Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

(Reuters) - Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in "all operational areas".

FIGHTING

* Russia's defence ministry said its aircraft had shot down a Ukrainian MI-17 helicopter near the eastern town of Sloviansk and an SU-25 aircraft in the Kharkiv region.

* The Russian army also said its long-range air-based missiles had destroyed a depot in an industrial zone of Odesa, southern Ukraine, that stored Harpoon anti-ship missiles delivered to Ukraine by NATO countries.

* Russia is reinforcing its defensive positions across the areas it occupies in southern Ukraine, British defence ministry said.

* A Russian missile strike hit the northeast Ukrainian town of Chuhuiv in Kharkiv region, killing three people including a woman of 70, and wounding three more, the regional governor said on Saturday.

* Russian-backed separatists said Ukraine had hit the town of Alchevsk, east of Sloviansk, with six U.S.-made HIMARS rockets on Saturday. The self-styled Luhansk People's Republic said the strikes had killed two civilians.

* Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

ECONOMY/DIPLOMACY

* The Ukraine war shows that the West's dominance is coming to an end as China rises to superpower status in partnership with Russia at one of the most significant inflection points in centuries, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said.

* G20 finance chiefs pledged on Saturday to address global food insecurity and rising debt but remained divided over member Russia's invasion.

* Gazprom's gas transit to Europe via Ukraine was stable on Sunday.

QUOTES

* "Three people lost their lives, why? What for? Because Putin went mad?" said Raisa Shapoval, 83, sitting in the ruins of her home in Chuhuiv.

(Compiled by William Mallard and Gareth Jones)

© Reuters