Turkey earthquake live updates: Thousands killed in devastating quake

RAMI AL SAYED/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Nearly 2,500 people are dead after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria early Monday, according to officials.

The pre-dawn quake was centered in the town of Pazarcik in Turkey’s southeastern Kahramanmaras province and was followed by several powerful aftershocks. Thousands of buildings were toppled on both sides of the border, and the death toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched for survivors in the massive piles of rubble.

Both Turkey and Syria have declared a state of emergency.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Feb 06, 2:04 PM EST
Death toll climbs over 2,700

At least 2,701 lives have been lost in the devastating quake.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,651 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to Turkish Emergency Management.

In Syria, at least 1,050 people died in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 1:28 PM EST
Turkey declares seven days of mourning

Turkey has declared a seven-day mourning period in the wake of the devastating quake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our country and foreign representations,” Erdogan said.

More than 3,400 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed and over 11,000 people are hurt, according to Turkish officials.

Feb 06, 1:19 PM EST
US deploying two search and rescue teams

The U.S. is deploying two 79-person urban search and rescue teams to Turkey, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

“The president has authorized an immediate U.S. response. So right now, in addition to personnel currently on the ground, we are in the process of deploying additional teams, including two 79-person urban search and rescue teams, to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and to help address the needs of all those who have been hurt or displaced by the earthquake,” Kirby said.

Feb 06, 12:40 PM EST
Death toll nears 2,500

At least 2,494 people have died in Turkey and Syria.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,651 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to the Turkish Emergency Management Agency.

In Syria, at least 843 people have been killed in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 11:34 AM EST
No casualties on US base

There are no known casualties among U.S. personnel assigned to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, and no major damage to facilities, a base spokesperson told ABC News.

The base is roughly 125 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter.

The 39th Air Base Wing at Incirlik “is still mission operational,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Air Force is prepared to assist Turkey if called upon, according to the spokesperson.

Feb 06, 11:03 AM EST
More than 4,200 buildings destroyed

More than 2,800 buildings across Turkey have been completely destroyed, according to Turkey’s Emergency Management Agency, while over 1,400 buildings were demolished in Syria, according the Syrian Civil Defense Agency.

At least 45 nations have pledged to send volunteers and other aid to Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Feb 06, 10:45 AM EST
Death toll climbs to 2,300

At least 2,343 people have died in Turkey and Syria.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,500 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to the Turkish Emergency Management Agency.

In Syria, at least 843 people have been killed in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 9:54 AM EST
Biden ‘deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation’

President Joe Biden tweeted that he’s “deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation” from the earthquake.

“I have directed my team to continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkey and provide any and all needed assistance,” he tweeted.

Feb 06, 9:14 AM EST
UK deploys emergency response teams to Turkey

The United Kingdom announced Monday it is “immediately” deploying emergency response teams to Turkey to assist rescue efforts following a deadly earthquake and powerful aftershocks.

According to a press release from the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, 76 U.K. search and rescue specialists, four search dogs as well as rescue equipment will arrive in Turkey on Monday evening. A U.K. emergency medical team is also being sent to assess the situation on the ground.

“We stand ready to provide further support as needed,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

In northwestern Syria, where the quake was also felt, the U.K.-aid funded volunteer organization White Helmets has activated a significant search and rescue response and mobilized all its resources to respond to emerging needs. The U.K. government is in contact with the United Nations on emergency humanitarian support to those affected in Syria, according to the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

“The British Embassy in Ankara is in close contact with the Turkish authorities to understand how we can best support those on the ground,” Jill Morris, British Ambassador-Designate to Türkiye said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the earthquakes today We pay tribute to the brave Turkish first responders working to save lives.”

The U.K. government’s announcement came on the heels of the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) declaring a “level 4 alarm” in the wake of the pre-dawn earthquake, calling for international assistance.

Feb 06, 7:25 AM EST
Monday’s quake was as powerful as the strongest ever recorded in Turkey

Monday’s deadly earthquake in Turkey, which was felt in Syria and other surrounding countries, was as strong as the most powerful one on record in Turkish history.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Turkey in 1939, killing approximately 30,000 people. Monday’s quake in southeastern Turkey had the same magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Earthquakes frequently occur in Turkey, which is situated on top of major fault lines.

Some 18,000 people were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwestern Turkey in 1999.

Feb 06, 7:02 AM EST
7.5 magnitude aftershock hits Turkey

Several hours after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey early Monday, a powerful aftershock measuring 7.5 hit the country’s Kahramanmaras province around 1:30 p.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Feb 06, 5:42 AM EST
Death toll jumps to over 1,200 in Turkey, Syria

Monday’s earthquake has killed at least 912 people in several Turkish provinces and injured 5,382 others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a press conference.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed, Erdogan said.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, AFAD, is deploying 1,898 search and rescue workers along with 150 vehicles in response to the deadly earthquake. Turkey’s national police force has deployed 130 tactical unit members with mobile command centers and kitchens to the city of Kahramanmaras, near the quake’s epicenter. A total of 300,000 blankets were also sent to the region, which is deep in winter weather.

Meanwhile, at least 239 people were killed and some 600 were injured in government-held areas of Syria, according to Syrian state media. In rebel-controlled areas, at least 147 people were killed, according to the Syrian civil defense and medical group that operates in opposition-held areas, known as the White Helmets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based monitoring group, put the overall death toll at 320.

Feb 06, 12:12 AM EST
US ‘profoundly concerned’ by ‘destructive earthquake’ in Turkey, Syria

The United States “is profoundly concerned” by the reports of the “destructive earthquake” in Turkey and Syria, and “will continue to closely monitor the situation,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement late Sunday night.

“We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” Sullivan added, noting that U.S. President Joe Biden “has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess U.S. response options to help those most affected.”

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake in Turkey at magnitude of 7.8.

-ABC News’ Lauren Minore

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Turkey earthquake live updates: Death toll nears 2,500 in Turkey, Syria after powerful quake

RAMI AL SAYED/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Nearly 2,500 people are dead after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria early Monday, according to officials.

The pre-dawn quake was centered in the town of Pazarcik in Turkey’s southeastern Kahramanmaras province and was followed by several powerful aftershocks. Thousands of buildings were toppled on both sides of the border, and the death toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched for survivors in the massive piles of rubble.

Both Turkey and Syria have declared a state of emergency.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Feb 06, 1:28 PM EST
Turkey declares seven days of mourning

Turkey has declared a seven-day mourning period in the wake of the devastating quake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our country and foreign representations,” Erdogan said.

More than 3,400 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed and over 11,000 people are hurt, according to Turkish officials.

Feb 06, 1:19 PM EST
US deploying two search and rescue teams

The U.S. is deploying two 79-person urban search and rescue teams to Turkey, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

“The president has authorized an immediate U.S. response. So right now, in addition to personnel currently on the ground, we are in the process of deploying additional teams, including two 79-person urban search and rescue teams, to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and to help address the needs of all those who have been hurt or displaced by the earthquake,” Kirby said.

Feb 06, 12:40 PM EST
Death toll nears 2,500

At least 2,494 people have died in Turkey and Syria.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,651 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to the Turkish Emergency Management Agency.

In Syria, at least 843 people have been killed in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 11:34 AM EST
No casualties on US base

There are no known casualties among U.S. personnel assigned to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, and no major damage to facilities, a base spokesperson told ABC News.

The base is roughly 125 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter.

The 39th Air Base Wing at Incirlik “is still mission operational,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Air Force is prepared to assist Turkey if called upon, according to the spokesperson.

Feb 06, 11:03 AM EST
More than 4,200 buildings destroyed

More than 2,800 buildings across Turkey have been completely destroyed, according to Turkey’s Emergency Management Agency, while over 1,400 buildings were demolished in Syria, according the Syrian Civil Defense Agency.

At least 45 nations have pledged to send volunteers and other aid to Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Feb 06, 10:45 AM EST
Death toll climbs to 2,300

At least 2,343 people have died in Turkey and Syria.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,500 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to the Turkish Emergency Management Agency.

In Syria, at least 843 people have been killed in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 9:54 AM EST
Biden ‘deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation’

President Joe Biden tweeted that he’s “deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation” from the earthquake.

“I have directed my team to continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkey and provide any and all needed assistance,” he tweeted.

Feb 06, 9:14 AM EST
UK deploys emergency response teams to Turkey

The United Kingdom announced Monday it is “immediately” deploying emergency response teams to Turkey to assist rescue efforts following a deadly earthquake and powerful aftershocks.

According to a press release from the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, 76 U.K. search and rescue specialists, four search dogs as well as rescue equipment will arrive in Turkey on Monday evening. A U.K. emergency medical team is also being sent to assess the situation on the ground.

