(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 last month launched a full-scale ground offensive in eastern Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, attempting to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol and to secure a coastal corridor to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
May 06, 8:28 am
Video shows explosions, smoke at Mariupol steel plant
Video circulating online shows explosions and smoke coming from the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works plant in Mariupol.
The footage was released Thursday by the Azov Regiment, a far-right group now part of the Ukrainian military that was among the units defending Mariupol and is holed up inside the Azovstal plant with others. In a statement alongside the video posted on Telegram, the group said that Russian forces were keeping the plant “under heavy fire,” using “aircraft, artillery and infantry.”
ABC News was unable to verify the date that the video was taken.
In recent days, Ukraine and Russia have offered conflicting accounts of what’s taking place at the Azovstal plant. Ukrainian fighters claimed that Russian forces started storming the plant this week, which Russia has denied and instead claimed that its troops have “securely blocked” the sprawling industrial site.
Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters and civilians are said to be trapped inside the Azovstal plant, the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol as Russian forces declare full control over the strategic Ukrainian port city.
May 06, 7:51 am
Russia says war in Ukraine is ‘going to plan’
Russia’s so-called special military operation in neighboring Ukraine is going according to plan, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“The operation has been going to plan,” Peskov said during a press briefing in Moscow on Friday.
When asked about reports that Putin’s inner circle was not informed about the start of the operation, Peskov told reporters: “As you understand, naturally, information about the special military operation cannot be shared widely the day before it begins.”
“That is because, clearly, such classified information is always shared with a rather limited circle of persons. This is an absolutely normal practice,” he added. “The very essence of this operation does not imply that information about it will be shared widely.”
May 05, 10:49 pm
US shared intel with Ukraine that helped sink Russian flagship Moskva last month, officials say
The U.S. shared intelligence with Ukraine that helped it sink the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva, last month, according to two U.S. officials.
The Ukrainians, who have their own intelligence capabilities, had tracked the Moskva independently, though, and the U.S. did not provide “specific targeting information,” according to one of the officials.
“We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva. We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement Thursday. “We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case.”
The U.S. official also noted that: “We do provide a range of intelligence to help the Ukrainians understand the threat posed by Russian ships in the Black Sea and to help them prepare to defend against potential sea-based assaults. Many of the missiles fired at Ukraine have come from Russian ships in the Black Sea, and those ships could be used to support an assault on cities like Odesa.”
NBC News first reported this intel.
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson
May 05, 9:05 pm
US ambassador to UN calls out countries for remaining neutral
Presiding over her first open meeting of the United Nations Security Council since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield implored representatives still clinging to neutrality to speak out against Russian aggression.
“The truth is well known. Russia is the only perpetrator of this war. So it’s hard to understand why some council members continue to call on all parties to desist,” Thomas-Greenfield said, calling out countries like Brazil, India, and to some extent — China.
“Let’s call a spade a spade. Members should call on Russia explicitly to stop its aggression against Ukraine,” she said.
Speaking in her capacity as the United States’ permanent representative and not as the temporary president of the council, Thomas-Greenfield lamented that Russian envoys had repeatedly used the body to spread disinformation.
“Three months ago, Russian representatives told this council they had no intention to invade Ukraine. Now, Russia claims the attacks aren’t real or never happened,” she said. “Russia even claims that Ukraine is attacking itself, that they bombed their own buildings, attacked their own people and assaulted their own democracy. These lies defy all logic, all evidence and common sense.”
-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford
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