Russia-Ukraine live updates: US calls Kremlin drone accusation ‘ludicrous’

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(NEW YORK) — More than a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the countries are fighting for control of areas in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s forces are readying a spring counteroffensive, but Putin appears to be preparing for a long and bloody war.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 04, 8:21 AM EDT
US calls Kremlin drone accusation ‘ludicrous’

Responding to Russia’s accusation that the U.S. was behind Wednesday’s drone attack on the Kremlin, White House spokesperson John Kirby said it was a “ludicrous claim.”

“There’s a word that comes to mind that I’m obviously not — not appropriate to using on national TV,” Kirby said on CNN on Thursday.

“I will just tell you Mr. Peskov is lying, and I mean, that’s obviously, it’s a ludicrous claim,” he added. “The United States had nothing to do with this. We don’t even know exactly what happened here, Kaitlin. But I can assure you, the United States had no role in it whatsoever.”

Kirby said the U.S. does not have any information on who is behind the strike but are “trying to learn more about this as best we can.”

May 04, 6:44 AM EDT
Kremlin blames US for drone attack in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman accused the United States of being involved in the drone attack on the Kremlin on Wednesday.

“We understand well that the decision about such terror attacks are taken not in Kyiv, but in Washington,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a briefing. “Often targets are determined not in Kyiv but in Washington. They don’t Kyiv the right everytime in choosing the means. In Washington they also clearly understand that we know that.”

He added, “Without question. Such decisions — the determining of targets and means — are all dictated to Kyiv from Washington.”

Peskov said it was important that Washington understand the “danger” of such involvement in an attack.

May 04, 12:08 AM EDT
Russia attacks Kyiv with drones and missiles; no casualties or injuries reported

Russian forces launched a “complex air strike” with “drones and missiles” on Kyiv early Thursday morning, the Kyiv City Military Administration said on Telegram.

The air raid siren went off in Kyiv for three and a half hours during the attack, the Kyiv City Military Administration said.

There were no casualties or injuries from the strikes.

“According to preliminary information, all the missiles and UAVs were destroyed,” the Kyiv City Military Administration added.

This was the third attack on the capitol in four days, the administration said.

May 03, 5:11 PM EDT
US Embassy in Ukraine warns of ‘ongoing heightened threat of missile attacks’

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine sent an alert to Americans on Wednesday warning of an “ongoing heightened threat of missile attacks,” including in Kyiv.

“In light of the recent uptick in strikes across Ukraine and inflammatory rhetoric from Moscow, the Department of State cautions U.S. citizens of an ongoing heightened threat of missile attacks, including in Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast,” the alert stated.

The U.S. Embassy urged U.S. citizens to follow guidance from local authorities and to observe air alarms and shelter appropriately.

May 03, 2:43 PM EDT
At least 21 killed in Kherson region shelling: Ukrainian officials

At least 21 people were killed and 48 injured by shelling in the Kherson region on Wednesday, Ukrainian officials said, as the death toll continues to rise.

A railway station and market in the city of Kherson were hit in strikes, which occurred across the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, officials said.

“A railway station and a crossing, a house, a hardware store, a grocery supermarket, a gas station — do you know what unites these places? The bloody trail that [Russia] leaves with its shells, killing civilians in Kherson and Kherson region,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Twitter.

All the victims were civilians, Zelenskyy said.

An ambulance was also damaged in the strikes, according to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.

“No military objects here. Just civilians, including children,” Kostin said on Twitter.

At least one person was killed and three injured in the strike on the railway station, officials previously said.

May 03, 2:00 PM EDT
White House announces $300M military aid package for Ukraine

The Biden administration has announced a new $300 million military aid package for Ukraine.

The package includes additional ammunition for U.S.-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, as well as “additional howitzers, artillery and mortar rounds, and anti-armor capabilities that Ukraine is using to push back against Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression,” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

This marks the Biden administration’s 37th drawdown of equipment from Defense Department inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.

