(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:
Nov 02, 12:14 PM EDT
North Korea covertly shipping ammunition to Russia for war in Ukraine, US says
North Korea was secretly sending ammunition to Russia to use in its invasion of Ukraine and is disguising the shipments as appearing to be destined to the Middle East or North Africa, the White House said Wednesday.
“Our information indicates that [North Korea] is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they’re being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa,” White House spokesman John Kirby said.
Kirby said North Korea was sending “a significant number of artillery shells.” He did not specify an exact number but said it was more than “dozens.”
“But we don’t believe that they are in such a quantity that they would tangibly change the direction of this war or tangibly change the momentum either in the east or in the south” of Ukraine, he said.
Kirby added, “We’re gonna continue to monitor whether these shipments are received.”
In September, the U.S. had said Russia is looking to purchase millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea, saying at the time that this indicated the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine.
Nov 02, 12:01 PM EDT
Russia waives veiled threat on use of nuclear weapons
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a warning to nations with nuclear capabilities, calling on them to abandon attempts to infringe on each other’s vital interests, warning that direct armed conflict and provocations with weapons of mass destruction can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Russia claimed it believes there can be no winners of nuclear war and said it reaffirms its commitment to the prevention of nuclear warm.
“A reaction with the use of nuclear weapons is hypothetically allowed by Russia only in response to aggression using weapons of mass destruction or aggression using conventional weapons, when the existence of the state is threatened,” the ministry said in a statement.
The White House has said it will not confirm or deny New York Times reporting that senior Russian military officials had recently discussed when and how Russia might use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. The intelligence about the conversations was reportedly circulated inside the U.S. government in mid-October.
But, Russian President Vladimir Putin was not a part of these alleged conversations, according to the New York Times.
The White House on Wednesday said it still sees “no indications that Russia is making preparations” to use nuclear weapons.
Nov 02, 8:40 AM EDT
Russia rejoins wartime deal on Ukrainian grain exports
Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday that Russia has agreed to resume its participation in a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations to keep grain and other commodities shipping out of Ukraine’s ports amid the ongoing war.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, that the so-called Black Sea Grain Initiative would “continue in the same way as before” as of noon Wednesday, according to Erdogan.
The renewed agreement, first reached over the summer, will prioritize shipments to African countries, including drought-ravaged Somalia, after Russia expressed concerns that most of the grain was ending up in richer nations.
Moscow agreed to return to the deal after receiving written guarantees from Kyiv that Ukraine would not use the safe shipping corridors through the Black Sea for military actions against Russian forces, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Russia had suspended its role in the deal over the weekend, after accusing Ukrainian forces of carrying out a “massive” drone attack on its Black Sea fleet on Saturday.
Turkey and the U.N. brokered separate deals with Russia and Ukraine in July to allow Ukraine to resume its shipment of grain from the Black Sea to world markets and for Russia to export grain and fertilizers.
Since Russian forces invaded neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24, the cost of grain, fertilizer and fuel has skyrocketed worldwide. Russia and Ukraine — often referred to collectively as Europe’s breadbasket — produce a third of the global supply of wheat and barley, but a Russian blockade in the Black Sea combined with Ukrainian naval mines have made exporting siloed grain and other foodstuffs virtually impossible. As a result, millions of people around the world — particularly in Africa and the Middle East — are now on the brink of famine.
Nov 01, 3:01 PM EDT
Ukraine does not have effective defenses against Iranian ballistic missiles, air force official claims
Iranian ballistic missiles, which Russia plans to purchase from Iran, will probably be placed on the northern border of Ukraine, the spokesman of the Ukrainian Airborne Forces Yuri Ignat said Tuesday.
Ignat claimed the ballistic missiles’ range was 300 km for one and 700 km for another.
“We have no effective defense against these missiles. It is theoretically possible to shoot them down, but in fact it is very difficult to do it with the means we have at our disposal. We have air defense, not missile defense,” he said.
-ABC News’ Yulia Drozd
Nov 01, 3:01 PM EDT
Russia announces wider evacuation of occupied southern Ukraine
As Ukrainian forces advance to capture the city of Kherson, Russian forces are ordering civilians out of parts of the now-occupied city. Some 70,000 people along a 15 kilometer (10 mile) stretch of the left bank of the Dnipro River will be evacuated deeper into the Kherson region or to Russia, according to the Russian-installed leader of the occupied Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo.