“We stand ready to provide further support as needed,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

In northwestern Syria, where the quake was also felt, the U.K.-aid funded volunteer organization White Helmets has activated a significant search and rescue response and mobilized all its resources to respond to emerging needs. The U.K. government is in contact with the United Nations on emergency humanitarian support to those affected in Syria, according to the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

“The British Embassy in Ankara is in close contact with the Turkish authorities to understand how we can best support those on the ground,” Jill Morris, British Ambassador-Designate to Türkiye said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the earthquakes today We pay tribute to the brave Turkish first responders working to save lives.”

The U.K. government’s announcement came on the heels of the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) declaring a “level 4 alarm” in the wake of the pre-dawn earthquake, calling for international assistance.

Feb 06, 7:25 AM EST
Monday’s quake was as powerful as the strongest ever recorded in Turkey

Monday’s deadly earthquake in Turkey, which was felt in Syria and other surrounding countries, was as strong as the most powerful one on record in Turkish history.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Turkey in 1939, killing approximately 30,000 people. Monday’s quake in southeastern Turkey had the same magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Earthquakes frequently occur in Turkey, which is situated on top of major fault lines.

Some 18,000 people were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwestern Turkey in 1999.

Feb 06, 7:02 AM EST
7.5 magnitude aftershock hits Turkey

Several hours after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey early Monday, a powerful aftershock measuring 7.5 hit the country’s Kahramanmaras province around 1:30 p.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Feb 06, 5:42 AM EST
Death toll jumps to over 1,200 in Turkey, Syria

Monday’s earthquake has killed at least 912 people in several Turkish provinces and injured 5,382 others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a press conference.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed, Erdogan said.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, AFAD, is deploying 1,898 search and rescue workers along with 150 vehicles in response to the deadly earthquake. Turkey’s national police force has deployed 130 tactical unit members with mobile command centers and kitchens to the city of Kahramanmaras, near the quake’s epicenter. A total of 300,000 blankets were also sent to the region, which is deep in winter weather.

Meanwhile, at least 239 people were killed and some 600 were injured in government-held areas of Syria, according to Syrian state media. In rebel-controlled areas, at least 147 people were killed, according to the Syrian civil defense and medical group that operates in opposition-held areas, known as the White Helmets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based monitoring group, put the overall death toll at 320.

Feb 06, 12:12 AM EST
US ‘profoundly concerned’ by ‘destructive earthquake’ in Turkey, Syria

The United States “is profoundly concerned” by the reports of the “destructive earthquake” in Turkey and Syria, and “will continue to closely monitor the situation,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement late Sunday night.

“We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” Sullivan added, noting that U.S. President Joe Biden “has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess U.S. response options to help those most affected.”

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake in Turkey at magnitude of 7.8.

-ABC News’ Lauren Minore

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Turkey earthquake live updates: At least 2,300 dead in Turkey, Syria after powerful quake

RAMI AL SAYED/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — More than 2,300 people are dead after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria early Monday, according to officials.

The pre-dawn quake was centered in the town of Pazarcik in Turkey’s southeastern Kahramanmaras province and was followed by several powerful aftershocks. Thousands of buildings were toppled on both sides of the border, and the death toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched for survivors in the massive piles of rubble.

Both Turkey and Syria have declared a state of emergency.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Feb 06, 11:03 AM EST
More than 4,200 buildings destroyed

More than 2,800 buildings across Turkey have been completely destroyed, according to Turkey’s Emergency Management Agency, while over 1,400 buildings were demolished in Syria, according the Syrian Civil Defense Agency.

At least 45 nations have pledged to send volunteers and other aid to Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Feb 06, 10:45 AM EST
Death toll climbs to 2,300

At least 2,343 people have died in Turkey and Syria.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,500 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to the Turkish Emergency Management Agency.

In Syria, at least 843 people have been killed in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 9:54 AM EST
Biden ‘deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation’

President Joe Biden tweeted that he’s “deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation” from the earthquake.

“I have directed my team to continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkey and provide any and all needed assistance,” he tweeted.

Feb 06, 9:14 AM EST
UK deploys emergency response teams to Turkey

The United Kingdom announced Monday it is “immediately” deploying emergency response teams to Turkey to assist rescue efforts following a deadly earthquake and powerful aftershocks.

According to a press release from the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, 76 U.K. search and rescue specialists, four search dogs as well as rescue equipment will arrive in Turkey on Monday evening. A U.K. emergency medical team is also being sent to assess the situation on the ground.

“We stand ready to provide further support as needed,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

In northwestern Syria, where the quake was also felt, the U.K.-aid funded volunteer organization White Helmets has activated a significant search and rescue response and mobilized all its resources to respond to emerging needs. The U.K. government is in contact with the United Nations on emergency humanitarian support to those affected in Syria, according to the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

“The British Embassy in Ankara is in close contact with the Turkish authorities to understand how we can best support those on the ground,” Jill Morris, British Ambassador-Designate to Türkiye said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the earthquakes today We pay tribute to the brave Turkish first responders working to save lives.”

The U.K. government’s announcement came on the heels of the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) declaring a “level 4 alarm” in the wake of the pre-dawn earthquake, calling for international assistance.

Feb 06, 7:25 AM EST
Monday’s quake was as powerful as the strongest ever recorded in Turkey

Monday’s deadly earthquake in Turkey, which was felt in Syria and other surrounding countries, was as strong as the most powerful one on record in Turkish history.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Turkey in 1939, killing approximately 30,000 people. Monday’s quake in southeastern Turkey had the same magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Earthquakes frequently occur in Turkey, which is situated on top of major fault lines.

Some 18,000 people were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwestern Turkey in 1999.

Feb 06, 7:02 AM EST
7.5 magnitude aftershock hits Turkey

Several hours after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey early Monday, a powerful aftershock measuring 7.5 hit the country’s Kahramanmaras province around 1:30 p.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Feb 06, 5:42 AM EST
Death toll jumps to over 1,200 in Turkey, Syria

Monday’s earthquake has killed at least 912 people in several Turkish provinces and injured 5,382 others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a press conference.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed, Erdogan said.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, AFAD, is deploying 1,898 search and rescue workers along with 150 vehicles in response to the deadly earthquake. Turkey’s national police force has deployed 130 tactical unit members with mobile command centers and kitchens to the city of Kahramanmaras, near the quake’s epicenter. A total of 300,000 blankets were also sent to the region, which is deep in winter weather.

Meanwhile, at least 239 people were killed and some 600 were injured in government-held areas of Syria, according to Syrian state media. In rebel-controlled areas, at least 147 people were killed, according to the Syrian civil defense and medical group that operates in opposition-held areas, known as the White Helmets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based monitoring group, put the overall death toll at 320.

Feb 06, 12:12 AM EST
US ‘profoundly concerned’ by ‘destructive earthquake’ in Turkey, Syria

The United States “is profoundly concerned” by the reports of the “destructive earthquake” in Turkey and Syria, and “will continue to closely monitor the situation,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement late Sunday night.

“We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” Sullivan added, noting that U.S. President Joe Biden “has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess U.S. response options to help those most affected.”

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake in Turkey at magnitude of 7.8.

-ABC News’ Lauren Minore

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

At least 24 dead as Chile battles out-of-control wildfires

Stock-zilla/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — At least 24 people are dead as dozens of wildfires rage in Chile amid a scorching heat wave, Chilean authorities confirmed to ABC News.

The fatalities included two firefighters, authorities said. Approximately 1,000 people have also been injured, with 26 in life-threatening condition, and 1,475 people were evacuated and staying in shelters, authorities said.

As of Sunday evening, 260 fires were active in the South American country, with 28 out of control and considered dangerous, authorities said. At least 270,000 hectares of forests have been destroyed so far, according to official data.

A state of emergency has been declared in the central-southern regions of La Araucania, Ñuble and Biobío, which have been especially hard-hit by the fires.

Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia will be supporting the firefighting efforts with aircraft and logistics, Chilean authorities said.

Chile has been battling scores of wildfires amid high temperatures and a prolonged drought. The heat wave is expected to continue until at least Wednesday, with forecasted temperatures of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Strong winds are also expected, which risk worsening fire conditions.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Turkey earthquake live updates: At least 1,200 dead in Turkey, Syria after powerful quake

RAMI AL SAYED/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — More than 1,200 people are dead after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, officials said.

The pre-dawn quake was centered in the town of Pazarcik in Turkey’s southeastern Kahramanmaras province and was followed by several powerful aftershocks. Thousands of buildings were toppled on both sides of the border, and the death toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched for survivors in the massive piles of rubble.

Both Turkey and Syria have declared a state of emergency.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Feb 06, 7:25 AM EST
Monday’s quake was as powerful as the strongest ever recorded in Turkey

Monday’s deadly earthquake in Turkey, which was felt in Syria and other surrounding countries, was as strong as the most powerful one on record in Turkish history.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Turkey in 1939, killing approximately 30,000 people. Monday’s quake in southeastern Turkey had the same magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Earthquakes frequently occur in Turkey, which is situated on top of major fault lines.

