Facts about Russia-Ukraine conflict: Russian, U.S. defense chiefs discuss Ukraine situation over phone

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BEIJING, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The following are the latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine:

More than 6.4 million people have been reached with vital humanitarian assistance in Ukraine since the country's military conflict with Russia started on Feb. 24, said UN humanitarians on Friday.

This includes more than 5.7 million people who have been able to put food on their table. Cash assistance has been provided to over 655,000 people, allowing them to cover some of their most basic needs, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held a phone conversation on Friday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

During the call initiated by the American side, the defense chiefs discussed topical issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a brief statement.

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Ukraine is entering a new long-lasting phase of the military conflict with Russia, Ukrainian Defense Minister Olexiy Reznikov said on Friday.

Russia has more resources than Ukraine, but Ukraine is receiving heavy weapons from its partners, Reznikov said, adding that some 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers will soon be trained to work with modern military equipment.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he stands ready for direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zelensky's press service reported Friday.

"I am ready to talk with Putin. But only with him. Without his mediators of any kind," Zelensky said in a video interview with Italian RAI TV, published on the official presidential Telegram account.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held a phone conversation on Friday to discuss the situation in Ukraine with an emphasis on the humanitarian aspect.

Putin outlined in detail the logic and main objectives of Russia's special military operation and spoke about measures being taken by the Russian side to ensure the safety of civilians, the Kremlin said in a statement. Enditem

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