(NEW YORK) — More than 10 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.
Putin’s forces in November pulled out of key positions, retreating from Kherson as Ukrainian troops led a counteroffensive targeting the city. Russian drones have continued bombarding civilian targets throughout Ukraine, knocking out critical power infrastructure as winter sets in.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jan 16, 10:24 AM EST
Three children among 40 killed in Dnipro missile strike
The death toll climbed to 40 on Monday from a weekend missile strike on a high-rise apartment complex in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, according to Ukrainian officials.
At least three children were among those killed, officials said. Another 70 people were injured.
The death toll is expected to rise as 30 people remain unaccounted for, officials said.
On Saturday, a missile slammed into a block of high-rise apartment buildings in the central Dnipro. While Ukrainian officials blamed Russia for the strike, one of the deadliest attacks since the war began, the Kremlin denied Russia was involved.
“The Russian armed forces do not strike residential buildings or social infrastructure, they strike military targets,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday.
Jan 15, 3:40 PM EST
Survivor pulled from rubble in Dnipro as death toll rises
The death toll from a Russian missile strike on a block of high-rise apartment buildings in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 29 on Sunday.
Amidst the devastation, rescuers pulled one woman alive from the rubble on Sunday and officials said she was saved by a cocoon of concrete that surrounded her.
The survivor was rescued from a block of apartment buildings hit by a Russian missile on Saturday in the city about 500 miles southeast of the capital of Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a child was among those killed in the Dnipro missile attack.
Despite Sunday’s rescue, emergency workers said the hope of finding more survivors is fading.
The rocket attack reduced part of a high-rise apartment building to a pile of rubble that was still smoldering on Sunday. Noxious fumes from burning couches, curtains and TVs emanated from the pile as firefighters sprayed water hoses on it and rescue workers dug through the debris with their bare hands, an ABC News crew in Dnipro reported.
In addition to the now 29 killed in the attack, more than 70 people were injured, Ukrainian officials said. The strike left hundreds of apartments uninhabitable, officials said.
Emergency crews brought in cranes Sunday to help move large pieces of debris.
As the rescue operation went on Sunday, periodic moments of silence were called for so rescuers could listen for cries for help from people feared missing in the rubble.
-ABC News’ Matt Gutman
Jan 14, 11:07 AM EST
5 killed, dozens hurt in attack in Dnipro
Five people were killed and at least 27 were wounded in a Russian attack in Dnipro in central Ukraine, according to the governor.
An apartment block was struck and at least two children are among the injured, according to the deputy head of the president’s office.
-ABC News’ Yulia Drozd
Jan 14, 9:27 AM EST
Kyiv under Russian missile attack Saturday morning
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said explosions occurred in different districts on both banks in the city on Saturday morning and, in one of the districts, fire broke out in a non-residential area.
There were no casualties as a result of the attack that happened at approximately 6 a.m. but 18 residential houses were damaged in the region, according to the governor Oleksiy Kuleba.
The spokesman for the Ukrainian Airborne Forces, Yuri Ignat, told ABC News that Ukrainian authorities think it could have possibly been a ballistic attack by Russia but could not confirm this.
“Most likely, these are missiles that flew along a ballistic trajectory from the north. Ballistics are not available for us to detect and shoot down,” Ignat said on Ukrainian television.
-ABC News’ Yulia Drozd
Jan 13, 4:02 PM EST
Russian forces claim to have taken Soledar
Russian military leaders claim their forces took over the salt-mining town of Soledar.
Video showed Russian soldiers evacuating civilians from Soledar and nearby villages to the city of Shakhtarsk as fighting took place on the outskirts on Friday.
Serhiy Cherevaty, the Ukrainian commander of the Eastern Group of Forces, however, confirmed that fighting was going on in the region but contested Russia’s claims about the status of the city in a statement to ABC News.
“We have a clear understanding of who controls which streets in the city, but I cannot reveal those details,” he told ABC News.
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman and Patrick Reevell
Jan 12, 1:51 PM EST
Pressure mounts on NATO countries to send tanks to Ukraine
Pressure is mounting for key NATO allies to send tanks to Ukraine.
After meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country plans to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine but only as part of an “international coalition.”
“They will be provided within the coalition, because you know that it is necessary to obtain certain official consents. But first we need to build an international coalition and we have decided to form this international coalition,” Duda said.
Duda “expressed hope” other NATO countries would provide Ukraine with tanks as well.
The United Kingdom has not made a final decision on whether to send tanks to Ukraine, according to the spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The United Kingdom is considering supplying Ukraine with the British Army’s Challenger 2 main battle tank, according to British media reports.
Germany is also facing pressure from Ukraine and other NATO allies to send tanks to Ukraine. So far, they have not committed to sending any tanks to the country and neither has the United States.
Germany and the United States have both agreed to supply Ukraine with armored carriers and the Patriot air defense system.
Jan 12, 12:52 PM EST
Russians, Ukrainians give conflicting views in the battle for Soledar
Russian and Ukrainian officials offered conflicting views Thursday on the battle being waged over the eastern Ukraine city of Soledar.
Both sides described their forces as making progress in the fight for the salt mining town in the Donbas region.
“Our defenders continue to hold their positions on the most difficult frontlines and in the battle for (the) Donbas,” said Hanna Maliar, the Ukrainian deputy of defense. “Today, fierce and heavy battles continue in the direction of Bakhmut, in the area of Soledar city.”
Despite the “difficult situation,” Ukrainian soldiers are desperately battling for control of Soledar, Maliar said.
