The United States announced new military aid for Ukraine on Friday and vowed to disrupt Russian ties with Iran, which a British envoy said involved Moscow seeking hundreds of ballistic missiles and offering unprecedented military support in return.


* Australia's foreign minister said the government would place targeted sanctions on Russia and Iran in response to what it called "egregious" human rights violations.

* Belarus told the United Nations on Friday that it would allow, without preconditions, the transit of grain from Ukraine through its territory for export from Lithuanian ports, a U.N. spokesman said.


* Russian forces have shelled the entire front line in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said on Friday, part of what appears to be the Kremlin's scaled-back ambition to secure only the bulk of territory it has claimed.

* The fiercest fighting was near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, and Russian troops were also trying to advance near Lyman, which was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November, the region's governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Friday.

* The Ukrainian general staff said its forces had attacked Russian positions and troop assembly points in at least half a dozen towns in the south of Ukraine.

* Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday repeated his accusation that the West was "exploiting" Ukraine and using its people as "cannon fodder" in a conflict with Russia.


* A plane carrying Brittney Griner landed in the United States on Friday after the U.S. basketball star was released in a prisoner swap with Russia.

* The Kremlin said the exchange should not be seen as a step towards improving bilateral ties between Moscow and Washington, saying they remained "in a sorry state".

* The release of Griner in exchange for a convicted Russian arms dealer has resurfaced an old question: Do prisoner swaps do more harm than good?


* Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said on Friday Russia had three possible options for how to response to the West's price cap on Russian oil, without going into details, the TASS news agency reported.

* Turkey emerged as a critical stumbling block to a complex international plan to deprive Russia of wartime oil revenues as the number of tankers waiting to exit the Black Sea through Turkish straits continued to rise on Friday.

(Compiled by Andrew Heavens and Frances Kerry)