Some 18,000 people were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwestern Turkey in 1999.

Feb 06, 7:02 AM EST
7.5 magnitude aftershock hits Turkey

Several hours after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey early Monday, a powerful aftershock measuring 7.5 hit the country’s Kahramanmaras province around 1:30 p.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Feb 06, 5:42 AM EST
Death toll jumps to over 1,200 in Turkey, Syria

Monday’s earthquake has killed at least 912 people in several Turkish provinces and injured 5,382 others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a press conference.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed, Erdogan said.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, AFAD, is deploying 1,898 search and rescue workers along with 150 vehicles in response to the deadly earthquake. Turkey’s national police force has deployed 130 tactical unit members with mobile command centers and kitchens to the city of Kahramanmaras, near the quake’s epicenter. A total of 300,000 blankets were also sent to the region, which is deep in winter weather.

Meanwhile, at least 239 people were killed and some 600 were injured in government-held areas of Syria, according to Syrian state media. In rebel-controlled areas, at least 147 people were killed, according to the Syrian civil defense and medical group that operates in opposition-held areas, known as the White Helmets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based monitoring group, put the overall death toll at 320.

Feb 06, 12:12 AM EST
US ‘profoundly concerned’ by ‘destructive earthquake’ in Turkey, Syria

The United States “is profoundly concerned” by the reports of the “destructive earthquake” in Turkey and Syria, and “will continue to closely monitor the situation,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement late Sunday night.

“We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” Sullivan added, noting that U.S. President Joe Biden “has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess U.S. response options to help those most affected.”

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake in Turkey at magnitude of 7.8.

-ABC News’ Lauren Minore

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hong Kong’s largest national security trial of 47 democracy advocates begins

pawel.gaul/Getty Images

(HONG KONG) — A landmark trial of 47 Hong Kong democracy advocates charged under a national security law began on Monday.

The case — at the core of China’s crackdown in Hong Kong — comes just as the city launches a massive campaign to lure tourists back after the pandemic.

The defendants include activist Joshua Wong, as well as former lawmaker Claudia Mo and legal scholar Benny Tai. They’re accused of “conspiracy to commit subversion” for holding unofficial pre-election primaries in July 2020, in which more than 600,000 people voted. At the time, authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong condemned the poll, arguing that they were trying to win enough seats in the city’s legislature to paralyse the government.

Sixteen of the 47 had earlier said they would contest the charges. Two others changed their plea to guilty on Monday morning. All will be sentenced after the trial — which could take 90 days.

Wong, Mo and Tai are among those who pleaded guilty, hoping for a more lenient sentence. But Tai, as one of the poll’s organizers, will likely face a higher sentence anyway.

The defendants are facing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Many of them have already been held in pre-trial custody for nearly two years.

Inside the court on Monday, former lawmaker Leung “Long Hair” Kwok-hung said, “There’s no crime to answer. It is not a crime to act against a totalitarian regime.”

The judge replied by calling it a “solemn occasion” and asked for respect from the defendants.

In the times before the crackdown, it would be typical for crowds of protesters to gather outside of the courts during politically charged trials like this.

But demonstrations have all but disappeared in Hong Kong, since the national security law was introduced to stamp out dissent following the 2019 unrest.

Dozens of police were deployed to the court on Monday morning, as people queued overnight for a place in the court’s public gallery. Some of them told local reporters they didn’t even know what the trial was about.

Police pushed away members of the League of Social Democrats when they tried to arrive at court. They are one of Hong Kong’s last active pro-democracy groups.

Two people carried a banner reading “crackdown is shameless.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Russian army officer says he saw Ukrainian POWs tortured

Konstantin Yefremov

(NEW YORK) — A senior Russian army lieutenant who fled Russia told ABC News he witnessed his country’s troops torture prisoners in Ukraine, including beating and threats to rape them.

Konstantin Yefremov, the most senior Russian soldier to defect and speak out openly against the war, is now in hiding and spoke to ABC News from Mexico. He is currently seeking to apply for political asylum in the United States.

“I want that what I saw, what I was witness to, becomes known to society. So that the truth is uncovered,” Yefremov said.

“I know that at home there only awaits me, in the best case, a lengthy prison term and, in the worst, they’ll simply execute me,” he said. “But to hide at home and wait for them to come for you, that’s humiliating. And I can’t be silent any longer. I don’t want to be silent.”

Yefremov, 33, spent three months as an officer in areas of Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region that were occupied by Russian forces in the first phase of the war. During that time, he said he personally witnessed the torture of Ukrainian prisoners during interrogations, including the shooting of one POW in the arms and legs and threats of rape.

Yefremov has provided ABC News with documents confirming his identity as well as photos and videos that ABC has verified show him in southern Ukraine during the period he describes.

His unit, the 42nd Motorised Rifles Division — usually based in Chechnya — entered Ukraine from Crimea in the first days of the invasion, according to Yefremov.

Up until then, he said his commanders had told the troops they were to take part in exercises and that he, like most of his comrades, had not believed there would be war. The men only understood they really were going into Ukraine on the morning of the invasion when they heard the sound of artillery, he said.

Yefremov, who had served for nine years in the military, said he was appalled and claims that he tried to quit the military shortly after the invasion began. He said he left his unit and got in a taxi to drive him out of Crimea but, after he was threatened with imprisonment for desertion, he said he decided to return to his unit — something he said he now regrets.

Once in Ukraine, he said he was assigned to a squad guarding an artillery position close to the Ukrainian city of Melitopol and then later his division’s rear headquarters.

It was there — the division’s rear headquarters — where he alleges he saw the brutal mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners.

Yefremov said he was present when a drunken colonel began interrogating a young Ukrainian soldier who had admitted to being a sniper.

“They broke that prisoner’s nose, they knocked out his teeth,” said Yefremov. For more than a week, he said, the colonel tortured the Ukrainian POW everyday, subjecting him to a mock execution and threatening to rape him.

The colonel would “pull down his trousers and say to the other soldiers, ‘Bring a mop — now I’m going to put this mop into your rear. I’ll video it and send it to your girlfriend,'” Yefremov recalled.

At one point, Yefremov said the colonel shot the prisoner in the arm and leg, breaking the bone.

“They bandaged him up, stopped the bleeding. Took him back to the garage with the other prisoners,” Yefremov said.

Yefremov said he and other Russian officers secretly moved the injured Ukrainian to a Russian military hospital, dressing him up in a Russian army uniform because they feared doctors there would refuse to treat him or that wounded Russian soldiers might even kill him.

The prisoner was returned some days later wearing a cast.

“After that, the colonel, for several days, beat him again,” Yefremov said.

Yefremov said three Ukrainian POWs captured were kept in a garage and made to sleep on the ground. He said the Russian troops were ordered not to feed the men anything other than crackers and water and that the prisoners were routinely beaten.

Yefremov said he and some other Russian soldiers tried to help the POWs as best they could, sneaking them food and cigarettes.

“I’m not trying to excuse myself. Or show how humane I was — I understand I shouldn’t have been there at all,” he said.

ABC News is unable to independently verify Yefremov’s torture allegations, but they resemble similar accounts of torture and abuse of prisoners by Russian forces widely documented in Ukraine.

Yefremov painted a picture of his own army plagued by ill-discipline and poor supplies. He said the men at the artillery unit he was guarding almost immediately ran short of food and water, reduced to hunting for hares and pheasants to feed themselves.

“We weren’t supplied with anything. No tents, there wasn’t enough basic food. We were occupied not so much with any military operations, as with our own survival,” he said.

He said he also witnessed many incidents of Russian troops looting — even taking things like lawnmowers, musical instruments and buckets.

Yefremov said most Russian troops had little motivation to fight and that the majority did not believe the Kremlin’s justifications for the war, such as its claim to be “de-Nazifying” Ukraine.

“70% of the Russian Armed Forces don’t believe in that. They understand that it’s a pretext for invasion, a pretext for a crazy dictator to realize his ideas with their hands,” he said.

He said many other soldiers had believed the war would end quickly and they would avoid heavy fighting but harsh new laws penalizing refusal to fight means it is now too late to resign.

“A Russian soldier … has been put in the position that either he goes fight or he sits in prison. They’ve said to him, ‘Go and kill or we’ll jail you,'” he said.

Yefremov said when he was rotated home to Chechnya in May, he decided he would not return to Ukraine. He refused an order to re-deploy and was accused of insubordination, after which he was discharged from the military in October.

But after president Vladimir Putin ordered a mobilization last fall, he said he realized his experience meant he would likely be called up. He said he went into hiding in Chechnya and then contacted a human rights group, Gulagu.net, to help him escape Russia.

