(NEW YORK) — More than six 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.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose forces began an offensive in August, has vowed to take back all Russian-occupied territory. But Putin in September announced a mobilization of reservists, which is expected to call up as many as 300,000 additional troops.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Oct 12, 1:52 PM EDTExternal power restored to Zaporizhzhya after shelling caused outage, IAEA says
Power has been restored to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant after it lost all of its external power for the second time in five days.
The plant’s operator said the outage was caused by shelling damage to a far-off sub-station.
The plant’s backup diesel generators had provided electricity for its nuclear safety and security functions, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“This repeated loss of #ZNPP’s off-site power is a deeply worrying development and it underlines the urgent need for a nuclear safety & security protection zone around the site,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a tweet.
Oct 12, 7:44 AM EDTZaporizhzhia nuclear plant loses external power for second time in five days
Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has lost external electricity for the second time in five days, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Wednesday.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he was informed of the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday morning. The Russian-occupied plant’s “back-up diesel generators are now providing electricity for its nuclear safety and security functions,” according to Grossi.
“This repeated loss of #ZNPP’s off-site power is a deeply worrying development and it underlines the urgent need for a nuclear safety & security protection zone around the site,” Grossi said in a post on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company Energoatom alleged that Russian forces have kidnapped Valery Martynyuk, the deputy head of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and are detaining him in an unknown location. In a statement to ABC News, Energoatom accused Russian troops of trying to get information about the personal affairs of Zaporizhzhia employees in order to force Ukrainian personnel to work at Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom as soon as possible.
Oct 12, 7:24 AM EDTRussia announces eight arrests in Crimea bridge blast
Russian authorities announced Wednesday that eight people have been arrested in connection with Saturday’s explosion on a key bridge linking Russia to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Five of those detained are Russian citizens, while the others are Ukrainian and Armenian, according to the Federal Security Service of Russia, the country’s principal security agency.
Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported that the explosives used on Saturday were hidden in rolls of camera film.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a commission to investigate the blast. Moscow had been using Kerch Bridge as a key supply route for bringing in troops and ammunition into southern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Security Service declined to comment on rumors of its involvement in the bridge’s explosion. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said the bridge had “gone down,” and images posted by official Ukrainian accounts on social media appeared to show the structure partially destroyed.
Putin responded to the bridge explosion by ordering missile attacks across Ukraine on Monday, striking civilian and critical infrastructure targets in major cities including Kyiv and Lviv. At least 19 people were killed and 105 others were injured, according to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service.
Oct 11, 4:37 PM EDT7 people killed, 7 injured due to Russian shelling of Zaporizhzhia
Seven people were killed and seven others were injured after Russian forces shelled the Zaporizhzhia region on Tuesday with M270 multiple launch rocket systems and artillery, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, confirmed to ABC News.
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Oct 11, 2:28 PM EDTNATO warns Russia against any infrastructure attacks
NATO leaders warned Russia that it would meet attacks on allies’ critical infrastructure with a “united and determined response.”
In a news conference Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that while the defense alliance had not seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear posture, it was vigilant and would proceed with a nuclear preparedness exercise of its own next week.
“Now is the right time to be firm and to be clear that NATO is there to protect and defend all allies. … It would send a very wrong signal if we suddenly now canceled a routine, long-time-planned exercise because of the war in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
In next week’s annual “Steadfast Noon” drill, NATO air forces will practice the use of U.S. nuclear bombs based in Europe with training flights, without live weapons.
Stoltenberg also pledged to boost the protection of critical infrastructure in response to the attack on the Nordstream gas pipelines, saying NATO had already doubled its presence in the Baltic and the North seas to over 30 ships supported by aircraft and undersea activities.
“We will further increase protection of critical infrastructure in light of the sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines,” he said.
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Oct 11, 1:25 PM EDTRussia kidnaps Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant deputy director
Russian forces have kidnapped Valery Martynyuk, the deputy head of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, and are detaining him in an unknown location, Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company Energoatom said Tuesday.
Russian forces are allegedly trying to get information about the personal affairs of Zaporizhzhia employees in order to force Ukrainian personnel to work at Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom as soon as possible, Energoatom alleged in a statement to ABC News.
