The US is warning that Russia wants to swallow up large areas of eastern Ukraine altogether. Moscow previously indicated it wanted Donetsk and Luhansk to become what it called independent republics.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian fighters say Russian forces have launched a fresh assault on the Azovstal steelworks in the blockaded city of Mariupol. Earlier, a brief interlude allowed some residents to be evacuated. But the ceasefire broke down. Around 200 civilians are trapped underground in the steel plant. Many thousands more are unable to leave the city.
Germany's conservative opposition leader traveled to Ukraine on Tuesday to meet President Volodymr Zelenskyy and other senior politicians.
Friedrich Merz also went to Irpin outside the capital Kyiv to get a picture of the destruction caused by the Russian army. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under growing criticism for refusing to visit Ukraine - days ahead of elections in two German regional states.
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