(NEW YORK) — More than nine months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into neighboring Ukraine, the two countries are engaged in a struggle for control of areas throughout eastern and southern Ukraine.
Putin’s forces in November pulled out of key positions, retreating from Kherson as Ukrainian troops led a counteroffensive targeting the city. Russian drones have continued bombarding civilian targets throughout Ukraine, knocking out critical power infrastructure as winter sets in.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Dec 29, 6:04 AM EST
Russia continues ‘escalating’ missile campaign, US Embassy says
Moscow has been “cruelly wielding cold & dark against” Ukrainian civilians by targeting cities in winter, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Thursday.
The rebuke came as Russia fired missiles at cities throughout the country on Thursday. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army said 69 missiles were launched, fewer than the 100 missiles that officials had estimated earlier in the morning. Officials said 54 missiles were intercepted.
“The Kremlin continues its escalating campaign of missile attacks, cruelly wielding cold & dark against” Ukrainians, U.S. Embassy officials said on Twitter. “Families are again hunkering down as critical infrastructure & other targets across the country are attacked.”
Air raid sirens started wailing before 6 a.m. local time across Ukraine, sending residents scrambling into underground shelters in several cities. Missiles landed in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Lviv and Zhtomyr.
Ukraine’s defense systems intercepted some missiles, including 16 that were shot down near Kyiv, the capital, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. Two homes in Kyiv were damaged by falling debris and three people were injured, he said.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said Russia had been “saving one of the most massive missile attacks since the beginning of the full-scale invasion for the last days of the year.”
“They dream that Ukrainians will celebrate the New Year in darkness and cold,” officials said.
Dec 29, 2:29 AM EST
More than 100 Russian missiles fired at Ukraine
Russian forces early on Thursday launched a missile strike on Ukraine.
More than 100 rockets were fired in several waves, Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said on Twitter. Some rockets were reportedly fired from carriers in the sea, while others were reportedly fired by at least a dozen fighter aircraft.
Another presidential advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Twitter that more than 120 missiles had been launched “by the ‘evil Russian world’ to destroy critical infrastructure & kill civilians en masse.”
At least one loud explosion was heard in Kyiv, where air raid sirens were ringing for several hours on Thursday morning.
Dec 28, 1:58 PM EST
Kremlin rejects Ukraine’s Feburary ‘peace summit’
Russia has rejected a proposal from Ukraine to hold a “peace summit” in February, according to a Kremlin official.
“There is no ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine for now, that’s for starters,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wenderday. “Besides, there can be no ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine, which disregards today’s realities on Russian territory, the entry of new regions, four of them, into Russia.”
Peskov was apparently referring to recent Ukrainian drone attacks inside Russia, including one this week at the Engels Air Force Base in southern Russia that killed three Russian soldiers.
-ABC News’ William Gretsky
Dec 27, 1:13 PM EST
Putin bans sending Russian oil to countries imposing a price cap
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Tuesday that not only rejects a price cap on the country’s oil but bans sending crude and other petroleum products to any country that has endorsed the price cap.
The Group of Seven countries, including the United States, agreed on Dec. 3 to impose a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian oil in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Australia and the European Union also agreed to impose the price cap.
The decree Putin signed goes into effect on Feb. 1 and is valid until July 1, 2023.
The decree bans the supply of oil and oil products from Russia to those countries that place a price ceiling on contracts. The decree also forbids the supply of oil to other foreign buyers whose contracts use a price cap mechanism.
The decree includes a clause allowing Putin to overrule the ban in special cases to be determined by the Russian leader.
The price cap on Russian oil implemented by G-7 nations disallows the world’s second-largest oil exporter from selling crude at a price above $60 per barrel.
Since the outset of its war with Ukraine, Russia has sold its oil at discounted prices. As of Tuesday, Russian Urals crude was trading at $57 per barrel — an amount slightly less than the cap. But the price cap aims to ensure that Russian oil sales remain well below global oil prices, which stand at about $80 per barrel.
-ABC News’ William Gretsky
Dec 26, 7:40 AM EST
Ukraine strikes bomber base in Russia, killing three
A Ukrainian drone attack on the Engels Air Force Base in southern Russia killed three, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said.
A spokesman for Ukrainian Air Force confirmed the attack, saying, “If the Russians thought the war would not touch them they were wrong.”
Russian air defence reportedly shot down a Ukrainian drone flying at low altitude, but falling debris caused the casualties in the overnight attack.
The Engels base lies just over 300 miles northeast of Ukraine’s border with Russia. The facility has been repeatedly used by Russia to carry out missile strikes on targets in Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces had attacked another Russian air base on Dec. 5, killing three and damaging two strategic bombers.
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