This incident follows the detention of Zaporizhzhia’s then-chief Ihor Murashov on Oct. 1. The International Atomic Energy Agency announced his release on Oct. 3. Murashov later announced he would not return to the plant as its head.
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Oct 11, 11:37 AM EDTG-7 leaders condemn Russian attacks on civilians, saying they constitute ‘a war crime’
Group of 7 leaders met virtually on Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, after Russia launched airstrikes on civilians and civilian areas in response to an attack on the bridge linking annexed Crimea to Russia.
“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms and recall that indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilian populations constitute a war crime. We will hold President Putin and those responsible to account,” G-7 leaders said in a joint statement.
The G-7 leaders also accused Russia of “blatantly” violating the U.N. Charter. The leaders also vowed to continue financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support to Ukraine.
G-7 leaders also said they would help insure the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine “including exploring avenues to do so with funds from Russia,” according to the statement.
The leaders also condemned the deliberate attacks on Nordstream pipelines in the Baltic Sea and vowed to “act in solidarity and close coordination” to address the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global economy.
Oct 11, 10:49 AM EDTRussia open to Biden-Putin meeting at upcoming G-20 summit
Ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, next month, Russia indicated it may be open to a meeting between President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with news agency Interfax.
“We have repeatedly said that we never refuse meetings,” Lavrov said, according to Interfax. “If a proposal is made, it will be considered by us.”
The White House National Security Council pointed to a comment made by Biden on Thursday outside the White House.
When asked by a reporter if he would meet with Putin, Biden responded, “That remains to be seen.”
Oct 11, 8:27 AM EDTRussia in ‘desperate’ position, UK spy chief says
Russia is in a “desperate” position in its war in Ukraine and is running out of weapons and allies, according to the United Kingdom’s top cyber spy.
“We believe that Russia is running short of munitions, it’s certainly running short of friends,” Jeremy Fleming, director of the U.K. spy agency GCHQ, told BBC Radio in an interview Tuesday. “Russia and Russia’s commanders are worried about the state of their military machine.”
“The word I’ve used is ‘desperate,'” he added. “We can see that desperation at many levels inside Russian society and inside the Russian military machine.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a series of missile strikes across Ukraine in the last 48 hours in retaliation for an attack on the strategically important Kerch bridge into Crimea over the weekend, with Fleming arguing that this will have depleted Moscow’s dwindling arsenal.
“Russia, as we’ve seen in the dreadful attacks yesterday, still has a very capable military machine,” he told BBC Radio. “It can launch weapons, it has deep, deep stocks and expertise. And yet, it is very broadly stretched in Ukraine.”
Oct 11, 7:16 AM EDTDeath toll from Monday’s strikes rises to 19
At least 19 people have died since Russian missiles struck civilian and critical infrastructure targets across Ukraine on Monday, according to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service.
Another 105 people were injured in the attacks in over a dozen Ukrainian regions, including the capital Kyiv, where more than 30 fires broke out.
Oct 10, 9:04 AM EDTZelenskyy: Deadly civilian strikes show ‘true face’ of Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday said Russia’s missile assault on civilian targets across Ukraine showed Russia’s “true face.”
Eleven people have died and 64 are hurt across eight oblasts and the city of Kyiv, according to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service.
“The world once again saw the true face of a terrorist state that is killing our people,” Zelenksyy said on Twitter. “On the battlefield & in peaceful cities. A country that covers its true bloody essence & goal with talks about peace. It proves that the liberation of is the only basis of peace & security.”
Oct 10, 6:40 AM EDTMissile strikes are response for bridge attack, Putin says
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday’s attacks on civilian areas across Ukraine were a response to Saturday’s attack on the bridge connecting Russia and Crimea.
“To leave without an answer a crime of such a type is already simply impossible. This morning, at the proposal of Russia’s ministry of defense and general staff, a massive strike of high precision, long-range weapons has been delivered from air, land and sea, on Ukraine’s energy facilities, military command and communication,” Putin said.
