(NEW YORK) — More than 10 months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into neighboring Ukraine, the two countries are engaged in a struggle for control of areas throughout eastern and southern Ukraine.
Putin’s forces in November pulled out of key positions, retreating from Kherson as Ukrainian troops led a counteroffensive targeting the city. Russian drones have continued bombarding civilian targets throughout Ukraine, knocking out critical power infrastructure as winter sets in.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jan 11, 12:17 PM EST
Ukrainians deny reports the city of Soledar on verge of falling to Russia
Ukrainian officials on Wednesday denied reports that the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar is on the verge of being captured by Russian forces and claimed the battle for the city is ongoing.
The report contradicts British intelligence officials who on Tuesday said it appeared that Russian troops were close to capturing a salt mining town in an apparent attempt to cut off the enemy’s supply routes. The British officials said Russian forces, along with mercenaries from the Wagner private military company, were likely in control of the city of Soledar, which is about six miles north of Bakhmut in the Donbas region, where heavy fighting has been reported in recent days.
The head of the Wagner group also released a statement on Telegram Tuesday, saying his mercenaries were in control of Soledar.
But Ukrainian officials said Wednesday the city has not fallen into the hands of Russian forces and the Russian mercenary group.
“Russians say that it is under their control; it is not true,” said Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian eastern military command.
The Russian attack on Soledar is an apparent attempt to bypass Bakhmut from the north and disrupt Ukrainian supply routes, the British intelligence officials said. Part of the fighting is being waged near the entrances to the 124 miles of abandoned salt mine tunnels that run under the area.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the fighting in Soledar as “very difficult.”
Jan 10, 4:09 PM EST
Russia not ready to launch new offensive from Belarus: Ukrainian officials
Senior Ukrainian officials said Tuesday that they believe any prospect of Russia launching a new offensive toward Kyiv from Belarus is “not likely at this moment.”
The latest statement from Ukrainian officials contrasted with a series of interviews they gave last month in which they suggested Russia could mount an offensive early this year and even try to take Kyiv.
“Our assessment is that the Russians aren’t in a position to make an advance on Kyiv from Belarus. And if that were their intention, it wouldn’t happen for some time,” a senior Ukrainian official said Tuesday.
The Ukrainian officials added that the mere threat of an assault from Belarus means that Ukrainian forces are “fixed” along the Ukraine-Belarus border.
-ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge
Jan 10, 2:15 PM EST
Ukrainians set to begin Patriot air defense training in Oklahoma
As many as 100 Ukrainians troops will soon begin training on the Patriot air defense system at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, two U.S. officials told ABC News Tuesday.
Fort Sill is the main artillery school for the U.S. Army and where months-long training on Patriot systems already takes place.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the Ukrainians could begin training on the Patriot system as soon as next week.
“The training will prepare approximately 90 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers to operate, maintain and sustain the defensive system over a training course expected to last several months,” Ryder said.
Once deployed, the Patriot batteries will fortify Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and provide an additional way for the “Ukrainian people to defend themselves against Russia’s ongoing aerial assaults,” Ryder said.
Ryder would not give a precise time frame, but said that once the training is completed, the system will be sent to Ukraine to be put to use.
President Joe Biden announced last month that the United States will provide Ukraine with a Patriot missile defense system. The German government also agreed this month to supply Ukraine with a second Patriot missile battery.
-ABC News’ Matt Seyler
Jan 10, 1:30 PM EST
Russians on verge of overtaking eastern Ukrainian city
Russian troops were on the verge Tuesday of capturing a salt mining town in eastern Ukraine in an apparent attempt to cut off the enemy’s supply routes, according to British intelligence officials.
The Russian forces, along with mercenaries from the Wagner private military company, were likely in control of the city of Soledar, which is about six miles north of Bakhmut in the Donbas region, where heavy fighting has been reported in recent days, the British officials said.
The attack on Soledar is an apparent attempt to bypass Bakhmut from the north and disrupt Ukrainian supply routes, the British intelligence officials said. Part of the fighting is being waged near the entrances to the 124 miles of abandoned salt mine tunnels that run under the area.
Despite the increased pressure on Bakhmut, Russia is unlikely to be able to encircle the city in the near future because Ukrainian forces have created a stable line of defense and control supply routes in the area, the British officials said.
