Russia-Ukraine live updates: Russia unleashes ‘massive’ attack with 81 missiles
(NEW YORK) — More than a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, the countries are fighting for control of areas in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian troops have liberated nearly 30,000 square miles of their territory from Russian forces since the invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022, but Putin appeared to be preparing for a long and bloody war.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Mar 09, 7:25 AM EST
Russia ‘brutalizing’ Ukrainian people, White House says
Russia’s overnight barrage of missiles aimed at civilian infrastructure may have knocked heat out to as much as 40% of Ukrainians, the White House said on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to “brutalize” the people of Ukraine, John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America on Thursday.
“It also appears, George, that they were definitely targeting civilian infrastructure,” Kirby said. “I would agree with the Ukrainians. He’s just trying to brutalize the Ukrainian people”
Russian forces early on Thursday launched 81 missiles from land and sea, Ukrainian officials said. Eight uncrewed drones were also launched in what officials described as a “massive” attack.
Eleven regions and cities were targeted in an attack that lasted at least seven hours, officials said.
Kirby said on Thursday that the White House expects to see more fighting on the ground in Ukraine for at least the “next four to six months.”
“We know that the Russians are attempting to conduct more offensive operations here when the weather gets better,” he said.
Mar 09, 3:59 AM EST
Zelenskyy decries Russia’s ‘miserable tactics’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday said Russian officials had returned “to their miserable tactics” as they launched at least 81 missiles at Ukrainian sites overnight.
“The occupiers can only terrorize civilians. That’s all they can do. But it won’t help them,” he said on Telegram. “They won’t avoid responsibility for everything they have done.”
He added, “We thank the guardians of our skies and everyone who helps to overcome the consequences of the occupiers’ sneaking attacks!”
Mar 09, 3:34 AM EST
81 missiles launched in ‘massive’ Russian attack, Ukraine says
Waves of missiles and a handful of drones were launched overnight by Russia, targeting energy infrastructure and cities across Ukraine, officials said.
The attack on “critical infrastructure” and civilian targets lasted throughout the night, Verkovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, said on Twitter. Energy was being gradually restored on Thursday morning, the body said.
Ukraine’s parliament and military said at least 81 missiles were fired from several bases. Eight Iranian-made drones were also launched, the military said.
Ukraine destroyed 34 cruise missiles and four drones, military officials said on Facebook.
“Russia’s threats only encourage partners to provide long-term assistance to Ukraine,” said Yehor Chernev, deputy chairman of the Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence.
Russia “will be sentenced as a terrorist state” for its attacks, Ruslan Stefanchuk, Rada’s chairperson, said on Twitter.
Mar 09, 12:35 AM EST
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant now running on diesel generators, energy minister says
The last line that fed the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been damaged following missile strikes, and the plant is now working on diesel generators, according to the Ukrainian energy minister, Herman Galushchenko.
Mar 09, 12:16 AM EST
Emergency power outages nationwide due to missile attacks, provider says
DTEK, the largest private grid operator in Ukraine, said emergency power outages are in effect due to the missile attacks in the Kyiv, Odesa, Mykolaiv and Dnipro regions.
Mar 09, 12:27 AM EST
Multiple missile strikes reported across Ukraine
Multiple explosions have been reported in city centers all over the country, including Dnipro, Odesa, Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi and Kharkiv.
Residents in multiple areas are being asked to shelter in place, and communication and electricity has been impacted.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said multiple explosions were reported in the Holosiiv district.
The governor of Kharkiv, Oleh Syniehubov, said Russia struck the city at least 15 times overnight.
The head of the Odesa Regional Military Administration said there had been no casualties and that the power supply is being restricted.
Mar 08, 2:05 PM EST
Ukraine says it was not involved in Nord Stream Pipeline bombings
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov denied Ukraine was involved in the bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline, which carries natural gas from Russia to Germany. While the pipeline was not active at the time of the bombing last September, it was filled with fuel.