He added, “In the case of continuing terrorist attack on our territory, the answers from Russia will be severe and by their scale correspond to the level of threat created for the Russian Federation. No one should have any doubts about that.”
-ABC News’ Joe Simonetti and Tanya Stukalova
Oct 10, 4:57 AM EDTUS Embassy in Kyiv: ‘Shelter in place’
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv emailed Americans in Ukraine, warning that they should shelter in place.
“The U.S. Embassy urges US citizens to shelter in place and depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options when it is safe to do so,” the email said.
Oct 10, 4:50 AM EDTMissiles strike civilian targets in cities across Ukraine
Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine on Monday morning, as a series of Russian missiles struck civilian targets in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv and other cities.
Russia launched 75 missiles toward Ukraine, Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said. Forty-one of those missiles were struck down by air defenses, Zaluzhnyi said.
At least eight people died and 24 were injured in Kyiv, officials said. At least five missiles struck the capital at about 8 a.m. local time.
Missiles hit the capital’s central Shevchenkiv District, with explosions near Parliament and other government buildings. Samsung’s Ukraine headquarters, which is next to Kyiv’s main train station, was damaged. Photos showed smashed glass windows and what appeared to be significant damage.
Power was out in much of Lviv, in western Ukraine, where several explosions were also reported. The mayor said “critical infrastructure” was damaged.
At least six explosions were heard in Kharkiv, where the regional governor urged residents to shelter in place.
-ABC News’ Joe Simonetti, Britt Clennett and Ian Pannell
Oct 10, 3:08 AM EDTZelenskyy: ‘Hold on and be strong’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday urged Ukrainians to “hold on and be strong” after explosions rocked Kyiv.
“The 229th day of full-scale war. On the 229th day, they are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth,” Zelenskyy said. “In general. Destroy our people who are sleeping at home in Zaporizhzhia. Kill people who go to work in Dnipro and Kyiv. The air alarm does not subside throughout Ukraine. There are missiles hitting. Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded. Please do not leave shelters. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Let’s hold on and be strong.”
-ABC News Joe Simonetti
Oct 08, 4:21 PM EDTPutin orders investigation into attack on Crimean bridge
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a commission to investigate an explosion that damaged a key bridge linking Crimea and Russia. Russia had been using the bridge as a key supply route for bringing in troops and ammunition into southern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Security Service declined to comment on rumors of its involvement in the bridge’s explosion.
Putin also signed a decree instructing tighter security for the bridge and the infrastructure supplying electricity and natural gas to the peninsula.
The blast coincided with the naming of Air Force General Sergei Surovikin as the commander of all Russian troops in Ukraine.
Oct 08, 12:10 PM EDTZaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant loses remaining external power source due to shelling: IAEA
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plane lost its last external power source due to renewed shelling, the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement Saturday.
The plant is now relying on emergency diesel generators for the electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions, according to Grossi.
The plant’s connection to the power line was cut at around 1 a.m. local time. Sixteen of the plant’s diesel generators started operating automatically, providing its six reactors with power. After the situation stabilized, 10 of the generators were switched off, according to Grossi.
“The resumption of shelling, hitting the plant’s sole source of external power, is tremendously irresponsible. The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant must be protected,” Director General Grossi said. “I will soon travel to the Russian Federation, and then return to Ukraine, to agree on a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant. This is an absolute and urgent imperative.”
Oct 08, 7:28 AM EDTThree killed in bridge blast, official says
Three people were killed on Saturday in the explosion that collapsed portions of the bridge linking Russia to Crimea, a Russian official said.
The Russian Investigative Committee also said it had identified the driver of the truck that was allegedly blown up on the bridge.
Russia’s response should be tough, said Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs.
“If the Ukrainian trace is confirmed in the state of emergency on the Crimean bridge, the consequences will be inevitable,” Slutsky wrote on his Telegram channel on Saturday.
He said he has no doubt that “Kyiv is behind the organization of this attack.” Ukrainian officials have not taken credit for the blast. Ukraine’s official government Twitter account tweeted the phrase “sick burn” after the explosion, but did not directly reference the blast.