The Ukrainian Army said Russian troops carried out 86 artillery strikes on Soledar in a 24-hour period, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the fighting there as “very difficult.”
Jan 06, 7:27 AM EST
Orthodox Christmas ceasefire now on for 36 hours
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a Christmas “truce” for the next 36 hours with a temporary ceasefire set to end at midnight on Jan. 7.
Air raid sirens sounded across several southern and eastern regions of Ukraine a few hours before ceasefire started.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last night called the truce a “cover” to stop Ukraine from advancing in the east.
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas Day on Jan. 7 but the brief unilateral Russian ceasefire called by Putin is not expected to last beyond the announced period.
The temporary ceasefire could put Ukraine in a difficult position. If it seeks to stop Russia regrouping its forces during the ceasefire, it could be accused of violating a truce it never agreed to in the first place and be portrayed as aggressive. However, if Ukraine stops fighting for the 36 hour period, it will likely face a more dangerous position when the ceasefire ends.
Jan 05, 4:01 PM EST
Germany to send Ukraine Patriot missile defense system
Germany plans to provide Ukraine with a Patriot air defense battery, the White House confirmed Thursday.
The United States agreed last month to send the first Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine to protect the country against Russia’s ongoing missile and drone attacks targeting its critical infrastructure.
The development came as President Joe Biden spoke by phone Thursday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz about the ongoing war.
The White House also said it would send Bradley infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Germany agreed to send Marder infantry fighting vehicles, according to the White House.
“They (Germany) reiterated their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence,” the White House said in a statement. “They reaffirmed their unwavering solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of Russia’s aggression.”
-ABC News’ Matt Seyler and Ben Gittleson
Jan 05, 2:22 PM EST
Biden expresses skepticism of Putin Orthodox Chirstmas cease-fire proposal
President Joe Biden said Thursday that he is skeptical of Russian President Valdimir Putin’s proposal for a cease-fire during the Orthodox Christmas holiday, suggesting it was a ploy to find some breathing room in the war with Ukraine.
“I’m reluctant to respond to anything Putin says,” Biden said.
Biden made the comments in response to a reporter’s question following unrelated remarks at the White House about the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I found it interesting. He was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches,” said Biden, referring to Russian missile strikes on Ukraine on Dec. 25 and over the New Year’s Day holiday. “I think he’s trying to find some oxygen.”
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson
Jan 05, 10:57 AM EST
Putin calls for Orthodox Christmas truce
Russian President Valdimir Putin has called for a temporary cease-fire in the war with Ukraine to observe Orthodox Christmas, according to the Kremlin.
Putin proposed a cease-fire beginning at noon on Friday and ending at midnight Saturday, according to the Kremlin. Orthodox Christmas Day is on Saturday.
Putin instructed his minister of defense, Sergei Shoigu, to introduce the ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the warring countries in Ukraine during the holiday.
The Kremlin said the truce is being called for with “Christian love, true faith and crystal truthfulness.”
There was no immediate response from Ukraine on whether its forces would abide by the truce.
Jan 05, 4:31 AM EST
Moscow religious leader calls for Christmas truce
On the eve of the Orthodox Christmas, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia called for the establishment of a Christmas truce in the zone of military activities.
“I, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, appeal to all parties involved in the internecine conflict to cease fire and establish a Christmas truce from 12.00 on January 6 to 24.00 on January 7, so that Orthodox people can attend services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” the patriarch said in a statement, published on Thursday on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Jan 04, 5:29 PM EST
Biden confirms that US considering sending Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine
President Joe Biden told reporters Wednesday the U.S. is considering giving Ukrainian troops Bradley Fighting Vehicles, confirming earlier reports that such a deal was in the works.
A Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the U.S. Army’s main armored fighting vehicle for transporting troops into combat.
It is a light armored vehicle equipped with a 25mm gun that can push through enemy lines and can take on tanks.
Ukrainian officials have been asking for the vehicle to bolster their forces.
-ABC News’ Luis Martinez
Jan 04, 1:21 PM EST
Putin sends new hypersonic cruise missiles into combat service
A Russian frigate armed with new hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles has been sent to active duty.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement during a video meeting on Wednesday with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Igor Krokhmal, commander of the Admiral Gorshkov frigate.
“I’m sure that such a powerful weapon will let Russia defend against potential external threats and will contribute to protect national interests of our country,” Putin said.
