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Latest on Ukraine: A weekly recap and look ahead at Russia's war (Dec. 12)

As the week begins, here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch this week

Leaders of the Group of Seven countries are to meet online Monday, and the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to be on the agenda.

European Union foreign ministers have been discussing further sanctions on Russia and arms deliveries for Ukraine Monday.

Ukrainian authorities have been stepping up raids on churches accused of links with Moscow, and many are watching to see if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy follows through on his threat of a ban on the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosts European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store for a working dinner Monday in Paris.

Also in France, on Tuesday, the country is set to co-host a conference with Ukraine in support of Ukrainians through the winter, with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Following Brittney Griner's release from Russian prison, fans, friends and family are celebrating the basketball player's return to the U.S. Meanwhile, some Republican politicians have been complaining about the prisoner swap and other U.S. citizens still held by Russia.

Russian-speaking listeners will be tuning into a new station, Z-FM, billed as Russia's "front-line radio" for Russians fighting in Ukraine.

What happened last week

New measures targeting Russian oil revenue took effect Dec. 5. They include a price cap and a European Union embargo on most Russian oil imports and a Russian oil price cap.

Russia launched another barrage of strikes targeting Ukraine's energy grid Dec. 5, knocking out electricity and water for many residents. Five days later, Russian attacks left over a million people without power in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa.

Ukraine struck two military bases inside Russia. The New York Times reported that drones launched from Ukrainian territory to attack Russia demonstrated Ukraine's willingness to take the fight deep into Russia and capabilities to attack at a distance.

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was freed Dec. 8 after nearly 10 months in Russian detention and following months of negotiations. Her release came in exchange for the U.S. handing over convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Griner is back in the U.S. and reunited with her wife. Bout is back in Russia and is reported to have joined an ultranationalist party.

Ukraine hit targets in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, including a church reported to be used as a Russian military base. Officials said Ukrainian forces used long-range artillery to reach targets in the city in southeastern Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region.

Russian forces turned the city of Bakhmut into burned ruins, Zelenskyy said. Fighting has been fierce there as Russia attempts to advance in the city in the eastern Donbas region.

Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner Yan Rachinsky denounced President Vladimir Putin and the war with Ukraine in an acceptance speech on Dec. 10.

President Zelenskyy had a phone call with President Biden on Dec. 11, as well as the leaders of France and Turkey, in an apparent stepping up of diplomacy over the 9 1/2-month-long Russian invasion.

In-depth

Ukraine still fears another Chernobyl-size disaster at Europe's largest nuclear plant.

Life in a Ukrainian town: rampaging Russians, power cuts, a visit by Banksy.

There have been 50,000 alleged war crimes in Ukraine. NPR's investigations team worked to solve one.

Turkey plays a tough balancing act as it strengthens ties with Russia.

In acceptance speech, Russian Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate condemns Ukraine war.

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been freed from a Russian prison.

Ukraine is calling for a boycott of "The Nutcracker." Ballet companies aren't budging.

Zelenskyy and the spirit of Ukraine are Time magazine's 2022 Person of the Year.

Why sanctions against Russia aren't working — yet.

In an ongoing race, Ukraine tries to repair faster than Russia bombs.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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