May 03, 11:50 AM EDT
At least 12 killed in Kherson shelling: Ukrainian officials

At least 12 people were killed and 22 injured by shelling in Kherson on Wednesday, Ukrainian officials said.

A market and railway station were hit in the strikes in the southern Ukrainian city, according to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin. An ambulance was also damaged, he said.

“No military objects here. Just civilians, including children,” Kostin said on Twitter.

At least one person was killed and three injured in the strike on the railway station, officials said.

Four additional fatalities were reported from shelling throughout the Kherson region Wednesday, officials said.

May 03, 9:48 AM EDT
Zelenskyy denies involvement in Kremlin attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected Russia’s claim that his country was involved in the drone attack on the Kremlin early Wednesday.

Zelenskyy, who is currently in Finland, said the claim was the prelude to a “large-scale terrorist attack” from Russia.

“First of all, Ukraine wages an exclusively defensive war and does not attack targets on the territory of the Russian Federation,” Zelenskyy said in a statement. “What for? This does not solve any military issue. But it gives RF grounds to justify its attacks on civilians.”

Zelenskyy went on to say that various attacks in Russia could be the result of “guerrilla activities of local resistance forces.”

May 03, 8:31 AM EDT
Russia says Ukraine tried to kill Putin in Kremlin with two drones

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has accused Ukraine of trying to strike Putin’s residence in the Kremlin with two drones overnight, but said they were brought down before they could reach their target.

No injuries were reported, Kremlin officials said. Putin was not at the residence at the time, they said.

Videos released on official social media channels appeared to show a drone strike the roof of the Senate Palace at the Kremlin.

The Kremlin said “the Russian side reserves the right to retaliate whenever and wherever it deems necessary.”

May 03, 1:30 AM EDT
Ukrainian drone hits Russian port, causing fire

A Ukrainian drone hit a Tamanneftegaz fuel tank in the Port of Taman, Russia, at about 2:30 a.m. local time Wednesday, Kirill Fedorov, a pro-Russian blogger, said on his Telegram channel. The Port of Taman is in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait.

The fire could be seen in a video circulating online.

Local authorities confirmed the fire, which “has been assigned the highest rank,” the governor of the region said. A tank with petroleum products was hit by the drone and is burning, the governor said. No injuries were reported and there was no threat to residents, he added on his Telegram channel.

May 02, 11:45 PM EDT
All drones targeting Kyiv shot down; third attack on capital in six days

All drones that were used by Russians to attack Kyiv early Wednesday morning local time were shot down by Ukrainian air defense systems, the Kyiv City Military Administration said on Telegram.

There were no reported injuries or casualties, the military administration said.

This was the third attack on Kyiv in six days, the administration added.

May 02, 6:58 PM EDT
Explosions reported in Kyiv

Explosions were reported in Kyiv around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday local time, according to Suspilne, the Ukrainian public broadcaster.

The Ukrainian Air Defense Forces were activated in response, the Kyiv City Military Administration reported.

S-300 missiles belonging to Ukrainian Armed Forces were hit in Zaporizhzhia, the spokesman of the Odesa Regional Military Administration, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on Telegram.

Reports of damage, and number of people injured or killed were not immediately available.

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman and Max Uzol

May 02, 6:12 PM EDT
Explosions reported in Kyiv

Explosions were reported in Kyiv around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday local time, according to Suspilne, the Ukrainian public broadcaster.

The Ukrainian Air Defense Forces were activated in response, the Kyiv City Military Administration reported.

Reports of damage, and number of people injured or killed were not immediately available.

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman and Max Uzol

May 02, 12:38 PM EDT
Marine veteran killed while evacuating civilians in Ukraine

A 26-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran was killed in a mortar strike last month in Ukraine while working to evacuate civilians, his family confirmed to ABC News this week.