Yefremov’s account is supported by military documents detailing the insubordination case against him, that record him refusing to deploy to Ukraine in June.

For the past month he said he has been trying to apply for asylum in the U.S., but so far has been unable to meet with any American diplomatic staff. He said had been attempting to apply through the Customs & Border Protection’s One app, a mobile phone application that the U.S. government requires asylum seekers trying to cross the border from Mexico to first submit their applications through.

Yefremov was the lead officer of a mine-clearing unit and he said previously he had worked on demining areas of Chechnya. He said he hadn’t participated in Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and covert invasion of Donbas — or its operation in Syria — saying he had avoided those tours out of a personal conviction that they were wrong.

He said he fully supports Ukraine’s efforts to liberate its territory and that he believes Russia now has no hope of winning the war.

He also called on his fellow soldiers to find ways to leave and “to not participate in that insanity,” saying they were being exploited by the Russian leadership.

“A lie can’t win,” he said. “They are free people defending their land.”

“I gave an oath by which I swore to protect my people. And so did all Russian military personnel. But the whole Russian army has broken that oath. They have all become Putin’s private military company,” he said.

Despite opposing the war, he said he could not excuse himself for taking part.

“I, in no way, am justifying myself. I’m guilty before the Ukrainian people that I came with a weapon in my hands as an uninvited guest. As long as I live I will feel that guilt,” he said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Russia-Ukraine live updates: Natanyahu considers ‘Iron Dome’ for Ukraine

SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Almost a year 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 pulled out of key positions in November, retreating from Kherson as Ukrainian troops led a counteroffensive targeting the southern port 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:

Feb 05, 2:20 PM EST
Delays on aircraft will result in more Ukrainian deaths: Defense minister

Ukraine’s minister of defense warned his western partners Sunday that if they “procrastinate” over the supply of aircraft to Ukraine, more Ukrainians will die.

“If we will have a procrastination or reluctance with aircraft platforms, it will cost us more lives, more blood of Ukrainians,” Oleksiy Reznikov told reporters in Kyiv.

Reznikov appeared to concede that the most readily available and Ukraine’s preferred western aircraft, American F-16s, were no longer an option on the table with western partners.

He said Sweden’s Gripen fighter jets are still an option. Ukrainian officials have previously mentioned the Gripen as a possibility in conversations with ABC News about weapons supplies.

“I’m sure we will have (western) aircraft,” Reznikov said.

Reznikov also spoke of the fierce fighting being wage in the city of Bakhmut in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Reznikov described the city as a “stronghold” which Russia has been trying to occupy for months.

Reznikov said 500 Russian soldiers a day are being injured or killed in the fight for Bukhmut and that Ukrainian casualties are significantly lower.

Any strategic decision on whether or not to withdraw, Reznikov said, would be made by Ukrainian generals and is “not a political decision.”

-ABC News Tom Soufi Burridge

Feb 05, 1:01 PM EST
Netanyahu considers sending Ukraine ‘Iron Dome’ defense system

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview Saturday that he is considering sending to Ukraine an Iron Dome defense system.

Netanyahu told French broadcasters TF1 and LCI that he is “looking into” sending Ukraine the mobile all-weather air defense system that has helped protect his country from Palestinian rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.

“I said I’m looking into it and I’m doing just that,” Netanyahu said during a visit to France.

In October, the Ukrainian government sent Israel an official request for the Iron Dome system to fend off Iranian ballistic missiles and attack drones used by Russia in Ukraine.

Netanyahu did not disclose a timeframe for when the defense system might be sent to Ukraine, saying, he is reviewing the request from Ukraine and the overall policy for supplying the system.

Feb 05, 12:19 PM EST
Fierce fighting continues in Kharkiv, Bakhmut

At least five people were injured Sunday when Russian missiles hit a residential building and a university in central Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, Ukrainian officials said.

Kharkiv Regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said four people were hurt when a Russian missile landed near an apartment building in central Kharkiv, according to The Associated Press.

Syniehubov said one other person was injured in a missile strike on a building at the National Academy for Urban Economy, a university near Kharkiv’s central square.

The missile strikes prompted the evacuation of local residents, Syniehubov said.

“In short, there was a strong blast, and it was just one short moment and everything happened,” one of the evacuees, Lyudmyula Krylova, told Reuters.

Krylova said she was in the residential building near where the missile landed.

“We were saved by the furniture that fell on us, and because of this we are now alive,” said Krylova, adding that a friend was injured in the attack and taken to a hospital.

Meanwhile, fighting intensified Sunday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the private Russian military company, the Wagner Group, said in a statement posted on Telegram.

Prigozhin denied reports that Ukrainian forces were retreating from the area. He said the Ukrainian troops were fighting for “every street, every house, every stairwell.”

Feb 03, 4:58 PM EST
American volunteer medic killed in Ukraine

An American volunteer medic was killed in Ukraine on Thursday while helping civilians evacuate, according to his family and Global Outreach Doctors, the humanitarian organization he was volunteering with.

Pete Reed, 33, died after his evacuation vehicle was hit with a reported missile in Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, according to Global Outreach Doctors.

“Pete was a beacon of humanitarian work — an incredible visionary, leader, compassionate care provider, and an inspiration to us all,” Global Outreach Doctors founder and president Andrew Lustig said in a statement on social media Friday. “He selflessly dedicated his life in service to others, especially those affected by disaster and war. Pete accomplished more in his 33 years than most of us in our entire lives. He leaves behind an incredible legacy.”

His family said that Reed was responding to wounded civilians when his ambulance was shelled.

“He died doing what he was great at, what gave him life, and what he loved, and apparently by saving a team member with his own body,” his family said in a statement shared to social media on Friday. “As you can imagine we are all in shock and have much to do to get him home so we ask for privacy presently.”

Reed was a former U.S. Marine who joined Global Outreach Doctors in January to serve as its Ukraine country director, Lustig said.

The State Department did not name Reed directly, in accordance with its standard privacy practices, though a spokesperson confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine and said that officials from the department “are in touch with the family and providing all possible consular assistance.”

Feb 03, 2:49 PM EST
US announces 1st transfer of seized assets to war effort

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced during a meeting with Ukraine’s top prosecutor on Friday that he has authorized the first transfer of forfeited Russian assets to go toward the Ukrainian war and recovery effort.

The $5.4 million was formally ordered confiscated Thursday from sanctioned Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev. Garland’s order will direct the money to the State Department for use in Ukraine under a new law signed by President Joe Biden late last year.

“The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable Russian oligarchs and others whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue its unprovoked and unjust war in Ukraine,” Garland said in his meeting with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin. “And we will continue to work closely with our international partners to support investigation and prosecution of the atrocities that have occurred during this war.”

Kostin thanked Garland for authorizing the transfer, which he said showed “the responsible party pays for the devastation that it caused.”

“The reparation of tremendous human and material damage to Ukraine and Ukrainian people is an important aspect in our quest for justice,” Kostin said.

-ABC News’ Alex Mallin

Feb 03, 1:41 PM EST
US announces $2.2 billion in aid to Ukraine

The U.S. announced another $2.2 billion in security assistance for Ukraine on Friday.

The package includes “critical air defense capabilities to help Ukraine defend its people, as well as armored infantry vehicles and more equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery ammunition, and conventional and long-range rockets for U.S.-provided [High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems],” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

The weapons package includes precision-guided rockets, or Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs, which have a longer range than the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System missiles Ukraine currently has, though not as long as the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACM) missiles that Ukraine has requested.

The package includes the authorization of presidential drawdown from existing U.S. stocks valued at up to $425 million and $1.75 billion in Ukraine Assistance Security Initiative funds for new weapons purchases, the Department of Defense said.

–ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Feb 03, 11:55 AM EST
Zelenskyy: ‘Nobody will give away Bakhmut’

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine will “fight for as long as we can” to hold on to the eastern city of Bakhmut in remarks on Friday.

“Nobody will give away Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said during a news conference with European Union officials after a summit in Kyiv, Reuters reported. “We consider Bakhmut our fortress.”

“Ukraine would be able to hold Bakhmut and liberate occupied Donbas if it received long-range weapons,” he added.

The remarks come as Ukrainian and Russian forces remain locked in a brutal battle in and around Bakhmut.

Feb 01, 6:32 PM EST
2 civilians killed in ballistic missile strike in Kramatorsk: Zelenskyy

At least two people were killed and more injured in Kramatorsk after a Russian ballistic missile hit a residential building, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

“Some people are still under the rubble. No goal other than terror,” Zelenskyy said. “The only way to stop Russian terrorism is to defeat it. By tanks. Fighter jets. Long-range missiles.”

-ABC News’ William Gretsky

Feb 01, 1:51 PM EST
US issues additional sanctions against Russian military-industrial complex

The U.S. Treasury Department announced a new round of sanctions against 22 individuals and entities across various countries it alleges have aided Russia’s military-industrial complex evade other sanctions already in place. The U.S. is specifically targeting a father and son arms-dealing duo and their vast international network.