The denial comes after The New York Times reported that intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials suggests a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the Nord Stream bombings last year.
After the story broke, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius warned against “jumping to conclusions” about who carried out the explosion, suggesting it could have been a “false flag” operation to blame Ukraine.
German authorities were reportedly able to identify the boat used for the sabotage operation, saying a group of five men and one woman using forged passports rented a yacht from a Poland-based company owned by Ukrainian citizens. The nationalities of the perpetrators are unclear, according to a separate report by Germany’s ARD broadcaster and Zeit newspaper.
“We have to make a clear distinction whether it was a Ukrainian group, whether it may have happened at Ukrainian orders, or a pro-Ukrainian group [acting] without knowledge of the government. But I am warning against jumping to conclusions,” Pistorius said on the sidelines of a summit in Stockholm.
A Russian diplomat said Russia has no faith in the U.S.‘s “impartiality” in the conclusions made from intelligence.
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman
Mar 07, 4:23 PM EST
Russia and Ukraine exchange prisoners of war
Russia and Ukraine exchanged over 200 prisoners of war on Tuesday, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Interfax, a Russian news agency.
During his daily evening address, Zelenskyy said 130 Ukrainians were “brought home from Russian captivity,” including privates and sergeants from the army, navy and national guard.
“Just as we remember every corner of our country that is under occupation, we remember every single person in Russian captivity,” he said.
Ninety Russians were released from the Ukrainian side back to Russia, though Russia said Ukraine originally agreed to release 160 Russians, Interfax reported.
“During the exchange of prisoners of war on Tuesday, the Ukrainian side agreed to return only 90 Russians, despite an earlier agreement on the exchange of ‘160 for 160,'” Tatyana Moskalkova, human rights ombudsman for the Russian Federation said, according to Interfax.
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman
Mar 07, 12:09 PM EST
Up to 30,000 Russian casualties in Bakhmut: Western officials
Up to 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured in Bakhmut over the last several months amid intense fighting in the eastern Ukrainian city, Western officials said in a briefing Tuesday.
The ratio of dead to injured was “unclear,” said the officials, who described Ukraine’s refusal to withdraw from the city — even though its forces are surrounded on three sides — as “a sound tactic” given that “lots of Russians are being killed.”
“What we’re seeing is a horrific level of Russian casualties for minimal gains,” they said, noting that an estimated 200,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded overall since the war began.
In the past 24 hours, 244 Russian troops were killed and 315 wounded in Bakhmut, Serhiy Chevrevaty, a spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern group of forces, said during a national telethon on Tuesday.
The officials refused to say how many Ukrainians have been killed or injured in and around Bakhmut but claimed it was “significantly lower.”
They also were unable to put a clear time frame on when a Ukrainian withdrawal might come, though noted the possibility of a Ukrainian counteroffensive should not be ruled out.
-ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge
Mar 05, 5:20 PM EST
13 found dead after strike hits Zhaporizhzhia
Thirteen people have been found dead since a rocket struck an apartment building in Zhaporizhzhia, Ukraine, authorities said.
The governor there has called for a national day of mourning on Monday.
The State Emergency Situation of Ukraine in Zaporizhzhia initially posted on their Telegram account Friday that seven people were dead.
So far, 11 people have been saved, and 20 people were able to evacuate the building.
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman
Mar 03, 2:21 PM EST
Merrick Garland makes unannounced visit to Ukraine
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Friday at the invitation of the Ukrainian prosecutor general to join Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other international partners at the United for Justice Conference.
Garland attended several meetings while he was there.
-ABC News’ Alexander Mallin
Mar 03, 2:09 PM EST
US announces $400 million more in military aid for Ukraine
The U.S. Department of Defense announced $400 million in new military aid for Ukraine, including eight folding armored bridges for the first time.
This is the Biden administration’s 33rd drawdown of equipment from Department of Defense inventories for Ukraine.
