(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” into neighboring Ukraine began on Feb. 24, with Russian forces invading from Belarus, to the north, and Russia, to the east. Ukrainian troops have offered “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.
The Russian military has since launched a full-scale ground offensive in eastern Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, capturing the strategic port city of Mariupol and securing a coastal corridor to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jun 06, 9:05 am
Russia beefs up air defense on Snake Island
Russia has likely moved multiple air defense assets, including SA-15 and SA-22 missile systems, to Snake Island in the western Black Sea, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said Monday in an intelligence update.
The move follows the loss of the Russian warship Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
“It is likely these weapons are intended to provide air defence for Russian naval vessels operating around Snake Island,” the ministry added. “Russia’s activity on Snake Island contributes to its blockade of the Ukrainian coast and hinders the resumption of maritime trade, including exports of Ukrainian grain.”
Russian forces captured Ukraine’s Snake Island in the early days of the invasion, memorably when Ukrainian soldiers defending the tiny islet told an attacking Russian warship to “go f— yourself.” Ukrainian troops have failed in their attempts to retake the previously inconsequential territory.
Meanwhile, in eastern Ukraine’s contested Donbas region, heavy fighting continues in the war-torn city of Sieverodonetsk, according to the ministry.
“Russian forces continue to push towards Sloviansk as part of their attempted encirclement of Ukrainian force,” the ministry said.
And in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russian air-launched cruise missiles struck rail infrastructure Sunday in the early morning hours, “likely in an attempt [to] disrupt the supply of Western military equipment to frontline Ukrainian units,” according to the ministry.
Jun 05, 3:39 pm
Russian missiles target Kyiv
After five weeks of relative calm in Kyiv, Russian rockets hit Ukraine’s capital city on Sunday as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of strikes on “new targets” if the United States goes through with plans to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles.
Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar said the war is still in its “hot phase” and “capturing Kyiv is still Russia’s main goal.”
An ABC News crew visited Kyiv’s Darnytskyy district, where several Russian cruise missiles slammed into a railway repair plant. One building was still on fire when the ABC News crew arrived. Nearby, another missile strike left a creater on a cement path.
It took hours before Ukrainian authorities permitted media access to the site, saying the area needed to be cleared for safety first.
The Russians claimed the attack in Darnystskyy destroyed military vehicles and armaments. Ukrainian officials said the missiles hit a railway repair plant where no tanks were stored.
Speaking on Russian TV on Sunday, Putin issued a warning to the West on supplying the Ukrainians with high-powered rocket systems. He said if the West carried through with it, Russia would hit “new targets they had not attacked before.”
Jun 05, 7:05 am
Putin warns of strikes if West supplies longer-range missiles
President Vladimir Putin warned that Russian forces would strike new targets if the West began supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles.
“But if they [missiles] are actually delivered, we will draw appropriate conclusions and apply our own weapons, which we have in sufficient quantities to carry out strikes on targets we aren’t striking yet,” Putin told Rossyia 1 TV Channel in an interview on Sunday.
-ABC News’ Tanya Stukalova and Tomek Rolski
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