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


* The Kremlin said it was still set on securing at least the bulk of the territories in east and south Ukraine that Moscow has declared part of Russia, but appeared to give up on seizing other territory.

* Russian soldiers were preparing for fighting in winter conditions by taking part in tactical training exercises in Moscow's close ally Belarus, the Russian defence ministry said.


* U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner has been released in a prisoner swap with Russia and is on her way back to the United States, President Joe Biden said, ending what he called months of "hell" for her and her wife.

* Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who is serving 16 years in Russia on charges of espionage which he denies, told CNN he was disappointed that more had not been done to secure his freedom following Griner's release.

* The White House said the prisoner swap will not change the U.S. commitment to Ukraine.


* Ukraine's central bank kept its main interest rate unchanged at 25%, and said Russian missile strikes on energy facilities were set to have an impact on GDP this year and complicate a quick rebound by the economy.


* The United States plans to impose new sanctions against Russia and China on Friday that include punishing Moscow for its use of Iranian drones in its war against Ukraine, two U.S. officials said.

* The U.S. House of Representatives passed a defence bill that provides Ukraine at least $800 million in additional security assistance next year.

* The United States is preparing to send Ukraine a $275 million military aid package offering new capabilities to defeat drones and strengthen air defenses, according to a document seen by Reuters and people familiar with the package.

* Pope Francis broke down and cried as he mentioned the suffering of Ukrainians during a traditional prayer in central Rome. (Compiled by Cynthia Osterman, Robert Birsel)