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Russia-Ukraine live updates: Putin clears way to fast-citizenship for Ukrainians

Sergey Bobok/AFP via Getty Images

(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:

Jul 13, 8:27 AM EDT
Shelling continues throughout Donbas region

Shelling from both Russian and Ukrainian forces caused damage to the landscape and destroyed structures throughout the Donbas region on Tuesday and Wednesday, local officials said.

Russian strikes reportedly targeted the eastern town of Bakhmut, killing one person and wounding 5 others, the local governor said. Explosions were heard in several nearby towns too, with one missile falling near a kindergarten.

Shelling also continued in Izyum, Mykolayiv and Kharkiv on Tuesday. Russian troops reportedly conducted unsuccessful attacks north of Slovyansk and the town of Siversk on Tuesday, despite repeated rhetoric of an “operational pause” that Russia allegedly maintains, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest report.

Russian forces continue to bomb critical areas in preparation for future ground offensive, with air and artillery strikes reported along the majority of the frontline, the experts added.

Ukrainian forces on Tuesday responded to the Russian attacks and claimed to have destroyed six Russian military facilities on occupied Ukrainian territories. Ukrainian officials claimed to have destroyed several ammunition depots, as well as a larger military unit.

Russian media reported on Tuesday that Ukrainian troops launched a “massive attack” on an air defense unit in the Luhansk region.

Ukrainian military officials also claimed to have killed at least 30 Russian troops on Tuesday, along with destroying a howitzer and a multiple rocket launcher, among other weaponry.

But the U.K. Defense Ministry in its latest intelligence update said it still expects Russian forces to “focus on taking several small towns during the coming weeks” in the Donbas region.

These towns are on the approaches to the larger cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk that likely remain the principal objectives for this phase of the Russian military operation, the ministry said.

-ABC News’ Edward Szekeres, Max Uzol, Yulia Drozd and Yuriy Zaliznyak

Jul 12, 10:27 PM EDT
US transfers $1.7 billion in economic assistance to Ukrainian government

The United States transferred $1.7 billion to Ukraine’s government Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced.

It’s the second tranche of money the Treasury transferred to Ukraine’s government as part of $7.5 billion approved for this purpose in the $40 billion Ukraine aid package Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed into law in May.

It’ll go, in part, to helping Ukraine’s government provide “essential health care services” and health care workers’ salaries, the Treasury Department said.

The U.S. transferred the first tranche, $1.3 billion, to Ukraine’s government two weeks ago.

-ABC News Benjamin Gittleson

Jul 12, 1:59 am
Ukraine destroys Russian ammo depot in occupied Kherson region

Ukrainian forces hit and likely destroyed a Russian ammunition depot in the Russian-occupied town of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region on Monday night, local officials said.

The strike resulted in a massive blast, videos of which soon circulated online. According to local reports, more than 40 trucks filled with gasoline were destroyed. Russian media didn’t verify the claims, saying instead that pro-Russian forces had destroyed a series of saltpeter warehouses.

“People’s windows are blown out, but they are still happy … because this means that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are close,” Sergey Khlan, from the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said in the aftermath of the attack.

Monday’s strike marked at least the fourth time Ukrainian forces destroyed ammunition depots in Nova Kakhovka, local media reported.

-ABC News’ Edward Szekeres, Tatiana Rymarenko, Max Uzol and Yulia Drozd

Jul 11, 10:18 pm
33 killed in missile strike on apartment complex

Thirty-three people are confirmed dead from a missile strike on an apartment complex in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

The complex was reduced to rubble from multiple rocket strikes on Sunday.

Emergency workers said others might still be alive and trapped under the debris.

Jul 11, 10:40 am
Putin clears way to fast-citizenship for Ukrainians

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday that simplifies the procedure for any Ukrainian seeking Russian citizenship, allowing them to fast-track their applications, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

The fast-tracked citizenship applications previously only applied to residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Jul 11, 10:22 am
6 dead, dozens hurt in Kharkiv shelling

Six people are dead and another 31 are injured from shelling in Kharkiv, according to the Kharkiv Prosecutor’s Office.

Two children, ages 4 and 16, are among the injured.

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