(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.
The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”
Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have advanced closer to the city center in recent days despite the resistance. Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Kyiv, as well as major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol. Russia also bombed western cities for the first time this week, targeting Lviv and a military base near the Poland border.
Russia has been met by sanctions from the United States, Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting the Russian economy as well as Putin himself.
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Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Mar 17, 12:35 pm
Biden calls Putin’s actions ‘inhumane’ in talk with Irish Taoiseach
During a virtual bilat with Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Thursday, President Joe Biden said the world is “united” as Russia’s invasion in Ukraine continues.
“We have to be united and we certainly are,” Biden said. “But Putin’s brutality and what he’s doing, and his troops are doing in Ukraine, is just inhumane.”
The Taoiseach told Biden, “I share with you our horror at the barbaric attack on the civilians,” and said Biden’s leadership through this has been “firm,” “determined” and “strong.”
Biden commended Ireland for taking in Ukrainian refugees, saying it “speaks so loudly about your principles.”
-ABC News’ Justin Ryan Gomez
Mar 17, 8:49 am
Biden to speak with Chinese President Xi on Friday
President Joe Biden will speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday about “Russia’s war against Ukraine,” among other topics, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
It’s the first time the two will speak since Russia’s invasion began and it follows National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s seven-hour face-to-face meeting in Rome with his Chinese counterpart earlier this week.
The U.S. has been ramping up its warnings to China over concerns that it could assist Moscow with military equipment and other aid.
Mar 17, 6:59 am
Russia ‘stalled on all fronts,’ UK military says
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “largely stalled on all fronts,” the UK Ministry of Defence said on Thursday.
“Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or are in recent days and they continue to suffer heavy losses,” the Ministry said in an update posted to Twitter.
The Ukrainian resistance “remains staunch and well-coordinated,” the update said.
“The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remain in Ukrainian hands,” the Ministry said.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 17 March 2022
Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/OdjSV0U43C
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/gxOTw78P0M
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 17, 2022
Mar 16, 9:00 pm
Theater sheltering civilians hit by Russian airstrikes, Ukrainian official says
A Ukrainian official claimed Wednesday that Russian airstrikes destroyed a theater in the besieged city of Mariupol where civilians were taking shelter.
The number of victims from the bombing of the Donetsk Regional Theatre of Drama “is impossible to count,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Region administration, said in a Facebook post.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during an address tonight that hundreds of people were hiding in the theater and that the death toll is still unknown.
“Russia is killing civilians!” Kyrylenko said, adding that it is also “impossible to determine” the number of victims in Mariupol since the start of the invasion.
The city has been burying its dead in a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol as it endures heavy shelling.
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