“The enemy is suffering heavy losses, unsuccessfully trying to break through our defenses and capture Soledar,” Maliar said. “Today, the city’s approaches are literally littered with the bodies of Putin’s destroyed troops. Nevertheless, they move over the bodies of their fallen fighters. Our defenders show maximum resilience and heroism.”
But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Russian forces and mercenaries from the Wagner private military company are doing a “truly colossal job” in Soledar.
“These are absolutely selfless, heroic deeds,” Peskov told journalists on Thursday.
Peskov said the hostilities in the region will continue.
“There is still a lot of work to be done. No time to stop, no time to rub our hands and so on. The main work is yet to come,” Peskov said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that Russia’s airborne units had blocked Soledar from the north and the south and assault teams were fighting within the town limits.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address on Wednesday that Ukrainian troops are holding onto Soledar.
“The terrorist state and its propagandists are trying to pretend” to have achieved some successes in Soledar, Zelenskyy said. “But the fighting continues.”
Jan 11, 4:51 PM EST
Russian shake-up as military chief in Ukraine replaced
Russia has replaced the military chief in charge in Ukraine, according to the Kremlin.
Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, will replace Sergei Surovikin, who has been commander of Russia’s forces in Ukraine for the past three months. Surovikin will become one of Gerasimov’s deputies, according to Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s minister of defense, who made the new appointments.
The changes come as the progress of the Russian forces in Ukraine continues to stall.
“The increase in the level of leadership of the special operation is linked to the expansion of the scale of the tasks at hand and the need to organize closer interaction between troops,” Shoigu said.
Jan 11, 12:17 PM EST
Ukrainians deny reports the city of Soledar on verge of falling to Russia
Ukrainian officials on Wednesday denied reports that the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar is on the verge of being captured by Russian forces and claimed the battle for the city is ongoing.
The report contradicts British intelligence officials who on Tuesday said it appeared that Russian troops were close to capturing a salt mining town in an apparent attempt to cut off the enemy’s supply routes. The British officials said Russian forces, along with mercenaries from the Wagner private military company, were likely in control of the city of Soledar, which is about six miles north of Bakhmut in the Donbas region, where heavy fighting has been reported in recent days.
The head of the Wagner group also released a statement on Telegram Tuesday, saying his mercenaries were in control of Soledar.
But Ukrainian officials said Wednesday the city has not fallen into the hands of Russian forces and the Russian mercenary group.
“Russians say that it is under their control; it is not true,” said Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian eastern military command.
The Russian attack on Soledar is an apparent attempt to bypass Bakhmut from the north and disrupt Ukrainian supply routes, the British intelligence officials said. Part of the fighting is being waged near the entrances to the 124 miles of abandoned salt mine tunnels that run under the area.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the fighting in Soledar as “very difficult.”
Jan 10, 4:09 PM EST
Russia not ready to launch new offensive from Belarus: Ukrainian officials
Senior Ukrainian officials said Tuesday that they believe any prospect of Russia launching a new offensive toward Kyiv from Belarus is “not likely at this moment.”
The latest statement from Ukrainian officials contrasted with a series of interviews they gave last month in which they suggested Russia could mount an offensive early this year and even try to take Kyiv.
“Our assessment is that the Russians aren’t in a position to make an advance on Kyiv from Belarus. And if that were their intention, it wouldn’t happen for some time,” a senior Ukrainian official said Tuesday.
The Ukrainian officials added that the mere threat of an assault from Belarus means that Ukrainian forces are “fixed” along the Ukraine-Belarus border.
-ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge
Jan 10, 2:15 PM EST
Ukrainians set to begin Patriot air defense training in Oklahoma
As many as 100 Ukrainians troops will soon begin training on the Patriot air defense system at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, two U.S. officials told ABC News Tuesday.
Fort Sill is the main artillery school for the U.S. Army and where months-long training on Patriot systems already takes place.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the Ukrainians could begin training on the Patriot system as soon as next week.
“The training will prepare approximately 90 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers to operate, maintain and sustain the defensive system over a training course expected to last several months,” Ryder said.
Once deployed, the Patriot batteries will fortify Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and provide an additional way for the “Ukrainian people to defend themselves against Russia’s ongoing aerial assaults,” Ryder said.
Ryder would not give a precise time frame, but said that once the training is completed, the system will be sent to Ukraine to be put to use.
President Joe Biden announced last month that the United States will provide Ukraine with a Patriot missile defense system. The German government also agreed this month to supply Ukraine with a second Patriot missile battery.
-ABC News’ Matt Seyler
Jan 10, 1:30 PM EST
Russians on verge of overtaking eastern Ukrainian city
Russian troops were on the verge Tuesday of capturing a salt mining town in eastern Ukraine in an apparent attempt to cut off the enemy’s supply routes, according to British intelligence officials.
The Russian forces, along with mercenaries from the Wagner private military company, were likely in control of the city of Soledar, which is about six miles north of Bakhmut in the Donbas region, where heavy fighting has been reported in recent days, the British officials said.
The attack on Soledar is an apparent attempt to bypass Bakhmut from the north and disrupt Ukrainian supply routes, the British intelligence officials said. Part of the fighting is being waged near the entrances to the 124 miles of abandoned salt mine tunnels that run under the area.
Despite the increased pressure on Bakhmut, Russia is unlikely to be able to encircle the city in the near future because Ukrainian forces have created a stable line of defense and control supply routes in the area, the British officials said.
The Ukrainian Army said Russian troops carried out 86 artillery strikes on Soledar in a 24-hour period, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the fighting there as “very difficult.”
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