Cooper Andrews died on April 19 in the Bakhmut area, his cousin Willow Pastard, who is speaking on his family’s behalf, told ABC News.

The State Department announced Monday that an American citizen died in Ukraine, though did not provide more details or an identity “out of respect for the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

“We are in touch with the family and providing all possible consular assistance,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.

At least nine deaths of U.S. citizens who have volunteered to fight in Ukraine have been officially reported since the war began last year, according to the State Department.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

May 01, 3:54 PM EDT
2 dead, 40 wounded in latest Russian strikes

Two men were killed and at least 40 people, including children, were injured after Russian missiles struck Pavlograd, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials said.

Serhii Lysak, the head of the military administration of the Dnipropetrovsk, said 19 high-rise buildings, 25 private houses, six schools and preschool education institutions and five shops were hit by the missiles.

Five children were among the wounded officials said. The youngest victim is 8 years old, according to officials.

-ABC News’ Wil Gretsky

May 01, 3:07 PM EDT
Russia suffered 100K casualties in Bakhmut since December: White House

The U.S. estimates that Russia has suffered over 100,000 casualties, including over 20,000 killed in action, from the battles in Bakhmut since December, White House spokesman John Kirby said Monday

Half of the 20,000 killed in action were members of the Russian-backed private military Wagner Group, according to Kirby. The majority of Wagner fighters killed were allegedly ex-convicts, according to Kirby.

Kirby said that the data came from “some downgraded intelligence,” that the U.S. has been able to collect. He was unable to provide data on deaths of Ukrainian fighters.

Kirby emphasized that the U.S. thinks Bakhmut holds “very little strategic value for Russia” and if captured by Russia it “would absolutely not alter the course of the war in Russia’s favor.”

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

May 01, 1:41 PM EDT
State Department confirms US citizen dies in Ukraine

The State Department announced Monday that an American citizen died in Ukraine.

“We are in touch with the family and providing all possible consular assistance,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.

The State Department declined to provide more details or an identity “out of respect for the family’s privacy during this difficult time.” It is not immediately clear when the death took place.

At least 10 U.S. citizen deaths in Ukraine have been officially confirmed by the State Department since the war began last year. The majority of those deaths were of Americans who volunteered to fight alongside Ukrainians, according to officials.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

Apr 30, 5:48 PM EDT
Russian missile attack in Dnipropetrovsk region hits Ukrainian cities: Reports

A Russian missile airstrike was reported in different areas of Ukraine Sunday evening.

Sixteen Russian Tu-95 bombers were reported in the air from various airfields and explosions were reported in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine at 10:51 p.m. local time.

“Presumably, Kh-101 cruise missiles are actively flying at the Pavlograd-1 and Pavlograd-2 railway stations, where trains with APU (Ukrainian Armed Forces) equipment and people were located,” a Russian Telegram channel, Military Chronicle, said.

Several explosions were heard in the city of Pavlograd, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, local Ukrainian media reported.

An air alert was announced for the region at 9:30 p.m. local time and about 10:00 p.m., social networks began to report explosions in Pavlograd.

According to local media, repeated explosions were heard in the city at 10:20 p.m.

The strikes destroyed Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles for the S-300 complex on Pavlograd, Russian Telegram channel Intel Slava reported.

S-300s are long-range surface-to-air missiles.

Supply vehicles with reserve ammunition that belong to the Ukrainian Armed Forces were also hit, the channel said, citing eyewitness accounts.

Intel Slava is funded by the Russian government.

“The detonation of rockets has been going on for almost an hour,” the Intel Slava post said.

It’s unclear how many people were injured or killed.

-ABC News’ Fidel Pavlenko and Anastasia Bagaeva

Apr 30, 2:00 PM EDT
Leader of Russian mercenary group threatens mutiny

The Russian oligarch behind the Wagner private paramilitary group fighting for the Kremlin in Ukraine is threatening a mutiny if his forces are not resupplied with ammunition soon.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner and curator of the Wagner group, penned a letter to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigue, demanding ammunition be provided to his forces on the battlefield.