Shoigu added: “The focus of this deployment will be to counteract threats facing Russia and to maintain regional peace and stability together with friendly countries.”
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Jan 04, 8:57 AM EST
Ukraine locates Russian outpost via data on soldiers’ cellphones
Russian soldiers using their mobile phones just after midnight on New Year’s provided Ukraine with the data to locate a Russian outpost in the city of Makiivka ahead of Ukraine’s deadly attack, according to Russia.
Six rockets were fired from U.S.-made HIMAR rocket launchers.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said 89 soldiers were killed in the attack but Ukrainian officials claim the death toll is much higher. Russian authorities have not yet compiled lists of the wounded and dead.
Jan 02, 3:36 PM EST
Zelenskyy says Russia is preparing ‘prolonged’ attack
During an evening address Monday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia is preparing a long-term attack by drones to exhaust Ukrainian air defense.
Just two days into the new year, he said the country’s defense forces shot down more than 80 Shahed drones, which are made by Iran.
“This number may increase in the near future. We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack,” Zelenskyy said.
“Its bet may be on exhaustion. To the exhaustion of our people, our air defense, our energy. But we must do — and we will do everything — so that this goal of the terrorists fails, like all the others.”
-ABC News’ William Gretsky
Dec 31, 8:14 AM EST
1 dead, 7 injured after Russia launches missile strike against Kyiv
At least one person has been killed and seven people have been injured after Russia launched a barrage of missiles on Kyiv on New Year’s Eve.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported destruction across several districts with a luxury hotel, a bridge and police stations among the locations impacted.
It’s currently unclear how many locations have been destroyed as a result of direct hits and how many were from falling debris from intercepted rockets.
New Year’s Eve is one of Ukraine’s biggest holidays.
Dec 30, 10:28 AM EST
Putin expects China’s Xi to make state visit in spring
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he’s expecting Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a state visit to Russia in the spring of 2023.
Putin said he’s looking to deepen military cooperation between the two nations.
Putin said the visit would “demonstrate to the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations.”
Dec 29, 5:08 PM EST
Zelenskyy praises Air Force for ‘repelling’ Russian missile barrage
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is praising his country’s air defense, saying it “successfully repelled” a barrage of Russian missiles fired at Kyiv and other targets early Thursday.
Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian Air Force shot down 54 missiles and 11 attack drones.
“Our warriors all over Ukraine distinguished themselves and I thank all our Air Commands: Center, South, East and West,” Zelenskyy said.
He specifically cited the efforts of the 96th Kyiv, 160th Odesa and the 208th Kherson anti-aircraft missile brigades, saying their “results are the best today.”
Zelenskyy said several Russian missiles evaded Ukraine’s air defense and hit several infrastructure targets.
“Our power engineers and repair crews are doing everything to make Ukrainians feel the consequences of the terrorists’ strike as little as possible,” Zelenskyy said.
As of Thursday evening, he said there were power outages in most regions of Ukraine, including the capital city Kyiv as well as the Lviv, Odesa, Kherson, Vinnytsia and Zakarpattia regions.
“But this is nothing compared to what could have happened, if it was not for our heroic anti-aircraft troops and air defense,” Zelenskyy said.
Dec 29, 11:40 AM EST
Ukrainian missile shot down in Belarus: Defense ministry
Belarus’ defense ministry said its air defenses had downed a Ukrainian S-300 missile in a field on Thursday morning during one of Russia’s largest missile attacks against Ukraine since the start of the war.
The military commissar of the Brest region, Oleg Konovalov, played down the incident in a video message posted on social media by the state-run BelTA news agency, saying local residents had “absolutely nothing to worry about.”
“Unfortunately, these things happen,” Konovalov said.
He compared the incident to one in November when an S-300 believed to have strayed after being fired by Ukrainian air defenses landed in NATO member country Poland, and initial fears of an escalation in the war were rapidly defused.
Konovalov said the Ukrainian missile was shot down by the air defense forces around 10 a.m. local time Thursday. Fragments of the downed missile were found near the village of Gorbakha in the Brest region.
-ABC News’ William Gretsky
Dec 29, 10:32 AM EST
Russia continues ‘escalating’ missile campaign, US Embassy says
Moscow has been “cruelly” targeting Ukrainian civilians by launching attacks against utilities during the winter, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Thursday.