The department said these steps are part of “the U.S. strategy to methodically and intensively target sanctions evasion efforts around the globe, close down key backfilling channels, expose facilitators and enablers, and limit Russia’s access to revenue needed to wage its brutal war in Ukraine.”

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

Jan 31, 7:31 AM EST
Human Rights Watch calls on Ukraine to investigate use of landmines in Izium

Human Rights Watch is calling on Ukraine to investigate its military’s “apparent use of thousands of rocket-fired antipersonnel landmines in and around the eastern city of Izium where Russian forces occupied the area.”

The international non-governmental organization issued a press release on Monday saying it has “documented numerous cases in which rockets carrying PFM antipersonnel mines, also called ‘butterfly mines’ or ‘petal mines,’ were fired into Russian-occupied areas near Russian military facilities.” Ukraine is a state party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits any use of antipersonnel mines.

Human Rights Watch said it has previously documented Russian forces’ use of antipersonnel landmines in Ukraine in 2022.

“Ukrainian forces appear to have extensively scattered landmines around the Izium area, causing civilian casualties and posing an ongoing risk,” Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Russian forces have repeatedly used antipersonnel mines and committed atrocities across the country, but this doesn’t justify Ukrainian use of these prohibited weapons.”

Jan 29, 7:34 PM EST
Reports of 3 dead, 6 wounded in Kherson from Russian shelling: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy highlighted the Russian shelling of Kherson in his evening address Sunday, saying there are “reports of six wounded and three dead” from the recent shelling.

“Today, the Russian army has been shelling Kherson atrociously all day. Residential buildings, various social and transport facilities, including a hospital, post office and bus station, have been damaged,” Zelenskyy said. “Two women, nurses, were wounded in the hospital. As of now, there are reports of six wounded and three dead.”

Zelenskyy spoke with the president-elect of the Czech Republic Sunday and invited him to come to Ukraine, he said.

Zelenskyy also noted the progress that was made last week in getting NATO members and allied countries to commit to sending more weapons to Ukraine, but added, “We have to make the next week no less powerful for our defense.”

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

Jan 26, 1:11 PM EST
11 dead, 11 injured in missile strikes on Ukraine

Eleven people died and 11 others were injured in Russian missile strikes throughout 11 regions of Ukraine on Thursday, according to Ukrainian emergency services.

Two fires broke out and 35 buildings were damaged in the strike.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Jan 26, 11:17 AM EST
US designates Russia’s Wagner Group as ‘transnational criminal organization’

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against a number of individuals and entities associated with the Wager Group in Russia and across the world in an effort to “degrade the Russian Federation’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine,” the department said in a statement.

The U.S. designated Russia’s Wagner Group a “transnational criminal organization,” not just for the alleged atrocities it has committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but also for its alleged human rights abuses in African countries like the Central African Republic.

The U.S. believes the Wagner Group has 50,000 people fighting in Ukraine, including 40,000 convicts, according to the White House. The group’s leader is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was already facing several U.S. sanctions.

Last week, the White House first announced the U.S. would take this step.

Jan 26, 5:21 AM EST
One dead in Kyiv in Russian missile strike

At least 15 missiles fired at Kyiv on Thursday were shot down, officials said.

One person was killed and two were wounded after part of a missile fell in the Holosiivskyi District of Kyiv, Mayor Vitaliy Klychko said. The missile hit a residential building, he said.

Air raid sirens began sounding just before sunrise in the capital. Some residents fled to shelters, including Kyiv’s metro stations.

A missile also struck Vinnytsia, the local governor said. No casualties were immediately reported there.

Jan 26, 2:00 AM EST
Air raid sirens sound in Kyiv

Air raid sirens went off across Ukraine as Russia launched multiple missiles from the east and south. Some were shot down, according to Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office.

Airborne forces last night shot down all 24 unmanned aerial vehicles launched by Russia. At least 15 of those were shot down in or around Kyiv, according to the local authorities. No casualties or impacts were reported.

Jan 25, 6:31 AM EST
Germany to deliver tanks to Ukraine, in major step for allies’ support

German officials said on Wednesday they plan to deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

“This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement. “We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally.”

Officials said the decision was the result of intensive consultations that took place with Germany’s closest European and international partners. Other European allies also plan to send tanks, German officials said.

Ukrainian troops will be trained on the tanks in Germany, officials said in a statement. Germany also planned to send ammunition and provide system maintenance.

Jan 24, 2:53 PM EST
US considering sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine: Officials

The Biden administration is leaning toward sending M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials have confirmed to ABC News.

The U.S. could commit to sending between 30 to 50 tanks to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

It could take more than a year for the new tanks to be fielded, officials said.

While President Joe Biden has not made a final decision, the transfer of Abrams would presumably enable Germany to authorize the transfer of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. This could then allow the 12 NATO countries that have Leopard 2 tanks to transfer them to Ukraine.

The decision could be announced as early as this week, officials said.

Jan 23, 5:11 PM EST
Zelenskyy issues new rule barring officials from personal travel out of country

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a new policy that forbids Ukrainian officials from leaving the country for non-governmental purposes.
“Officials will no longer be able to travel abroad for vacation or for any other non-governmental purpose,” Zelesnkyy said in his evening address Monday. “Within five days, the Cabinet of Ministers is to develop a border-crossing procedure for officials so that only a real working trip can be the reason for border crossing.”
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

Jan 19, 7:06 PM EST
CIA director held secret meeting with Zelenskyy in Kyiv: US Official

CIA Director William J. Burns traveled to Kyiv and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainian intelligence officials last week, a U.S. official told ABC News.

The director “reinforced our continued support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression,” according to the official.

The Washington Post first reported the meeting earlier Thursday.

-ABC News’ Cindy Smith

Jan 19, 6:13 PM EST
Pentagon announces $2.5B more aid for Ukraine

The Pentagon announced Thursday evening that it will provide Ukraine with $2.5 billion in additional aid for its efforts fighting Russian forces.

This is the 13th drawdown of equipment from the Department of Defense’s inventories for Ukraine since August 2021, the agency said.

The package includes several weapons and equipment such as 59 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers, the DoD said.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Jan 19, 4:34 PM EST
UN nuclear watchdog chief ‘worried’ about a disaster in Ukraine

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog group said Thursday that he is worried the world is becoming complacent about the “very precarious” situation posed by the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine.

Russian forces seized the plant, Europe’s largest, in March 2022 and it has repeatedly come under fire in recent months, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. Rafael Grossi, director general of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is working to set up a safe zone around the facility.

“I think the situation is very precarious,” Grossi told reporters in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. “I worry that this is becoming routine, that people may believe that nothing has happened so far, so is the director general of the IAEA crying wolf?”

Grossi said two major explosions occurred near the plant on Thursday, adding to the alarming situation.

“We know every day that a nuclear accident or an accident having serious radiological consequences may take place,” said Grossi before travelling to Moscow for talks with Russian officials.

Jan 19, 1:53 PM EST
Zelenskyy calls for new sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday pleaded with leaders of the European Union to pursue new sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry and energy carriers.

During a joint news conference in Kyiv with European Council President Charles Michel, Zelenskyy said he believes a tenth package of sanctions “could be even more effective” than the previous ones.

“The time has come, in particular, for sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry, against all its branches, organizations and all entities that work for the Russian missile program,” Zelenskyy said.

He also expressed his frustration over Germany’s hesitation to send Leopard tanks Ukraine.

“The issue of tanks remains relevant and very sensitive,” Zelenskyy said. “It depends on many reasons and, unfortunately, does not depend on the will of Ukraine. We create pressure as hard as we can politically, but the essential thing is that our pressure is well-reasoned.”

Zelenskyy added, “Against thousands of tanks of the Russian Federation, as I told our colleagues, only the courage of our military and the motivation of the Ukrainian people are not enough.”

Since the United Kingdom announced last week it will send Challenger 2 tanks to Russia, the German government has faced mounting pressure to follow suit, or at least allow NATO allies such as Poland to supply Ukraine with German-made Leopard tanks.

“The delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine is still a matter of dispute in the Bundestag (national parliament),” according to a statement released Thursday by the German government, which added that the issue is still the subject of “heated debate.”

Jan 18, 6:10 PM EST
Close to 100 Stryker armored vehicles part of next aid package: US official

A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that the upcoming aid package to Ukraine will include close to 100 Stryker Armored Vehicles and additional Bradley fighting vehicles.

The Stryker is a wheeled armored vehicles that can carry as many as 11 soldiers inside and is equipped with a 30mm gun and or machine gun that are remotely fired from inside the vehicle. It’s fast moving and can be used on roads or off roads, though the off road option is better handled by the tracked Bradley fighting vehicles.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Jan 18, 5:49 PM EST
Zelenskyy provides update on helicopter crash

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy provided an update on the helicopter crash near Kyiv near a kindergarten.

