(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” into neighboring Ukraine began on Feb. 24, with Russian forces invading from Belarus, to the north, and Russia, to the east. Ukrainian troops have offered “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.
The Russian military has since launched a full-scale ground offensive in eastern Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, capturing the strategic port city of Mariupol and securing a coastal corridor to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Sep 15, 5:45 PM EDTMass grave found in Izyum, Zelenskyy says
A “mass burial” site was discovered in Izyum, a city in the Kharkiv region, after it was liberated from Russian control, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during his nightly address Thursday.
“Necessary procedural actions have already started there. There will be more clear verified information tomorrow,” he said.
“We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to. Bucha, Mariupol and now, unfortunately, Izyum,” he continued.
A senior Kharkiv police official told ABC News that a mass grave with more than 400 bodies was found on the outskirts of Izyum.
-ABC News’ Jason Volack and Dragana Jovanovic
Sep 15, 12:01 PM EDTEvacuations underway in Ukraine after dam was targeted by Russian missiles
Evacuations are underway in two districts in the Ukrainian town of Kryvyi Rih after Russia struck a nearby dam with eight cruise missiles.
The strikes badly damaged the dam and a nearby pumping station, releasing huge amounts of water into the Inhulets River and causing it to swell and break its banks. Streets and homes were flooded and two bridges were swept away.
Kryvyi Rih is the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. About 650,000 people live there.
“Your missile attacks today, Russian missiles targeting Kryvyi Rih, the dam of the Karachunivske Reservoir, the objects that have no military value at all, in fact hitting hundreds of thousands of ordinary civilians, is another reason why Russia will lose. And not just this war, but history itself,” Zelenskyy said in his evening address Wednesday.
-ABC News’ Tomek Rolski
Sep 15, 10:37 AM EDTZelenskyy says Ukrainian troops advanced 110 kilometers in 5 days
Ukrainian forces advanced 110 kilometers (roughly 68 miles) in five days of fighting, taking control of 19 kilometers (roughly 12 miles) in the first day of fighting alone, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening address on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s forces regained control of almost 400 settlements and freed 150,000 Ukrainians, according to Zelenskyy.
“Ukrainians once again managed to do what many considered impossible,” Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy also told viewers to expect diplomatic news Thursday.
-ABC News’ Jason Volack
Sep 15, 10:05 AM EDTZelenskyy unharmed after convoy has accident in Kyiv
A spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he is unharmed after his convoy was involved in an accident in Kyiv Wednesday.
The driver was given first aid by Zelenskyy’s doctors and handed over to an ambulance crew, according to the president’s spokesperson.
-ABC News’ Jason Volack
Sep 14, 2:52 PM EDTUN secretary-general says ‘we are still far away from peace’ after talk with Putin
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters he has a feeling “we are still far away from peace,” he said at a press conference Wednesday after speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone.
The two discussed the initiative to export grain from Ukraine, the export of Russian food, the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and other things relevant to the current situation, according to Guterres.
According to the Kremlin, both sides emphasized the importance of ensuring, as a matter of priority, the need for food in African, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries.
Both sides agreed to further work on the Russia-U.N. line at various levels, according to the Kremlin.
Sep 14, 12:56 PM EDTPhotos show Zelenskyy visiting freed Ukrainian territories
Photos show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a visit to newly freed Ukrainian territories in the east.
Hand on heart, Zelenskyy watched Ukraine’s flag rise above the recaptured city of Izium. Zelensky looked on and sang the national anthem.
“The view is very shocking, but it is not shocking for me,” Zelenskyy told journalists while standing on a pile of rubble. “We began to see the same pictures from Bucha, from the first de-occupied territories, the same destroyed buildings, killed people.”
The Ukrainian Armed forces said Tuesday that it liberated more than 300 settlements, freeing around 150,000 people in recent days.
Sep 13, 4:00 PM EDTUkrainian engineers making progress repairing Zaporizhzhya, IAEA says
Ukrainian engineers have made further progress in repairing vital power infrastructure in the vicinity of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it was informed Tuesday.
The engineers are providing the plant with renewed access to a third back-up power line. This means all three back-up power lines to the power plant have been restored, according to the IAEA.
But, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano still warned that safety at the plant remains precarious as it is under the control of Russian forces, but operated by a Ukrainian staff.
While there has been no shelling at or near Zaporizhzhya in recent days, it was still occurring in the wider area, Mariano said.
Zaporizhzhya’s four main external power lines are all down and it is not currently providing electricity to households, factories and others.
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Sep 13, 2:21 PM EDT300 settlements liberated in Kharkiv Oblast, deputy Ukrainian defense minister says
The Ukrainian Armed Forces said Tuesday that it liberated more than 300 settlements in Kharkiv Oblast.
Ukrainian soldiers have de-occupied 3,800 square kilometers since Sept. 6, according to Deputy Ukrainian Defense Minister Hanna Malyar.
According to Malyar, the Russian forces deprived local residents of any communication. They allegedly told residents Ukraine no longer exists, that the country already had a different president, and that Ukraine will not come for them.
Roughly 150,000 people have been freed from Russian control in recent days, according to Malyar.
About 1.1 to 1.2 million people are still living in areas occupied by Russian forces. Of those people, 300,000 are in Donetsk, 500,000 are in Kherson, and 350,000 are in Zaporizhzhia oblast, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Sep 12, 5:37 PM EDTMore than 20 towns and villages freed in 24 hours, Ukrainian military says
Russian troops have been surrendering en masse — even escaping the Luhansk region in stolen cars and bicycles, with some replacing their uniforms with stolen civilian clothes, according to a spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence.
“They understand the hopelessness of their situation,” the spokesperson said.
More than 20 towns and villages have been freed in 24 hours as the Russian military and its local collaborators flee, the spokesperson said.
Russian troops are allegedly making attempts to contact Ukrainian officers in an effort to independently negotiate the surrender of their units, as long as they get assurance of being treated according to the Geneva Conventions, according to the Ukrainian military spokesperson.
So many have surrendered that the country is running out of space to accommodate Russian prisoners of war, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said on Monday.
-ABC News’ Tomek Rolski
Sep 12, 12:22 PM EDTProtection zone ‘urgently needed’ to end shelling near nuclear power plant
The International Atomic Energy Agency has established a presence at the site of the nuclear power plant in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia due to continued shelling in the region, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement Monday.
The mission, intended to ensure nuclear safety and security and to allow inspectors to take vital safeguard activities, has made clear of the “urgent and imperative goal” to halt the bombing and establish a protection zone surrounding the power plant, which is the largest in Europe.
In addition to the protection zone, the IAEA has established a second safety pillar that states all safety and security systems should be fully functioning and operating “normally and unhindered.” During observations, the safety team observed military equipment and vehicles getting in the way of systems functioning optimally, Grossi said.
The third pillar of the safety plan states that operating staff must be able to perform their duties without undue pressure or duress — an issue that has been raised many times since the Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia began in March, according to the statement.
The IAEA is also mandating the maintenance of constant off-site power supply so that the power plant does not lose crucial functionalities, including the cooling of reactors and spent fuel, as well as uninterrupted supply chains and transportation to and from the site, which will be “especially crucial” should backup generators be needed again.
Effective radiation monitoring systems — both on and off site — and emergency preparedness, as well as continued reliable communication with the regulator and others, were also safety pillars outlined in the plan.
“Despite the ongoing challenges of the war, we have continued to implement safeguards in Ukraine,” Grossi said.
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