-ABC News’ Luis Martinez
Mar 03, 2:08 PM EST
5,000 remain in Bakhmut as Russian shelling intensifies
Around 5,000 people still remain in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, including 37 children, according to Donetsk Oblast Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
The losses in Bakhmut stand at the rate of one Ukrainian solider to seven Russian soldiers, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksii Danilo said on TV.
Russian forces fighting for control of Bakhmut intensified shelling at access roads to the west, making it harder for Ukrainian forces to move in and out, Reuters reported Friday.
-ABC News’ Yulia Drozd
Mar 03, 12:20 PM EST
Blinken, Ukrainian foreign minister discuss Lavrov meeting
The State Department said Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba about the brief conversation that took place at the G-20 summit between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“The Secretary underscored to Foreign Minister Kuleba the United States’ enduring support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s brutal attacks, including the ongoing targeting of civilian infrastructure and resulting civilian casualties,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Mar 02, 3:48 PM EST
US to announce more weapons for Ukraine on Friday
The U.S. will announce another assistance package for Ukraine on Friday, White House spokesperson John Kirby announced Thursday afternoon, but did not detail the exact size of this next round of support.
“You’ll see us tomorrow, just unilaterally, the U.S. will have another round of assistance for Ukraine coming tomorrow. And it will include mostly ammunitions and munitions that the Ukrainians will need for the systems that they already have, like the HIMARS and the artillery.”
The new aid comes as President Joe Biden meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House Friday to discuss ongoing support for Ukraine as Russia’s invasion continues.
Kirby said the leaders would discuss the “kinds of capabilities that Ukraine continues to need in the weeks and months ahead.”
He also said this will be a “true working visit” between Biden and Scholz and they are expected to discuss “recent engagements with Ukrainian officials, including the President’s trip to Kyiv and meeting with President Zelenskyy, as well as Chancellor Schultz’s meeting with President Zelensky in Paris last month.”
-ABC News’ Justin Gomez
Mar 02, 3:12 PM EST
Lavrov ‘diverted’ Blinken’s calls to reconsider Russia leaving START treaty
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “diverted” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s calls to reconsider the decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the New START treaty, Russia’s foreign ministry told Interfax, Russian news agency.
“If they want to return to diplomacy, let them return. If they are engaged in self-promotion and such inexpensive PR, well, this is possible. True, the result will be appropriate,” Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the ministry, told Russian TV channel Rossiya-1.
-ABC News’ Natalia Shumskaia
Mar 02, 12:36 PM EST
Blinken, Lavrov hold ‘on the go’ talk at G-20 meeting
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had an “on the go” talk during the G-20 Meeting of Foreign Ministers in India, but there were no negotiations, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS, a Russian news agency, Thursday.
“Blinken asked for a contact with Lavrov. Sergey Viktorovich [Lavrov] had communication on the go during the second session. But there were no negotiations, no meeting or so on,” the diplomat said.
Blinken had said earlier in the day during a press conference he had “spoke briefly” with Lavrov and discussed ending the war, as well as Russia rejoining the New START Treaty on nuclear arms.
“I told the foreign minister what I and so many others said last week at the United Nations and what so many G-20 foreign ministers said today: End this war of aggression, engage in meaningful diplomacy that could produce a just and durable peace,” he said. “The United States stands ready to support Ukraine through diplomacy to end the war on this basis.”
A senior State Department official downplayed any hopes that the conversation moved the needle on any of the topics.
-ABC News’ Tanya Stukalova and Shannon Crawford
Mar 01, 5:12 PM EST
Ukraine says it’s shot down 80% of Russian missiles
Ukraine has shot down 80% of Russian missiles, according to Commander of the Joint Forces of the Ukrainian Air Force Serhiy Nayev.
Nayev made the assessment in a Facebook post on Wednesday about the effectiveness of the air defense system.
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman
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