Zelenskyy said 14 people were killed in total including Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrski and one child.

Twenty-five people were injured, including 11 kids, the president added.

“Hundreds of people were involved in extinguishing the fire, searching and rescuing the injured, carrying out the initial investigative actions,” Zelenskyy said.

The president praised the efforts of kindergarten teachers who rushed in to help.

“Thank you for your bold actions, for taking the children out,” he said.

Zelenskyy said the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be temporarily led by the head of the National Police of Ukraine.

“The tasks for which the Minister was responsible in the context of our defense operation and ensuring the security of the state have also been distributed,” he said.

The cause of the helicopter crash is still under investigation.

-ABC News’ Wil Gretsky

Jan 18, 12:38 PM EST
Putin prepared for long war, Nato says

Russia is preparing for an extended war so NATO must get ready “for the long haul” and support Ukraine for as long as it takes, the alliance’s Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana told top European military chiefs Wednesday.

NATO nations must invest more in defense, ramp up military industrial manufacturing and harness new technologies to prepare for future wars, Geoana said, speaking at the opening of the military chiefs’ meeting in Brussels.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Jan 18, 9:40 AM EST
Sixteen people dead in helicopter crash, including three children

Sixteen people, including Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, died in a helicopter crash near Kyiv, according to national police, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office and Ukraine’s security service.

Monastyrsky is considered the most senior government official to die since the war started 11 months ago.

Jan 18, 3:57 AM EST
Helicopter crash near Kyiv kills interior minister

Ukrainian officials were killed on Wednesday morning in a helicopter crash near Kyiv.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, deputy Evgeniy Yenin and the state secretary of the interior ministry, Yuriy Lunkovych, died when a helicopter crashed in Brovary, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv, chief of the national police Igor Klymenko said on Facebook.

The emergency services helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in a residential area, according to officials.

According to the interior ministry, at least 18 people died, including three children. Another 22 people, including 10 children, were wounded, officials said.

The cause of the crash is unclear for now.

Jan 17, 5:06 PM EST
Zelenskyy confirms Netherlands sending Patriot Missile System

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the Netherlands will provide Ukrainian forces a Patriot Missile System.

Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces will now have three guaranteed Patriot batteries.

-ABC News Will Gretsky

Jan 17, 3:34 PM EST
White House condemns Dnipro attack

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre talked about the latest developments in Ukraine and slammed Russia over its missile strike on the apartment building in Dnipro.

“This weekend’s strikes are another example, as you’ve heard us say, of the brutal and barbaric war that Russia is waging against the Ukrainian people,” she told reporters during a White House press briefing.

“And we have seen this over and over again,” she added.

Jean-Pierre also praised the UK’s announcement Monday that it plans to send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.

The press secretary didn’t say whether the U.S. would provide tanks to Ukraine or if Biden would pressure other countries to do so.

She noted that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was going to host another multinational meeting on Friday of the “Ukraine Contact Group” — a gathering of defense ministers to discuss security assistance to Ukraine.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

Jan 17, 12:39 PM EST
Death toll from Dnipro missile attack rises to 45: Mayor

The death toll from Saturday’s missile attack on an apartment building in Dnipro has risen to 45, including six children, according to Borys Filatov, the city’s mayor.

The search and rescue operations have ended, according to the emergency services.

In addition to the fatalities, there were 79 people wounded, including 16 children, according to emergency services.

Thirty-nine people were rescued from the rubble, including six children, emergency services said.

-ABC News’ William Gretsky

Jan 16, 4:56 PM EST
Ukrainian soldiers arrive in US for Patriot missile training

Ukrainian soldiers arrived in the United States on Sunday to begin training on the Patriot air defense missile system at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, a U.S. military official said.

The training at Fort Sill is expected to last several months, and then switch briefly to Europe, officials said.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Jan 16, 4:33 PM EST
39 people, including 6 children, rescued from rubble in Dnipro

Emergency crews have rescued 39 people, including six children, who were buried under the rubble caused by a missile strike on a high-rise apartment complex in Dnipro over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his Monday evening address.

The death toll remains at 40, including three children, he said.

The Kremlin denied being responsible for the attack, saying Russia doesn’t strike residential areas and claiming the destruction was a result of Ukrainian air defense.

“The debris of the house destroyed by the Russian missile is still being dismantled in Dnipro,” Zelenskyy said. “I thank everyone who is carrying out this rescue operation. Every employee of the State Emergency Service and police, every doctor, every volunteer. Everyone who is involved.”

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

Jan 16, 4:09 PM EST
Civilian survivors speak out after missile strike in Dnipro

Emergency workers were still looking for survivors Monday following a strike on a high-rise apartment building on Saturday in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

The death toll rose to 40 dead, including three children, making it the deadliest strike on a residential area in Ukraine in the last three months.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack “Russian terror,” saying Ukraine was “fighting for every person, every life” under in rubble in Dnipro and would “find everyone involved in this terror.”

The attack on an apartment building destroyed 72 units and wounded 75 residents.

Rescuers have been using cranes to remove chunk after chunk of rubble, looking for survivors.

One of the survivors, Yevgeni, told ABC News that he was in his bed when the missile struck his apartment.

“I can’t understand. I didn’t hear any bang, any voice, any sound of the missile,” said Yevgeni, adding that he suffered a head injury and that his broken window frame fell on him.

He described seeing smoke and “a lot of dust” at the scene. He said “the most scary thing (was hearing) the voices of people screaming.”

Local resident Natali Nodykova told ABC News that a friend called her to tell her there was a bombing in her neighborhood.

“My son was alone at home and of course I was afraid,” Nodykova said.

Emergency workers rescued 39 people, Ukrainian officials said. Twelve people remained unaccounted for Monday.

The attack was caused by a Soviet-made Kh-22, a long-range missile used to take down aircraft carriers, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.

The massive 13,000-pound missile causes huge amounts of casualties when used in civilian areas.

The Kremlin denied the attack, saying Russia doesn’t strike residential areas and claiming the destruction was a result of Ukrainian air defense.

The same type of weapon had been used in a previous attack on a shopping mall in the town of Kremenchuk back in July that killed 22 people, according to Ukrainian authorities.

-ABC News’ Ibtissem Guenfoud, Bruno Roeber, Oleksii Pshemyskiy, Matt Gutman and Max Uzol

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.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Russia-Ukraine live updates: US announces new weapons package for Ukraine

SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Almost a year 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 pulled out of key positions in November, retreating from Kherson as Ukrainian troops led a counteroffensive targeting the southern port 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:

Feb 03, 2:49 PM EST
US announces 1st transfer of seized assets to war effort

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced during a meeting with Ukraine’s top prosecutor on Friday that he has authorized the first transfer of forfeited Russian assets to go toward the Ukrainian war and recovery effort.

The $5.4 million was formally ordered confiscated Thursday from sanctioned Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev. Garland’s order will direct the money to the State Department for use in Ukraine under a new law signed by President Joe Biden late last year.

“The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable Russian oligarchs and others whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue its unprovoked and unjust war in Ukraine,” Garland said in his meeting with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin. “And we will continue to work closely with our international partners to support investigation and prosecution of the atrocities that have occurred during this war.”

Kostin thanked Garland for authorizing the transfer, which he said showed “the responsible party pays for the devastation that it caused.”

“The reparation of tremendous human and material damage to Ukraine and Ukrainian people is an important aspect in our quest for justice,” Kostin said.

-ABC News’ Alex Mallin

Feb 03, 1:41 PM EST
US announces $2.2 billion in aid to Ukraine

The U.S. announced another $2.2 billion in security assistance for Ukraine on Friday.

The package includes “critical air defense capabilities to help Ukraine defend its people, as well as armored infantry vehicles and more equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery ammunition, and conventional and long-range rockets for U.S.-provided [High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems],” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

The weapons package includes precision-guided rockets, or Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs, which have a longer range than the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System missiles Ukraine currently has, though not as long as the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACM) missiles that Ukraine has requested.

The package includes the authorization of presidential drawdown from existing U.S. stocks valued at up to $425 million and $1.75 billion in Ukraine Assistance Security Initiative funds for new weapons purchases, the Department of Defense said.

–ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Feb 03, 11:55 AM EST
Zelenskyy: ‘Nobody will give away Bakhmut’

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine will “fight for as long as we can” to hold on to the eastern city of Bakhmut in remarks on Friday.

“Nobody will give away Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said during a news conference with European Union officials after a summit in Kyiv, Reuters reported. “We consider Bakhmut our fortress.”

“Ukraine would be able to hold Bakhmut and liberate occupied Donbas if it received long-range weapons,” he added.