In the letter, Prigozhin wrote that if supply problems are not fixed fast, he will complain to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his mercenaries would abandon their positions in Bakhmut, Ukraine, where heavy fighting has been going on for weeks, The Moscow Times reported.

“I appeal to Shoigu with a request to immediately issue ammunition. In case of refusal, I consider it necessary to convey to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief information about the existing problem in order to make a decision and about the advisability of further presence of Wagner PMC in Bakhmut in the conditions of a shortage of ammunition,” Prigozhin wrote.

He added, “If the deficit is not replenished … we will be forced to withdraw part of the units from this territory, and then everything else will crumble. Therefore, the bell is already ringing — it is called an alarm.”

Emphasizing the urgency, Prigozhin noted that Ukraine is planning to launch a counteroffensive soon.

There was no immediate public response from Shoigu or the Kremlin.

“We need to stop deceiving the population and telling that everything is fine with us,” Prigozhin wrote. “I must honestly say: Russia is on the brink of disaster. If these screws are not adjusted today, the ‘aircraft’ will crumble in the air.”

Apr 30, 12:19 PM EDT
Zelenskyy braces soldiers for battles ‘coming soon’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday wished Ukrainian military forces success in what he described as the “main battles” that are “coming soon.”

Zelenskyy’s statement came a day after he said at a news conference in Kyiv that Ukrainian forces will soon launch a counteroffensive, likely before F-16 fighter jets promised by Western allies arrive.

“Dear warriors, the main battles are coming soon. We must free our land and our people from Russian slavery,” Zelenskyy said at an event where he bestowed medals to members of the county’s Border Guard forces.

Apr 30, 5:52 AM EDT
Counteroffensive expected ahead of Western jet deliveries

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian counteroffensive will start before Ukraine receives F-16 fighter jets promised by Western countries.

“Frankly speaking, it would help us a lot. But we also understand that we can’t drag it [the counteroffensive] out, which is why we’ll start before we receive F-16 [aircrafts] or other models,” Zelenskyy said at a news conference for Scandinavian media held in Kyiv on Saturday, according to a script provided by Reuters.

He added, “But to calm Russia down with the fact that we’d still need a couple of months to train on the aircrafts and only then we’d start; No, this won’t happen. We’ll start and go forward, while at the same time, simultaneously, I think this is very important [to receive western fighter aircrafts.]”

He said Ukraine is “capable of putting an end to this war.”

Also on Saturday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine received a signal from some countries about the readiness to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

According to Kuleba, the F-16 fighter jet is the ideal aircraft due to its technical characteristics, although Kyiv does not overlook other aircraft, either. The minister added that the decisive word on issuing F-16s will be with the United States, because these are American fighters.

-ABC News’ Edward Szekeres and Max Uzol

Apr 29, 1:49 PM EDT
23 dead in Russian attack on high-rise building, 17 saved from rubble

A Russian attack on a high-rise building in Uman has left 23 people dead. Among the dead were six children between the ages of one and 17 years old, according to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, Ihor Volodymyrovych Klymenko.

Rescuers, policemen and volunteers managed to save 17 people from the rubble. Heavy machinery and special equipment were involved, according to officials.

Two more women are considered missing, officials said. But the search and rescue operation has concluded, officials said.

“My sincere condolences to the relatives of the deceased. We will punish this evil. We will not allow it to grow. We will definitely stand up and win,” Klymenko said.

-ABC News’ Tatyana Rymarenko

Apr 28, 12:18 PM EDT
Russian strikes on Ukrainian cities kill 24, including children

Russian airstrikes targeted several cities across Ukraine early Friday, killing at least 24 people, Ukrainian officials said.

