UPDATE: Russia claims to have taken Kherson, making it first major city to fall

Ukrainian servicemen get ready to repel an attack in Ukraine's Lugansk region on Feb. 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, killing dozens and forcing hundreds to flee for their lives in the pro-Western neighbor. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
Ukrainian servicemen get ready to repel an attack in Ukraine's Lugansk region on Feb. 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, killing dozens and forcing hundreds to flee for their lives in the pro-Western neighbor. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Update, 4:34 p.m. EST, March 2

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday Russian troops have taken the Ukrainian port city of Kherson, according to the Associated Press.

The Ukrainian military denied that claim, and an anonymous U.S. official said, "Kherson is very much a contested city at this point."

Konashenkov said talks between Russian commanders and city officials on how to maintain order were underway Wednesday, but there was no immediately verification of the claim.

Update, 11:15 a.m. EST, Feb. 27

Russian forces began pushing into Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, early Sunday, a move that was met with resistance from Ukrainian troops. Kharkiv Governor Oblast Oleh Synegubov said, after fighting overnight, Ukraine eventually regained control of Kharkiv, and that "the city is being completely cleansed of the enemy."

According to Ukraine's Defense Ministry, as of Feb. 27 Russia has lost approximately 4,300 troops, 27 planes, 26 helicopters, 146 tanks and 706 armored personnel carriers.

In a televised meeting with his defense minister and chief of the military's General Staff, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear deterrent forces on high alert, meaning he wants Russia's nuclear weapons to be "prepared for increased readiness to launch", according to the Associated Press.

After this move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office said Ukraine was ready for talks with Russia on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. Russian officials originally wanted the meeting to be held in Belarus, but Zelenskyy denied that request.

Zelenskyy said in a statement, "We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River."

Update, 12:09 p.m. EST, Feb. 26

Russian forces continued their advance on Ukraine Saturday, with Ukrainian forces continuing to mount a resistance. Street fighting broke out in Kyiv overnight as Russian troops stormed toward the city and residents began taking shelter, according to the Associated Press.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine minister of foreign affairs, said a Russian missile hit a residential building in Kyiv last night, prompting Kuleba to "demand the world [to] fully isolate Russia."

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko imposed a curfew from 5 p.m. Eastern European Time Saturday Feb. 26 to 8 a.m. EET Monday Feb. 28. He said that "all civilians who are on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance groups."

Update, 6:10 p.m. EST, Feb. 25

Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have told the country to stop invading Ukraine and withdraw all troops immediately. While this veto was expected, the United States hoped it would indicate Russia's isolation and the rest of the U.N.'s dedication to peace.

China, India and the United Arab Emirates all abstained from voting, making the final count 11-1.

Update, 10:44 a.m. EST, Feb. 25

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced President Joe Biden has designated DHS as the lead federal agency "to coordinate domestic preparedness and response efforts related to the current Russia-Ukraine crisis."

There are no specific threats to the U.S. at this time, but DHS is taking "appropriate steps to ensure Federal efforts are coordinated should the need arise."

DHS also encourages all U.S. organizations to improve their physical and cyber resilience at this time.

Update, 9:32 a.m. EST, Feb. 25

The Russian military has claimed it has taken control of a strategic airport just outside Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, a move that comes as Russian forces begin circling into the city, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The airport in Hostomel, just 4 miles outside of Kyiv, would allow Russia to begin airlifting troops directly to Kyiv's outskirts.

However, despite Russia signaling a full-scale invasion of Kyiv, the Kremlin said Friday it's ready to send a delegation to Belarus to talk with Ukrainian officials about that country's neutral status, according to AP. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has offered to discuss reconsidering his country's bid to join NATO.

Update, 8:37 p.m. EST, Feb. 24

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a televised update that his family is in hiding and that, as of Thursday evening, at least 137 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been killed as a result of the invasion.

Update, 3:52 p.m. EST, Feb. 24

Viktor Lyashko, Ukraine's health minister, said 57 Ukrainians have been killed as a result of the Russian invasion, with 169 more wounded.

Update, 1:14 p.m. EST, Feb. 24

Ukrainian officials said Russia has taken control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, according to the Associated Press. Chernobyl was the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history in 1986.

Original story, 12:32 p.m. EST, Feb. 24

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine in a public television address at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Wednesday Feb. 23.

Putin said his plan with the operation is to “demilitarize” the country.

Minutes after the address, explosions were reported in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital; Kharkiv; and Odesa, according to the Associated Press.

Oleksiy Arestovich, advisor to Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy, said more than 40 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and dozens wounded as of Thursday morning.

Zelenskyy declared martial law after the initial attack and urged Ukrainians to stay home and stay calm. 

Putin also issued a warning to other countries not to intervene in Russia’s actions.

“Anyone who tries to interfere with us, or even more so, to create threats for our country and our people, must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced before in your history,” Putin said in his public address.

United States President Joe Biden called the actions “unprovoked and unjustified” in a written statement Wednesday night.

“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said. “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a unified and decisive way.”

Biden said he plans to meet with Group of Seven leaders Thursday, after which he will address Americans to discuss consequences the U.S. will impose on Russia.

This story will be updated.


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