“This is not just an emergency,” Slutsky wrote. “It could be an act of state terrorism.”
The railway infrastructure restoration has been started after the fire on the bridge was contained and extinguished, Crimean Railway said.
Oct 08, 6:38 AM EDTTruck blast caused bridge damage, Russia says
Russian officials said the explosion that damaged the key bridge linking Crimea and Russia came from a truck.
“Today at 6:07 a truck was blown up on the automobile part of the Crimean Bridge from the side of the Taman Peninsula,” Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee posted online. “It resulted in the ignition of seven fuel tanks of the train, along the direction of the Crimean Peninsula. There was a partial collapse of two automobile spans of the bridge. The arch over the navigable part of the bridge was not damaged.”
Russian investigators were at the scene, attempting to “establish the circumstances of the explosion,” the committee said.
Russian supply lines into Crimea were likely to be disrupted by the blast. Crimean authorities said they would instead get supplies from Russia’s newly annexed territories.
Oct 08, 4:45 AM EDTBridge ‘down’ between Russia and Crimea
The bridge between Russia and Crimea was partially destroyed on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said the Kerch Bridge had “gone down.”
“The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch Bridge — two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea — have gone now,” the ministry said on Twitter, referencing Russia’s Moskva vessel, which was destroyed in April. “What’s next in line, russkies?”
Videos and photos posted by official Ukrainian accounts on social media on Saturday appeared to show the aftermath of an explosion, with plumes of smoke rising above the water.
At least one section of the bridge appeared to have partially fallen into the Kerch Strait, the waterway between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
A railway bridge running alongside the vehicle bridge also appeared to be damaged.
Oct 07, 4:07 PM EDTRussian officials say its premature, there is no need to cancel New Year, Christmas festivities to put funds toward war
A source in the Kremlin said Saint Petersburg, Russia, authorities choosing to cancel Christmas and New Year citywide events to funnel the funds toward the war in Ukraine is premature, according to Russian News Agency Interfax.
“We consider it clearly premature and undeveloped,” the source said according to Interfax.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said its armed forces have all the necessary equipment for the war in Ukraine, saying there is no need to cancel events in Russian regions to save funds for military personnel, said Colonel-General Viktor Goremykin, Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.
Earlier on Friday, St. Petersburg officials announced they had decided to cancel the planned festivities and the funds would be used to equip the mobilized. A similar decision was made by the authorities of the Leningrad region.
Oct 07, 2:16 PM EDTShelling outside Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant damaged power line to reactor, IAEA says
Shelling outside the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, damaged the power line to one of the reactors, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said Friday.
The damage was caused to reactor six on Thursday, forcing the unit to temporarily rely on emergency diesel generators, according to Grossi.
Two of the experts who had been at the plant for over five weeks, were replaced Friday. There are now four IAEA experts at the Zaporizhzhya plant.
“Again and again, the plant’s courageous, skilled and experienced operators find solutions to overcome the severe problems that keep occurring because of the conflict. However, this is not a sustainable way to run a nuclear power plant. There is an urgent need to create a more stable environment for the plant and its staff,” Grossi said in a statement.
Oct 07, 1:44 PM EDTWhite House says no new intel sparked Biden comments on Putin’s nuclear threat
After President Joe Biden made comments suggesting Russia may use nuclear weapons, the White House says there is no new information to suggest an imminent threat.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden’s comments have been “very consistent” and he was reinforcing how seriously the U.S. takes Russia’s threats about using nuclear weapons.
“Russia’s nuclear rhetoric has been reckless and irresponsible. But if the Cuban missile crisis has taught us anything, it is the value of reducing nuclear risk and not brandishing that,” she said speaking to reporters Friday.
Jean-Pierre also called Putin’s comments irresponsible as a leader of a nuclear power.
“We won’t be intimidated by Putin’s rhetoric, we have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture, nor do we have indications they are prepared to use them but Putin can de-escalate this at any time, and there is no reason to escalate,” Jean-Pierre said.
