(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in neighboring Ukraine began Feb. 24, with Russian forces invading from Belarus in the north and Russia in the east. Ukrainian troops offered “fierce resistance”, according to US officials.
The Russian military has since launched a large-scale ground offensive in the disputed Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, capturing the strategic port city of Mariupol and securing a coastal corridor to the Crimean peninsula annexed to Moscow.
Here’s how the news evolves. All times Eastern:
August 15, 5:53 a.m. EDT
Griner will appeal his Russian conviction, lawyer says
Brittney Griner’s defense team has appealed the Khimky City Court’s verdict, according to Maria Blagovolina, a partner at law firm Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners.
The WNBA star was found guilty of drug trafficking in a Moscow region court this month.
-Tanya Stukalova of ABC News
August 14, 4:44 p.m. EDT
The 1st ship chartered by the UN loaded with Ukrainian wheat is about to leave for Africa
The first UN-chartered ship loaded with Ukrainian wheat is expected to head to Africa from the nearby port city of Odessa, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday.
The MV Brave Commander is loaded with 23,000 tonnes of wheat which will be shipped to Ethiopia as part of a mission to relieve a global food crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine which halted grain exports for decades. months, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Alexander Kubrakov announced at a press conference.
Kubrakov said the UN-chartered ship was due to leave the port of Pivdenny near Odessa on Monday.
“When three months ago, during the meeting of Ukrainian President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Kyiv, the first negotiations on the unlocking of Ukrainian seaports began, we have already seen how critical it becomes. in the world.” Kubrakov wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “This applies particularly to the less socially protected countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, for which Ukraine has always been an important importer of agricultural products”.
He said Ethiopia desperately needed grain from Ukraine.
“This country is suffering from record drought and armed clashes for the second consecutive year,” Kubrakov said. “Ukrainian grain for them without exaggeration – the question of life or death.”
He said he hopes the MV Brave Commander will be the first shipment of grain under the United Nations World Food Programme.
August 12, 2:28 p.m. EDT
‘They treat us like captives’: Exiled Zaporizhzhia manager on conditions at factory
An exiled official at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant told ABC News that Ukrainian personnel were treated “like captives.”
Oleg, who asked to be referred to by an alias, said he felt threatened by the Russian soldiers.
“They didn’t say ‘I’m going to shoot you now,’ but they still carry guns and assault rifles with them,” said Oleg, who led one of the factory’s 80 units but could leave last month. “And when an assault rifle or a firearm has a cocked trigger, I consider it a threat.”
Amid reported shelling near the plant, Oleg said he was mainly concerned about his spent fuel containers, “which are in a precarious position, and they’re not well protected.”
-ABC News Dragana Jovanovic, Britt Clennett, Nataliya Kushnir and Sohel Uddin
August 11, 4:43 p.m. EDT
UN Secretary General calls for ‘immediate cessation’ of all military activities around nuclear power plant
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres “calls for all military activities” around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine to “immediately cease” and for the armies not to “target its facilities or its surroundings”.
Ukrainian nuclear regulator Energoatom said Russian forces bombed the plant for the third time on Thursday, striking near the first power unit. Earlier Thursday, Energoatom said five rockets hit the area around the commander’s office, near where radioactive materials are stored.
Yevgeny Balitsky, the acting governor of Russian-settled Zaporizhzhya Oblast, issued a statement saying Ukrainian forces struck the plant, striking near an area containing radioactive materials.
António Guterres said he called on all parties to “use common sense” and take any action that could endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
“Instead of de-escalation, over the past few days there have been reports of new and deeply worrying incidents which could, if continued, lead to disaster,” he said, adding that he was “ gravely concerned”.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, on Thursday pleaded with the UN Security Council to allow an IAEA mission to visit the plant as soon as possible. He said the situation at the factory was rapidly deteriorating and “becoming very alarming”.
-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou, Fidel Pavlenko, Natalya Kushnir and Natalia Shumskaia
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