the Ukrainian government and three foreign fighters in separate moves that alarmed human rights advocates and underlined Moscow’s defiant stance 15 weeks into the war.

In Ukraine’s Russian-backed Donetsk region, two Britons and a Moroccan man who fought for the Ukrainian military were accused of acting as mercenaries and sentenced to death in what one British lawmaker deemed a “Soviet-era style show trial.” The case sets a foreboding precedent for other foreign soldiers captured by Russia, which has signaled that they would not be afforded the protections granted to prisoners of war by the Geneva Conventions.

Here’s what else to know

  • Zelensky said the fight for the strategic city of Severodonetsk has turned into “probably one of the most difficult throughout this war.” About 10,000 civilians remain stuck in the city and evacuations are “impossible” for most because of the intensity of Russian attacks, the city’s mayor said Thursday.
  • The foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey said they held “substantial” talks on opening a shipping corridor for wheat from Ukraine but did not announce any agreement, with tensions high over a looming global food crisis.
  • The U.S. military has devised a plan to train Ukrainian soldiers a platoon at a time on how to use sophisticated multiple-launch rocket artillery, the Pentagon’s top general said Wednesday, raising the likelihood that more of the weapons could be sent to Ukraine.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.
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Here's what to know:

Zelensky said the fight for the strategic city of Severodonetsk has turned into “probably one of the most difficult throughout this war.” About 10,000 civilians remain stuck in the city and evacuations are “impossible” for most because of the intensity of Russian attacks, the city’s mayor said Thursday.
The foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey said they held “substantial” talks on opening a shipping corridor for wheat from Ukraine but did not announce any agreement, with tensions high over a looming global food crisis.
The U.S. military has devised a plan to train Ukrainian soldiers a platoon at a time on how to use sophisticated multiple-launch rocket artillery, the Pentagon’s top general said Wednesday, raising the likelihood that more of the weapons could be sent to Ukraine.
The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

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War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia fired at least 85 missiles on at least six major cities in Ukraine on November 15, in one of the most widespread attacks of the war so far. The strikes came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking by video link, presented a 10-point peace plan to G-20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia. As in previous Russian missile attacks, critical civilian infrastructure appeared to be primary targets. Parts of several cities that were hit were left without electrical power on Tuesday afternoon.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

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