Oct 07, 1:31 PM EDTSt. Petersburg cancels New Year, Christmas festivities to put funds toward war with Ukraine
Traditional Christmas and New Year celebrations in Saint Petersburg, Russia will be canceled and all previously allocated money for the festivities will be channeled to finance volunteers and mobilized troops involved in the war with Ukraine, according to TASS, a Russian news agency, which cited a statement from the municipal authorities.
All the available funds will be channeled into a special account to pay for gear for volunteers and mobilized citizens, according to TASS.
“During a session with Governor Alexander Beglov with members of the municipal administration it was decided to cancel previously scheduled events dedicated to New Year festivities,” the statement said, according to TASS.
Oct 07, 11:33 AM EDTTop Ukrainian adviser criticizes Noble Peace Prize decision
A top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has criticized the Nobel Peace Prize for its decision to award Russian and Belarusian human rights defenders alongside Ukraine’s, reflecting a widespread sentiment in Ukraine that it has been unwillingly lumped in with two countries engaged in attacking it.
“Nobel Committee has an interesting understanding of word ‘peace’ if representatives of two countries that attacked a third one receive @NobelPrize together. Neither Russian nor Belarusian organizations were able to organize resistance to the war. This year’s Nobel is ‘awesome’,”Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Zelenskyy, wrote on Twitter.
Oct 07, 9:55 AM EDTBiden says Putin ‘is not joking’ about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons
President Joe Biden made some of his most clear and striking assessments on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats of using a nuclear weapon.
For the “first time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have the direct threat of the use of a nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path that they are going. That’s a different deal,” he said at a fundraiser in New York City on Thursday.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily [use] a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”
Biden said Putin’s military is “underperforming” in Ukraine and he may feel threatened.
Biden said he knows Putin “fairly well” and has spent “a fair amount of time with him” and warned that Putin is serious.
“He is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons, or biological, or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming,” Biden said.
“There’s a lot at stake,” Biden said. “We are trying to figure out what is Putin’s off ramp? Where does he get off? Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself in a position that he does not – not only lose face but lose significant power within Russia?”
Oct 06, 2:27 PM EDTZaporizhzhia power plant perimeter has mines: IAEA
There are mines along the perimeter of Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said at a press conference in Kyiv Thursday after holding talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The facility is currently under the control of Russian forces.
“There have been indications that in the perimeter of the plant there are some mines, yes,” Grossi said, before denying that there are any mines inside the plant itself.
Grossi is headed to Russia next to push for a security zone to be set up around the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Grossi told reporters that the IAEA considers Zaporizhzhia a Ukrainian facility.
“I think the IAEA, as an international organization, has a mission, has a legal parameter to do it. And what I will be is very consistent as I have been from the very beginning. We are not changing our line. We are continuing saying what needs to be done, which is basically avoid a nuclear accident. At the plant, which is still a very, very clear possibility. Yes,” Grossi said.
Oct 06, 1:45 PM EDTUkrainian official confirms advance into Luhansk region
The village of Hrekivka in Ukraine’s Luhansk region has been liberated, its governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Friday, adding that fierce fighting continues for other settlements.
“I’ve seen some soldiers already posted a photo of them standing on the background of the sign ‘Hrekivka,’ so its not a secret anymore — it is already liberated. And we keep moving in that direction,” Haidai said.
“After liberating Lyman [in Donetsk at the end of last month], as expected, the main battles are on the direction of Kreminna. The occupiers are pulling their main forces there. This is where the beginning of de-occupation of Luhansk oblast lies,” Haidai said.
He added, “Luhansk region liberation will be tougher than Kharkiv region. All those Russian military who ran from Kharkiv region and Lyman ran to our direction, so the occupation forces increased in number.”
Oct 06, 4:38 AM EDTApartments in Zaporizhzhia struck in early morning
Russian forces struck a residential neighborhood in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia early on Thursday, officials said.
Oct 05, 2:20 PM EDTUkrainian officials say they found more evidence of tortures, killings in eastern Kharkiv
Ukrainian officials released images they claim show evidence of tortures and killings in eastern Kharkiv, in areas recently reclaimed from Russia.
Authorities are investigating an alleged Russian torture chamber in the village of Pisky-Radkivski, according to Serhiy Bolvinov, the head of the investigative department of the national police in the region.