The rebuke came as Russia fired missiles at cities throughout the country on Thursday. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army said 69 missiles were launched, fewer than the 100 missiles that officials had estimated earlier in the morning. Officials said 54 missiles were intercepted.
Two civilians were killed as a result of shelling in the Kharkiv area, according to the region’s governor.
“The Kremlin continues its escalating campaign of missile attacks, cruelly wielding cold & dark against” Ukrainians, U.S. Embassy officials said on Twitter. “Families are again hunkering down as critical infrastructure & other targets across the country are attacked.”
Air raid sirens started wailing before 6 a.m. local time across Ukraine, sending residents scrambling into underground shelters in several cities. Missiles landed in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Lviv and Zhtomyr.
Ukraine’s defense systems intercepted some missiles, including 16 that were shot down near Kyiv, the capital, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. Two homes in Kyiv were damaged by falling debris and three people were injured, he said.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said Russia had been “saving one of the most massive missile attacks since the beginning of the full-scale invasion for the last days of the year.”
“They dream that Ukrainians will celebrate the New Year in darkness and cold,” officials said. “But they cannot defeat the Ukrainian people.”
-ABC News’ Britt Clennett and Joe Simonetti
Dec 29, 2:29 AM EST
More than 100 Russian missiles fired at Ukraine
Russian forces early on Thursday launched a missile strike on Ukraine.
More than 100 rockets were fired in several waves, Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said on Twitter. Some rockets were reportedly fired from carriers in the sea, while others were reportedly fired by at least a dozen fighter aircraft.
Another presidential advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Twitter that more than 120 missiles had been launched “by the ‘evil Russian world’ to destroy critical infrastructure & kill civilians en masse.”
At least one loud explosion was heard in Kyiv, where air raid sirens were ringing for several hours on Thursday morning.
Dec 28, 1:58 PM EST
Kremlin rejects Ukraine’s Feburary ‘peace summit’
Russia has rejected a proposal from Ukraine to hold a “peace summit” in February, according to a Kremlin official.
“There is no ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine for now, that’s for starters,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wenderday. “Besides, there can be no ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine, which disregards today’s realities on Russian territory, the entry of new regions, four of them, into Russia.”
Peskov was apparently referring to recent Ukrainian drone attacks inside Russia, including one this week at the Engels Air Force Base in southern Russia that killed three Russian soldiers.
-ABC News’ William Gretsky
Dec 27, 1:13 PM EST
Putin bans sending Russian oil to countries imposing a price cap
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Tuesday that not only rejects a price cap on the country’s oil but bans sending crude and other petroleum products to any country that has endorsed the price cap.
The Group of Seven countries, including the United States, agreed on Dec. 3 to impose a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian oil in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Australia and the European Union also agreed to impose the price cap.
The decree Putin signed goes into effect on Feb. 1 and is valid until July 1, 2023.
The decree bans the supply of oil and oil products from Russia to those countries that place a price ceiling on contracts. The decree also forbids the supply of oil to other foreign buyers whose contracts use a price cap mechanism.
The decree includes a clause allowing Putin to overrule the ban in special cases to be determined by the Russian leader.
The price cap on Russian oil implemented by G-7 nations disallows the world’s second-largest oil exporter from selling crude at a price above $60 per barrel.
Since the outset of its war with Ukraine, Russia has sold its oil at discounted prices. As of Tuesday, Russian Urals crude was trading at $57 per barrel — an amount slightly less than the cap. But the price cap aims to ensure that Russian oil sales remain well below global oil prices, which stand at about $80 per barrel.
-ABC News’ William Gretsky
Dec 26, 7:40 AM EST
Ukraine strikes bomber base in Russia, killing three
A Ukrainian drone attack on the Engels Air Force Base in southern Russia killed three, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said.
A spokesman for Ukrainian Air Force confirmed the attack, saying, “If the Russians thought the war would not touch them they were wrong.”
Russian air defence reportedly shot down a Ukrainian drone flying at low altitude, but falling debris caused the casualties in the overnight attack.
The Engels base lies just over 300 miles northeast of Ukraine’s border with Russia. The facility has been repeatedly used by Russia to carry out missile strikes on targets in Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces had attacked another Russian air base on Dec. 5, killing three and damaging two strategic bombers.
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