The remarks come as Ukrainian and Russian forces remain locked in a brutal battle in and around Bakhmut.

Feb 01, 6:32 PM EST
2 civilians killed in ballistic missile strike in Kramatorsk: Zelenskyy

At least two people were killed and more injured in Kramatorsk after a Russian ballistic missile hit a residential building, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

“Some people are still under the rubble. No goal other than terror,” Zelenskyy said. “The only way to stop Russian terrorism is to defeat it. By tanks. Fighter jets. Long-range missiles.”

-ABC News’ William Gretsky

Feb 01, 1:51 PM EST
US issues additional sanctions against Russian military-industrial complex

The U.S. Treasury Department announced a new round of sanctions against 22 individuals and entities across various countries it alleges have aided Russia’s military-industrial complex evade other sanctions already in place. The U.S. is specifically targeting a father and son arms-dealing duo and their vast international network.

The department said these steps are part of “the U.S. strategy to methodically and intensively target sanctions evasion efforts around the globe, close down key backfilling channels, expose facilitators and enablers, and limit Russia’s access to revenue needed to wage its brutal war in Ukraine.”

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

Jan 31, 7:31 AM EST
Human Rights Watch calls on Ukraine to investigate use of landmines in Izium

Human Rights Watch is calling on Ukraine to investigate its military’s “apparent use of thousands of rocket-fired antipersonnel landmines in and around the eastern city of Izium where Russian forces occupied the area.”

The international non-governmental organization issued a press release on Monday saying it has “documented numerous cases in which rockets carrying PFM antipersonnel mines, also called ‘butterfly mines’ or ‘petal mines,’ were fired into Russian-occupied areas near Russian military facilities.” Ukraine is a state party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits any use of antipersonnel mines.

Human Rights Watch said it has previously documented Russian forces’ use of antipersonnel landmines in Ukraine in 2022.

“Ukrainian forces appear to have extensively scattered landmines around the Izium area, causing civilian casualties and posing an ongoing risk,” Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Russian forces have repeatedly used antipersonnel mines and committed atrocities across the country, but this doesn’t justify Ukrainian use of these prohibited weapons.”

Jan 29, 7:34 PM EST
Reports of 3 dead, 6 wounded in Kherson from Russian shelling: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy highlighted the Russian shelling of Kherson in his evening address Sunday, saying there are “reports of six wounded and three dead” from the recent shelling.

“Today, the Russian army has been shelling Kherson atrociously all day. Residential buildings, various social and transport facilities, including a hospital, post office and bus station, have been damaged,” Zelenskyy said. “Two women, nurses, were wounded in the hospital. As of now, there are reports of six wounded and three dead.”

Zelenskyy spoke with the president-elect of the Czech Republic Sunday and invited him to come to Ukraine, he said.

Zelenskyy also noted the progress that was made last week in getting NATO members and allied countries to commit to sending more weapons to Ukraine, but added, “We have to make the next week no less powerful for our defense.”

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

Jan 26, 1:11 PM EST
11 dead, 11 injured in missile strikes on Ukraine

Eleven people died and 11 others were injured in Russian missile strikes throughout 11 regions of Ukraine on Thursday, according to Ukrainian emergency services.

Two fires broke out and 35 buildings were damaged in the strike.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Jan 26, 11:17 AM EST
US designates Russia’s Wagner Group as ‘transnational criminal organization’

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against a number of individuals and entities associated with the Wager Group in Russia and across the world in an effort to “degrade the Russian Federation’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine,” the department said in a statement.

The U.S. designated Russia’s Wagner Group a “transnational criminal organization,” not just for the alleged atrocities it has committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but also for its alleged human rights abuses in African countries like the Central African Republic.

The U.S. believes the Wagner Group has 50,000 people fighting in Ukraine, including 40,000 convicts, according to the White House. The group’s leader is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was already facing several U.S. sanctions.

Last week, the White House first announced the U.S. would take this step.

Jan 26, 5:21 AM EST
One dead in Kyiv in Russian missile strike

At least 15 missiles fired at Kyiv on Thursday were shot down, officials said.

One person was killed and two were wounded after part of a missile fell in the Holosiivskyi District of Kyiv, Mayor Vitaliy Klychko said. The missile hit a residential building, he said.

Air raid sirens began sounding just before sunrise in the capital. Some residents fled to shelters, including Kyiv’s metro stations.

A missile also struck Vinnytsia, the local governor said. No casualties were immediately reported there.

Jan 26, 2:00 AM EST
Air raid sirens sound in Kyiv

Air raid sirens went off across Ukraine as Russia launched multiple missiles from the east and south. Some were shot down, according to Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office.

Airborne forces last night shot down all 24 unmanned aerial vehicles launched by Russia. At least 15 of those were shot down in or around Kyiv, according to the local authorities. No casualties or impacts were reported.

Jan 25, 6:31 AM EST
Germany to deliver tanks to Ukraine, in major step for allies’ support

German officials said on Wednesday they plan to deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

“This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement. “We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally.”

Officials said the decision was the result of intensive consultations that took place with Germany’s closest European and international partners. Other European allies also plan to send tanks, German officials said.

Ukrainian troops will be trained on the tanks in Germany, officials said in a statement. Germany also planned to send ammunition and provide system maintenance.

Jan 24, 2:53 PM EST
US considering sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine: Officials

The Biden administration is leaning toward sending M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials have confirmed to ABC News.

The U.S. could commit to sending between 30 to 50 tanks to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

It could take more than a year for the new tanks to be fielded, officials said.

While President Joe Biden has not made a final decision, the transfer of Abrams would presumably enable Germany to authorize the transfer of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. This could then allow the 12 NATO countries that have Leopard 2 tanks to transfer them to Ukraine.

The decision could be announced as early as this week, officials said.

Jan 23, 5:11 PM EST
Zelenskyy issues new rule barring officials from personal travel out of country

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a new policy that forbids Ukrainian officials from leaving the country for non-governmental purposes.
“Officials will no longer be able to travel abroad for vacation or for any other non-governmental purpose,” Zelesnkyy said in his evening address Monday. “Within five days, the Cabinet of Ministers is to develop a border-crossing procedure for officials so that only a real working trip can be the reason for border crossing.”
-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

Jan 19, 7:06 PM EST
CIA director held secret meeting with Zelenskyy in Kyiv: US Official

CIA Director William J. Burns traveled to Kyiv and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainian intelligence officials last week, a U.S. official told ABC News.

The director “reinforced our continued support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression,” according to the official.

The Washington Post first reported the meeting earlier Thursday.

-ABC News’ Cindy Smith

Jan 19, 6:13 PM EST
Pentagon announces $2.5B more aid for Ukraine

The Pentagon announced Thursday evening that it will provide Ukraine with $2.5 billion in additional aid for its efforts fighting Russian forces.

This is the 13th drawdown of equipment from the Department of Defense’s inventories for Ukraine since August 2021, the agency said.

The package includes several weapons and equipment such as 59 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers, the DoD said.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Jan 19, 4:34 PM EST
UN nuclear watchdog chief ‘worried’ about a disaster in Ukraine

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog group said Thursday that he is worried the world is becoming complacent about the “very precarious” situation posed by the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine.

Russian forces seized the plant, Europe’s largest, in March 2022 and it has repeatedly come under fire in recent months, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. Rafael Grossi, director general of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is working to set up a safe zone around the facility.

“I think the situation is very precarious,” Grossi told reporters in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. “I worry that this is becoming routine, that people may believe that nothing has happened so far, so is the director general of the IAEA crying wolf?”

Grossi said two major explosions occurred near the plant on Thursday, adding to the alarming situation.

“We know every day that a nuclear accident or an accident having serious radiological consequences may take place,” said Grossi before travelling to Moscow for talks with Russian officials.

Jan 19, 1:53 PM EST
Zelenskyy calls for new sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday pleaded with leaders of the European Union to pursue new sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry and energy carriers.

During a joint news conference in Kyiv with European Council President Charles Michel, Zelenskyy said he believes a tenth package of sanctions “could be even more effective” than the previous ones.

“The time has come, in particular, for sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry, against all its branches, organizations and all entities that work for the Russian missile program,” Zelenskyy said.

He also expressed his frustration over Germany’s hesitation to send Leopard tanks Ukraine.

“The issue of tanks remains relevant and very sensitive,” Zelenskyy said. “It depends on many reasons and, unfortunately, does not depend on the will of Ukraine. We create pressure as hard as we can politically, but the essential thing is that our pressure is well-reasoned.”

Zelenskyy added, “Against thousands of tanks of the Russian Federation, as I told our colleagues, only the courage of our military and the motivation of the Ukrainian people are not enough.”

Since the United Kingdom announced last week it will send Challenger 2 tanks to Russia, the German government has faced mounting pressure to follow suit, or at least allow NATO allies such as Poland to supply Ukraine with German-made Leopard tanks.