Bolvinov posted an image of a box of what appeared to be precious metal teeth and dentures presumably extracted from those held at the site.
Two bodies were found in a factory in Kupiansk with their hands bound behind their backs, while two others were found in Novoplatonivka, their hands linked by handcuffs.
-ABC News’ Jason Volack
Oct 05, 6:47 AM EDTPutin formally annexes 15% of Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed laws finalizing the illegal annexation of four regions of neighboring Ukraine — more than 15% of the country’s territory — even as his military struggles to maintain control over the newly absorbed areas.
The documents completing the annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions — in defiance of international laws — were published on a Russian government website on Wednesday morning.
Earlier this week, the Russian parliament ratified treaties making the occupied areas part of Russia. The move followed what the Kremlin called referendums in the four Ukrainian regions, which the West rejected as a sham.
The annexed areas are not all under control of Russian forces, which are battling a massive counteoffensive effort by Ukrainian troops.
Oct 04, 1:29 PM EDTBiden, Harris speak to Zelenskyy, offer new $625 million security assistance package
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, underscoring that the U.S. will never recognize areas annexed by President Vladimir Putin as Russian territory and offering additional security assistance.
Biden announced a $625 million security assistance package that includes additional weapons and equipment, according to a statement from the White House.
Biden also promised to impose “severe costs” on any individual, entity or country that “provides support to Russia’s purported annexation.”
-ABC News’ Justin Gomez
Oct 04, 11:58 AM EDTMore than 355,000 people have fled Russia amid mobilization
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a national mobilization last month, more than 355,000 people have left the country, according to Russian independent media.
Roughly 200,000 people escaped to Kazakhstan, 80,000 left for Georgia and 65,000 departed for Finland. Some 6,000 people also fled to Mongolia and there are reports of people fleeing to Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that more than 200,000 people have been mobilized since Sept. 21.
-ABC News’ Tanya Stukalova
Oct 04, 9:29 AM EDTUkraine makes major breakthrough in south, advancing well behind Russian lines
Ukraine has made a major breakthrough in the country’s south that now threatens to collapse part of the Russian front line there, similar to Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the northeast last month.
Ukrainian forces have advanced over 18 miles in two days, driving deep behind Russia’s front line in the Kherson region and advancing south along the Dnipro river.
Russian journalists reported that Russian forces on Monday were forced to pull back from the village of Dudchany. Multiple Russian military bloggers, who are often embedded with Russian troops, say that Ukrainian troops now heavily outnumber Russian troops there.
The advance, if it continues, has huge implications for the war. Russia’s position is increasingly in danger of collapsing, which would make it all but impossible to defend the city of Kherson, the capital of the region annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin four days ago.
Oct 04, 5:55 AM EDTZelenskyy signs decree ruling out negotiations with Putin
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a presidential decree on Tuesday formally declaring the “impossibility” of holding negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The decree backs a decision put forward by Zelenskyy’s national security council and includes the point: “To declare the impossibility of conducting negotiations with the president of the Russian Federation, V. Putin.”
The decree echoed a statement made by Zelenskyy when Putin annexed Ukrainian territory last Friday, saying it showed it is impossible to negotiate with the current president.
Oct 03, 12:22 PM EDTUkraine advances in south, Russia says
Ukrainian forces on Sunday evening broke through part of Russia’s defense of the disputed Kherson region, advancing from the region’s northeast into a territory Russia had claimed to annex as its own on Friday.
Ukrainian troops succeeded in pushing south along the Dnipro river, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday partly confirmed the advance, saying Ukrainian forces “managed to drive a wedge deep into our defense.”
It said Russian troops had fallen back to “pre-prepared lines of defense” and were using heavy artillery to halt a further Ukrainian advance. It claimed, without evidence, that Ukraine had suffered heavy losses, but acknowledged that Ukraine had an advantage in tank numbers there.
Russian military bloggers said on Sunday that Ukrainian troops advanced southwards in the direction of the village of Dudchany, several miles behind the rest of Russia’s frontline in the region.
