Russia-Ukraine updates: Putin says war was ‘unleashed’ on Russia

The Russian president delivered his annual Victory Day speech.

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.

For previous coverage, please click here.

Putin says Ukraine war was 'unleashed' on Russia

During his annual Victory Day speech in Moscow's Red Square on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the Ukraine war was "unleashed" on Russia and blamed "Western global elites" while calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a puppet.

Putin also directly compared his ongoing war in Ukraine to the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, which is what Victory Day commemorates. He claimed that Russia "once again" was fighting for "civilization" and he painted a topsy-turvy picture that Moscow wants peace with all nations.

"Today, the civilization is once again at a decisive, turning point and an actual war has been unleashed against our homeland again," Putin said. "But we fended off international terrorism, we will protect residents of Donbas too and ensure our security."

Putin's speech made clear once more that the Russian president has no intention of negotiating currently or scaling back his ambitions to defeat Ukraine.

However, the Victory Day military parade in Moscow was a significantly shrunken version of itself on Tuesday, compared with previous years, due to Russia's huge losses in Ukraine and its urgent need for equipment. There appeared to be approximately 50 military vehicles taking part in this year's event compared with 130 during the 2019 parade. Tuesday's parade was also comprised of nearly all high armored vehicles, similar to Humvees.

The flypast part of the event, which usually involves helicopters and fighter jets, was cancelled on Tuesday despite clear, sunny skies in the Russian capital. But perhaps what was most notable was the cancelling of the parade in at least 24 Russian cities due to security concerns that Ukrainian forces might be able to strike them, likely because of Russia's shortages of troops and equipment.

-ABC News' Patrick Reevell

Air raid sirens go off across Ukraine, air defense activated in Kyiv

Air raid sirens went off across Ukraine around 5 a.m. local time Tuesday.

Air defense systems were activated in the Kyiv region.

The Russian airstrike on Kyiv was the "fifth air attack" on the capital since the beginning of May, the Kyiv City Military Administration said on Telegram.

About 15 Russian missiles were launched at Kyiv and intercepted by the Ukrainian air defenses around Kyiv with "no casualties and major damage," the city military administration added.-ABC News' Yulia Drozd and Yuriy Zaliznyak

4 injured in Kyiv from drone debris in Russian strike

Four people were injured from falling debris after a Russian drone was shot down above Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

Three of the people injured were at the site of the explosion in Solomyanskyi district of Kyiv, and one was in the Svyatoshynskyi district of Kyiv, where wreckage fell on a residential building, the mayor added.

Debris also fell on runway at the Zhulyany airport in the Solomyansky district of Kyiv, the head of the Kyiv City Military Administration Serhiy Popko said on Telegram.

In Odesa, Russian troops launched a missile attack from strategic aircraft, Ukrainian Operational Command South said on Facebook. The X-22-type rockets used by the Russians were "aimed at one of the food companies and recreational zones on the Black Sea coast," the Operational Command South said.

Rescue services are working to put fires out, and no information about the number of people injured was immediately available, they added.

-ABC News' Max Uzol and Natalia Kushniir

Russia launches widespread air attack on Ukraine

Air alert sirens went off in several regions of Ukraine late Sunday evening as Russian forces launched a widespread airstrike on the country.

Air alert sirens went off in central and southeastern Ukraine, including in the Odesa, Kyiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions of Ukraine.

Kh-22 missiles were launched toward Odesa, unofficial Telegram channels reported. The air defense systems were activated in response to the attack and repeated explosions were heard in the area, unofficial channels reported.

-ABC News' Max Uzol and Anastasia Bagaeva

Russia suffered 100K casualties since December: White House

The U.S. estimates that Russia has suffered over 100,000 casualties, including over 20,000 killed in action, since it stepped up its winter offensive in December, a White House National Security Council told ABC News.

Half of the 20,000 killed in action were members of the Russian-backed private military Wagner Group, according to White House spokesman John 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 had earlier told reporters that the Russian casualties took place from battles in Bakhmut since December, however, the National Security Council member said the data encompasses all winter battles.

Many, but not all, of these Russians were injured or killed in the Bakhmut fighting, according to the official.

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