“The delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine is still a matter of dispute in the Bundestag (national parliament),” according to a statement released Thursday by the German government, which added that the issue is still the subject of “heated debate.”

Jan 18, 6:10 PM EST
Close to 100 Stryker armored vehicles part of next aid package: US official

A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that the upcoming aid package to Ukraine will include close to 100 Stryker Armored Vehicles and additional Bradley fighting vehicles.

The Stryker is a wheeled armored vehicles that can carry as many as 11 soldiers inside and is equipped with a 30mm gun and or machine gun that are remotely fired from inside the vehicle. It’s fast moving and can be used on roads or off roads, though the off road option is better handled by the tracked Bradley fighting vehicles.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Jan 18, 5:49 PM EST
Zelenskyy provides update on helicopter crash

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy provided an update on the helicopter crash near Kyiv near a kindergarten.

Zelenskyy said 14 people were killed in total including Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrski and one child.

Twenty-five people were injured, including 11 kids, the president added.

“Hundreds of people were involved in extinguishing the fire, searching and rescuing the injured, carrying out the initial investigative actions,” Zelenskyy said.

The president praised the efforts of kindergarten teachers who rushed in to help.

“Thank you for your bold actions, for taking the children out,” he said.

Zelenskyy said the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be temporarily led by the head of the National Police of Ukraine.

“The tasks for which the Minister was responsible in the context of our defense operation and ensuring the security of the state have also been distributed,” he said.

The cause of the helicopter crash is still under investigation.

-ABC News’ Wil Gretsky

Jan 18, 12:38 PM EST
Putin prepared for long war, Nato says

Russia is preparing for an extended war so NATO must get ready “for the long haul” and support Ukraine for as long as it takes, the alliance’s Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana told top European military chiefs Wednesday.

NATO nations must invest more in defense, ramp up military industrial manufacturing and harness new technologies to prepare for future wars, Geoana said, speaking at the opening of the military chiefs’ meeting in Brussels.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Jan 18, 9:40 AM EST
Sixteen people dead in helicopter crash, including three children

Sixteen people, including Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, died in a helicopter crash near Kyiv, according to national police, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office and Ukraine’s security service.

Monastyrsky is considered the most senior government official to die since the war started 11 months ago.

Jan 18, 3:57 AM EST
Helicopter crash near Kyiv kills interior minister

Ukrainian officials were killed on Wednesday morning in a helicopter crash near Kyiv.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, deputy Evgeniy Yenin and the state secretary of the interior ministry, Yuriy Lunkovych, died when a helicopter crashed in Brovary, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv, chief of the national police Igor Klymenko said on Facebook.

The emergency services helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in a residential area, according to officials.

According to the interior ministry, at least 18 people died, including three children. Another 22 people, including 10 children, were wounded, officials said.

The cause of the crash is unclear for now.

Jan 17, 5:06 PM EST
Zelenskyy confirms Netherlands sending Patriot Missile System

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the Netherlands will provide Ukrainian forces a Patriot Missile System.

Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces will now have three guaranteed Patriot batteries.

-ABC News Will Gretsky

Jan 17, 3:34 PM EST
White House condemns Dnipro attack

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre talked about the latest developments in Ukraine and slammed Russia over its missile strike on the apartment building in Dnipro.

“This weekend’s strikes are another example, as you’ve heard us say, of the brutal and barbaric war that Russia is waging against the Ukrainian people,” she told reporters during a White House press briefing.

“And we have seen this over and over again,” she added.

Jean-Pierre also praised the UK’s announcement Monday that it plans to send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.

The press secretary didn’t say whether the U.S. would provide tanks to Ukraine or if Biden would pressure other countries to do so.

She noted that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was going to host another multinational meeting on Friday of the “Ukraine Contact Group” — a gathering of defense ministers to discuss security assistance to Ukraine.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

Jan 17, 12:39 PM EST
Death toll from Dnipro missile attack rises to 45: Mayor

The death toll from Saturday’s missile attack on an apartment building in Dnipro has risen to 45, including six children, according to Borys Filatov, the city’s mayor.

The search and rescue operations have ended, according to the emergency services.

In addition to the fatalities, there were 79 people wounded, including 16 children, according to emergency services.

Thirty-nine people were rescued from the rubble, including six children, emergency services said.

-ABC News’ William Gretsky

Jan 16, 4:56 PM EST
Ukrainian soldiers arrive in US for Patriot missile training

Ukrainian soldiers arrived in the United States on Sunday to begin training on the Patriot air defense missile system at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, a U.S. military official said.

The training at Fort Sill is expected to last several months, and then switch briefly to Europe, officials said.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Jan 16, 4:33 PM EST
39 people, including 6 children, rescued from rubble in Dnipro

Emergency crews have rescued 39 people, including six children, who were buried under the rubble caused by a missile strike on a high-rise apartment complex in Dnipro over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his Monday evening address.

The death toll remains at 40, including three children, he said.

The Kremlin denied being responsible for the attack, saying Russia doesn’t strike residential areas and claiming the destruction was a result of Ukrainian air defense.

“The debris of the house destroyed by the Russian missile is still being dismantled in Dnipro,” Zelenskyy said. “I thank everyone who is carrying out this rescue operation. Every employee of the State Emergency Service and police, every doctor, every volunteer. Everyone who is involved.”

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

Jan 16, 4:09 PM EST
Civilian survivors speak out after missile strike in Dnipro

Emergency workers were still looking for survivors Monday following a strike on a high-rise apartment building on Saturday in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

The death toll rose to 40 dead, including three children, making it the deadliest strike on a residential area in Ukraine in the last three months.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack “Russian terror,” saying Ukraine was “fighting for every person, every life” under in rubble in Dnipro and would “find everyone involved in this terror.”

The attack on an apartment building destroyed 72 units and wounded 75 residents.

Rescuers have been using cranes to remove chunk after chunk of rubble, looking for survivors.

One of the survivors, Yevgeni, told ABC News that he was in his bed when the missile struck his apartment.

“I can’t understand. I didn’t hear any bang, any voice, any sound of the missile,” said Yevgeni, adding that he suffered a head injury and that his broken window frame fell on him.

He described seeing smoke and “a lot of dust” at the scene. He said “the most scary thing (was hearing) the voices of people screaming.”

Local resident Natali Nodykova told ABC News that a friend called her to tell her there was a bombing in her neighborhood.

“My son was alone at home and of course I was afraid,” Nodykova said.

Emergency workers rescued 39 people, Ukrainian officials said. Twelve people remained unaccounted for Monday.

The attack was caused by a Soviet-made Kh-22, a long-range missile used to take down aircraft carriers, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.

The massive 13,000-pound missile causes huge amounts of casualties when used in civilian areas.

The Kremlin denied the attack, saying Russia doesn’t strike residential areas and claiming the destruction was a result of Ukrainian air defense.

The same type of weapon had been used in a previous attack on a shopping mall in the town of Kremenchuk back in July that killed 22 people, according to Ukrainian authorities.

-ABC News’ Ibtissem Guenfoud, Bruno Roeber, Oleksii Pshemyskiy, Matt Gutman and Max Uzol

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.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

‘Squid Game’ star Oh Yeong-soo goes on trial for sexual misconduct

Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images

(SEOUL, South Korea) — Actor Oh Yeong-soo, who rose to global recognition after appearing in the Netflix hit “Squid game,” goes on trial for sexual misconduct on Friday.

The prosecution charged Oh, 78, with indecent assault for alleged inappropriate physical contact with a woman in 2017. The alleged victim first brought her case to the police in 2021, authorities said.

Not much is disclosed of Oh’s alleged sexual misconduct, but the alleged victim claims there was unwanted touching when she met Oh in 2017, according to local outlets JTBC and News1.

Police accepted the crime report and probed the incident but decided not to transfer the case. However, prosecutors in the Suwon district, which is located south of Seoul, began reinvestigating the case in 2022 following the alleged victim’s formal objection, according to the district court in the city of Seongnam.

In a November 2022 interview with local newspaper News1, Oh denied any wrongdoing and referred to the victim’s claim as “one sided.” He told the local broadcaster JTBC that he “held her hand in order to give directions around the lake” but denied the sexual misconduct allegations

In South Korea, court and police documents concerning sexual crimes are unavailable by law to prevent disclosing any information about the victims.

Oh has pleaded not guilty to the indecent assault charges.

ABC News has not been able to reach Oh for comment.

If the Suwon District Court judge rules him guilty on Friday, Oh would be fined up to $12,000 or 10 years in prison.

Oh is a veteran actor in South Korea’s theater scene, making his debut in 1963. He became well-known internationally as an elderly contestant in “Squid Game.” His performance as Player 001 earned him an Emmy nomination and Golden Globe win for best supporting actor, which was a first for a Korean actor.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.