The advance raised questions about whether Russia would be able to hold the city of Kherson, the only regional capital it managed to seize in the invasion. For weeks, military experts have said Russia’s position in the Kherson region has been deteriorating because Ukraine has destroyed the only bridges allowing Russia to re-supply its troops.
Kirill Stremousov, a Russian-installed official in the region, on social media acknowledged Ukrainian troops had advanced along the Dnipro towards Dudchany but claimed they had been halted by Russian fire and that “everything is under control.”
A continued Ukrainian advance along the Dnipro would threaten to undermine the rest of the Russian front north of the river, raising the risk Russian forces there could be cut off.
The White House National Security Council’s spokesman John Kirby noted Ukraine was making gains in the south on Monday, but caveated that they were “incremental” for the time-being.
The battle for Kherson has major military and symbolic significance for both sides. A retreat from the city would seriously undermine Russia’s annexation of one of the four Ukrainian regions declared by Vladimir Putin just days ago — Kherson is supposed to be the capital of the newly annexed region of the same name.
Oct 03, 11:18 AM EDTKidnapped head of Zaporizhzhia plant has been released
The head of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia has been released, after Ukrainian officials accused Russia of kidnapping him, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Ihor Murashov, the head of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, was released and returned safely to his family, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the IAEA, tweeted.
Zaporizhzhia is a Ukrainian facility now occupied by Russian troops.
Oct 03, 7:26 AM EDTPutin’s nuclear threats ‘irresponsible rhetoric,’ official says
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats that his country could strike Ukraine with nuclear weapons were “irresponsible rhetoric” from a nuclear power, a Pentagon official said.
“They are continuing to be irresponsible rhetoric coming from a nuclear power,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on “Good Morning America” on Monday. “There’s no reason for him to use that kind of bluster, those kinds of threats.”
But the U.S. was still taking the threats seriously, he said. The U.S. was “ready and prepared” to defend every inch of NATO territory, he said.
“We have to take these threats seriously. We must. It’d be easier if we could just blow it off, but we can’t,” Kirby said. “These are serious threats made by a serious nuclear power.”
Oct 03, 5:55 AM EDTRussia ‘likely struggling’ to train reservists, UK says
Russian officials are “likely struggling” to find officers and provide training for many of the reservists who’ve been called up as part of President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said.
“Local officials are likely unclear on the exact scope and legal rationale of the campaign,” the ministry said in a Monday update. “They have almost certainly drafted some personnel who are outside the definitions claimed by Putin and the Ministry of Defence.”
Some of the reservists are assembling in tented transit camps, the ministry said.
Oct 02, 10:42 AM EDTFormer CIA chief Petraeus says Putin’s losses puts him in ‘irreversible’ situation
Former CIA chief David Petraeus said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put himself in an “irreversible” situation amid the Kremlin’s annexation of Russian-controlled Ukrainian regions.
“President Volodymyr co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
Petraeus said Putin “is losing” the war, despite “significant but desperate” recent moves. On Friday, Putin said he was annexing four regions of Ukraine — a move denounced by Ukraine, the U.S. and other Western countries as a violation of international law — and, in late September, the Russian leader said he was calling up some 300,000 reservists, triggering protests and a mass exodus from Russia.
In a rare acknowledgment Thursday, Putin admitted “mistakes” in how the country carried out the mobilization.
Oct 01, 9:07 AM EDTRussia shoots at civilian convoy, kills 22, Ukrainian official says
Russian forces are accused of shelling a convoy of seven civilian cars killing 22 people, including 10 children, according to preliminary data, Olexandr Filchakov, chief prosecutor of the Kharkiv region, told ABC News.
According to preliminary data, the cars were shot by the Russian military on Sept. 25, when civilians were trying to evacuate from Kupyansk, a settlement in the Kupyansk area, Filchakov said.
The column of shot cars was discovered on Friday. Two cars burned completely with children and parents inside, Filchakov said.
Filchakov said the bodies burned completely.
Russian forces fired at the column with a 12.5 mm caliber gun. Those who remained alive were then shot at with rifles, according to Filchakov.
-ABC News’ Somayeh Malekian
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