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Ukraine unveils $750 billion recovery plan as Russia sets sights on Donetsk

A photo published Saturday by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov shows Russian and Chechen flags outside the shell of a building in Lysychansk, Ukraine. (Ramzan Kadyrov/Telegram/AP)

Ukraine on Monday urged the international community to support a $750 billion plan to rebuild the country, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling his nation’s reconstruction “the greatest contribution to the maintenance of global peace.”

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The plan was unveiled at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, where European leaders met to discuss efforts to help Kyiv. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told conference participants that reconstruction should be funded with assets seized from Russian officials and oligarchs.

But even as Ukraine looked to its postwar future, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory Monday in the eastern region of Luhansk, where Moscow captured a key stronghold from Kyiv over the weekend. Russian forces were setting their sights on neighboring Donetsk, a regional official said Monday.

Here’s what else to know

  • Britain unveiled a major aid package — including an additional $525 million in World Bank loan guarantees — at the conference.
  • Pope Francis suggested in an interview Monday that he may visit Ukraine and Russia to advocate for an end to the war.
  • Russia shelled several cities in the Donetsk region. In Slovyansk, six people were killed and 20 wounded, officials said Sunday.
  • Turkish authorities have detained a Russian-flagged cargo ship loaded with stolen Ukrainian grain, Ukraine’s ambassador in Ankara said.
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Headshot of Bryan Pietsch
Russia claimed control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk this weekend. Here’s what that means for Moscow and Kyiv.For Ukraine, the loss is yet another setback in its efforts to defend the eastern Donbas area against the Russian invasion. (It had also pulled out of the neighboring city of Severodonetsk recently.) Despite an influx of modern weapons from Western nations, the twin losses threaten to drag down Ukrainian troops’ steady morale — until recently one of Kyiv’s most powerful, though intangible, weapons in its fight against Russia.Poor morale has also dogged Moscow’s forces throughout the invasion. But for Russia, nabbing Lysychansk — the last Ukrainian foothold in the Luhansk province, which along with the Donetsk region makes up Donbas — is another step toward its stated goal of capturing most of eastern Ukraine.There are still sputtering battles between Ukrainian and Russian forces in and around Lysychansk. But the victory allows Russian forces to turn their attention to cities like Siversk, Bakhmut and Slovyansk in Donetsk, according to military analysts. The development comes after Moscow has faced a series of embarrassing losses, including its failure to capture the capital in the early days of the war.