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. Ukraine has begun its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia, officials told ABC News.
Multiple reports have said a major battle has begun in southeastern Ukraine, south of the major Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.
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Russian missiles strike Zelenskyy's hometown, killing 11
At least 11 people were killed and 28 were injured in Kryvyi Rih, as Russian missiles targeted the city overnight, Ukrainian officials said.
Missiles hit residential buildings, including a five-story apartment building, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook post early Tuesday morning local time.
"More terrorist missiles, Russian killers continue their war against residential buildings, ordinary cities and people," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in Ukrainian on Twitter.
One of the Russian missiles that struck Kryvyi Rih hit a storage facility with bottled water destined for Kherson region. Seven people were killed there, including a 17-year-old boy.
Russia also attacked Kyiv with cruise missiles overnight into Tuesday morning. All of the cruise missiles were shot down, the Kyiv city military administration said on Telegram
Air raid sirens were activated across Ukraine early Tuesday morning.
-ABC News' Yulia Drozd, Joe Simonetti and Ellie Kaufman
Belarus says it's started taking delivery of Russian nuclear weapons
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed his country has begun receiving tactical nuclear weapons from Russia, according to Reuters. This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that nukes would be deployed to Belarus in July.
Lukashenko claimed the weapons were three times more powerful than the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, according to Reuters.
But, western officials told reporters that they have seen nothing to indicate that Russia is already deploying nuclear weapons to Belarus, as Lukashenko has claimed, saying that they are tracking this very closely.
The officials also stressed that if Belarus were to receive tactical nuclear weapons, it would not change the threat posed by Russia, given that Russia has an extensive nuclear arsenal and deploying nukes in Belarus does little to change the geographical/range nature of the threat.
The officials described the move by Moscow as grandstanding and suggested it was no coincidence that Putin had previously said nukes would be delivered to Belarus just a matter of days before a key NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, which will focus heavily on Ukraine and Ukraine's future relationship with NATO.
White House announces new $325M security aid package for Ukraine
The Biden administration announced on Tuesday a new security assistance package for Ukraine valued at up to $325 million.
The package includes "key capabilities" such as Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Stryker armored personnel carriers, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-armor systems and more than 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition "to help Ukraine retake its sovereign territory," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during a press briefing.
The latest package marks the 40th drawdown of equipment from Department of Defense inventories using presidential authority, she said.
-ABC News' Molly Nagle
Ukraine makes 1st small gains in counteroffensive
Ukraine is making its first notable advances since the start of its counteroffensive, in the past two days rapidly compelling Russian forces to pull back from three villages on the southern front line.
Russian and Ukrainian public sources confirm Ukraine has liberated the villages in the area known as the Vremeyevskoe salient, at the border of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.
The advances are still small but notable because they show Ukraine beginning to pierce Russia’s defensive line. Since liberating the villages, Ukraine is continuing to push south toward another village, according to Russian pro-war bloggers linked to Russia’s military.
Russia’s pro-war military bloggers are sounding the alarm about the Ukrainian advances. Russian units were forced to pull back from two villages, Neskuchnoe and Blagodatnoe, almost without a fight because of the risk of encirclement.
-ABC News' Patrick Reevell
Zelenskyy makes 1st comments on counteroffensive
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made his first public comments on Ukraine's counteroffensive, which began earlier this week.
"Counteroffensive and defensive actions, accordingly, are taking place in Ukraine, on which stage, I won’t say in detail," Zelenskyy said.
"I think we should trust our militaries. And I trust them. I am in touch with our commanders of different areas every day: Syrskyi, Tarnavskyi, Moskaliov, Nayev, Zaluzhnyi. Everyone is optimistic. Pass this to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," he added.