Deadly explosions rocked Odesa as President Volodymyr Zelensky was meeting Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Ukraine's navy says five people were killed. The BBC has been told no-one from either delegation was hurt. Mr Mitsotakis said the pair heard the sound of sirens and explosions. Russia said it targeted a maritime drone facility in a commercial port area of the city during an attack on Wednesday. Five people were reportedly killed, bringing the total number of dead in Odesa since the weekend to 17, including five children.

Nikki Haley ended her long-shot challenge to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Wednesday, ensuring the former president will be the party's candidate in a rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in November's election. Haley, the former South Carolina governor and Trump's ambassador to the United Nations, bowed out a day after Super Tuesday, opens new tab, when Trump beat her soundly in 14 of 15 Republican nominating contests. “The time has now come to suspend my campaign," Haley told supporters during a speech in Charleston. "I have no regrets." She said it was likely Trump - who repeatedly belittled her candidacy - would be the Republican nominee but did not endorse him. "It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him," she said. "And I hope he does that." Drawing on her foreign policy experience at the U.N., Haley said it was important to continue U.S. global leadership. Throughout her campaign, Haley said the United States must help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression, a position at odds with Trump - Reuters

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Russia has aggressively relaunched its spy war with the west, and Moscow’s publication of a phone call in which senior German air force officers discussed sending cruise missiles to Ukraine is only the latest chilling example. “The game of cat and mouse has returned,” said one western intelligence officer. “Russian activities . . . are as high or even higher than during the cold war,” said another. “Russian intelligence is a huge machine and is back doing what it always did,” said a third official. Almost every week, it seems, another covert operation comes to light, showing how far Russia’s intelligence agencies have penetrated Europe since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago - FT

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The war in Sudan is “triggering the world’s largest hunger crisis,” with more than 25 million people “trapped in a spiral” of food insecurity, the UN has warned. Nine in 10 people across the country face “emergency levels of hunger” and are “stuck” in areas “largely inaccessible” due to “relentless violence and interference by the warring parties,” the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said. The war, which has also created the world’s largest displacement crisis, according to the UN, has left 18 million people “acutely food insecure” in Sudan and millions more in neighboring South Sudan and Chad - CNN

Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, will not attend U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress on Thursday despite being invited by the White House. “Due to planned events in the schedule, including the visit of children from an orphanage to Kyiv, which was planned in advance, unfortunately, the first lady will not be able to participate in the event,” Zelenska’s office told POLITICO. However, the Washington Post reported late Tuesday that there were other reasons behind Zelenska turning down the invite. According to the Post’s sources, Zelenska was supposed to sit near U.S. first lady Jill Biden and Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in an Arctic prison in Russia last month. But the Post said that caused discomfort for Ukraine’s top leadership, as many Ukrainians do not see Navalnaya and other Russian opposition figures as allies in the fight against President Vladimir Putin. In the end, Navalnaya also declined the White House’s invite to the State of the Union, citing fatigue. Said one U.S. observer: “What a fiasco: first Zelenska bows out of attending the State of the Union address because Navalnaya was attending and then Navalnaya bows out of attending presumably because Zelenska was attending. What a missed opportunity!”

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This review is reprinted with the author’s permission from his World Briefing blog.

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