Russia had previously ordered civilians out of an area it controls on the west bank of the river.
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Oct 31, 7:07 PM EDT
Russia’s withdrawal from grain deal ‘collective punishment’ for world: State Department
State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday lambasted Russia’s recent decision to withdraw from the U.N.-brokered deal that allowed for grain to be exported through the Black Sea — likely to be a chief focus of this week’s G-7 ministerial meeting and potentially the G-20 Leaders’ Summit next month.
“We deeply regret Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is having immediate, harmful impacts on global food security,” Price said during a press briefing. “Russia should return to full participation in the initiative, and we urge all parties to swiftly agree to sustain this crucial program through the months to come.”
“Any disruption to the initiative risks spiking food prices, lowering the confidence of insurers and commercial shippers who have returned to Black Sea routes, and further imposing hardships on low-income countries already reeling from dire humanitarian crises and global food insecurity,” he added.
Price said Russia’s reneging had already caused future contracts for foodstuff to rise, even though some ships appear to have been allowed to pass through the water routes with their cargo following Moscow’s announcement.
“We’ve seen Russia engage in what appears to be collective punishment for the people of Ukraine,” he said. “But Moscow’s suspension of the initiative would be tantamount to collective punishment for the rest of the world — but especially lower- and middle-income countries that so desperately needed this grain.”
ABC News’ Shannon Crawford
Oct 31, 3:32 PM EDT
Ukraine energy company warns about attacks on energy infrastructure
Following a series of coordinated strikes across Ukraine this Monday morning, Ukraine’s largest private energy company DTEK says it’s running out of equipment and spare parts needed for repairs of the damaged infrastructure facilities.
“Unfortunately, we have already used up the stock of equipment that we had in our warehouses after the first two waves of attacks that have been taking place since Oct. 10,” said DTEK Executive Director Dmytro Sakharuk. “We were able to purchase some equipment. But unfortunately, the cost of the equipment is now measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Most parts have been already used for repairs following previous Russian strikes, he added.
Oct 31, 4:54 AM EDT
Russia launches waves of missiles at energy targets
Russia on Monday morning again launched a series of coordinated strikes across Ukraine, targeting energy infrastructure, including in the Kyiv region.
Ukraine’s military said it shot down 44 cruise missiles as the Russians launched “several waves of missile attacks on critical infrastructure facilities” across the country.
About five distant booms could be heard in central Kyiv at about 8 a.m. local time.
Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, confirmed that a power plant has been hit, meaning mid-morning around 350,000 homes in the capital were left without power. Kyiv’s water supply has also been compromised, according to a water company.
A local official said “critical infrastructure” had also been hit in the Chernivtsi region in southwestern Ukraine.
Critical infrastructure has also been hit and damaged in Zaporizhzhia in the south, according to another local official.
Other regions of Ukraine appear to have been targeted, including Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro, Poltava and Lviv.
There are currently no reports of significant casualties.
ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge
Oct 30, 10:02 AM EDT
Blinken accuses Russia of ‘weaponizing food’
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed Russia’s decision to pull out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative as a statement from the Kremlin that “people and families around the world should pay more for food or go hungry.”
Russia announced it is withdrawing from the U.N.-brokered grain deal in response to a drone attack Saturday in the waters of the Sevastopol Bay, in the Black Sea near Crimea.
Russia’s decision, Blinken said, is jeopardizing grain shipments he described as “life-saving.”
“In suspending this arrangement, Russia is again weaponizing food in the war it started, directly impacting low- and middle-income countries and global food prices, and exacerbating already dire humanitarian crises and food insecurity,” Blinken said in a statement released Saturday night.
He said 9 million metric tons of food has been shipped under the agreement, which was signed and launched in July. He said the shipments have reduced food prices around the world.
“We urge the Government of Russia to resume its participation in the Initiative, fully comply with the arrangement, and work to ensure that people around the world continue to be able to receive the benefits facilitated by the Initiative,” Blinken said.
Blinken’s statement echoed what President Joe Biden said earlier Saturday, calling Russia’s withdrawal from the initiative, “purely outrageous.”
“It’s going to increase starvation. There’s no reason for them to do that, but they’re always looking for some rationale to be able to say the reason they’re doing something outrageous is because the West made them do it. And it’s just not,” Biden said. “There’s no merit to what they’re doing. The UN negotiated that deal and that should be the end of it.”
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.