The city of Uman in central Ukraine’s Cherkasy Oblast was the worst affected. Several buildings were damaged or destroyed. One of the strikes hit an apartment building, killing at least 22 people, including three children, and injuring another 18 people, according to Cherkasy Oblast Gov. Ihor Taburets. The attack happened at around 4:30 a.m. local time, when most people would have been asleep. An entire section of the nine-story building collapsed, with 27 apartments completely destroyed. There were 109 people who lived in that part of the building, according to Ukrainian police. Rescue teams were expected to spend all day and night searching for survivors in the rubble.

Dnipro, Ukraine’s fourth-largest city and a major industrial hub located in southeastern Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, was hit by “high-precision” strikes in the early morning hours, leaving a woman and a 3-year-old child dead, according to Dnipro Mayor Boris Filatov.

Russian strikes also targeted Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital and largest city, but there were no reports of any casualties or damages. It was the first such attack on the capital in 51 days, according to the Kyiv City Military Administration. Preliminary data shows 11 cruise missiles and two drones were destroyed in Kyiv’s airspace, the city military administration said.

Apr 28, 11:54 AM EDT
Ukraine says it’s ‘ready’ for counteroffensive

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Friday the military is “ready” to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces.

“It’s up to the general staff and the command,” Reznikov said during a press briefing in Kyiv. “We will do it as soon as there is God’s will, the weather and the commanders’ decision.”

Ukraine has received Patriot missile defense systems from the United States as well as Germany and the Netherlands. The Ukrainian military has been trained on how to use the systems and “mastered” them within weeks, according to Reznikov.

“The exact number of batteries, I’m sorry, I won’t say,” he added. “Let the enemy guess.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the world not to consider or call the anticipated counteroffensive “a decisive battle.” Speaking at a press conference in Odesa on Friday, Kuleba said the decisive battle is the one that will lead to the liberation of all occupied Ukrainian territories.

Apr 27, 12:59 PM EDT
Missile strike in Mykolaiv kills 1, wounds 23

One person was killed and 23 people, including a child, were wounded in a Russian missile strike in Mykolaiv early Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The missile struck a block that had apartments, houses and a historic building, according to Zelenskyy.

“The terrorists will not get away with this yet another crime against humanity,” the president said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Apr 26, 12:50 PM EDT
Zelenskyy has 1st call with China’s Xi Jinping since war began

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping in what was the two leaders’ first official contact since January 2022, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Xi announced that he will send a special envoy to visit Ukraine and “other countries” to work on a political solution.

“I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations,” Zelenskyy said in a statement on Twitter.

The Chinese government’s official position still refuses to call the war an “invasion.”

The call between the two leaders is said to have lasted an hour, according to Zelenskyy’s office.

“Before the full-scale Russian invasion, China was Ukraine’s number one trading partner. I believe that our conversation today will give a powerful impetus to the return, preservation and development of this dynamic at all levels,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Karson Yiu, Cindy Smith and Will Gretsky

Apr 25, 1:03 PM EDT
At least 2 dead, 10 injured in strike that hit Ukrainian museum

At least two people were killed and 10 injured after a Russian missile hit a Ukrainian museum Tuesday, officials said.

The local history museum is located in the city center of Kupiansk, in the Kharkiv region.

“The terrorist country is doing everything to destroy us completely. Our history, our culture, our people,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media while sharing a video that showed the damaged building. “Killing Ukrainians with absolutely barbaric methods.”

Apr 24, 5:48 AM EDT
Russian passports pushed on occupied Ukraine

Russian officials have warned Ukrainians in occupied Kherson that they may be “deported” if they don’t accept Russian passports, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said Monday.

“Russia is using passports as a tool in the ‘Russification’ of the occupied areas, as it did in Donetsk and Luhansk before the February 2022 invasion,” the ministry on Twitter.

Residents of Kherson have been warned of penalties for those who don’t accept Russian passports by June 1. Some may be removed from the territory or may have their property seized, according to the U.K.

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