(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.
The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”
Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have advanced closer to the city center in recent days despite the resistance. Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Kyiv, as well as major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol. Russia also bombed western cities for the first time last week, targeting Lviv and a military base near the Poland border.
Russia has been met by sanctions from the United States, Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting the Russian economy as well as Putin himself.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Mar 29, 7:02 am
Kremlin confirms Abramovich’s involvement in peace talks
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is taking part in Russian-Ukrainian negotiations at the approval of both parties, although he is not an official member of the Russian delegation, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“Abramovich has been engaged in ensuring certain contacts between the Russian and the Ukrainian side,” Peskov said during a daily call with reporters Tuesday. “He is not an official delegation member.”
“Nevertheless, he is also present on our side in Istanbul,” Peskov added, referring to the peace talks currently underway in Turkey’s capital.
Abramovich’s participation in the negotiations has been endorsed by both sides, according to Peskov.
Peskov said it will be clear “today or tomorrow whether [the talks] hold some promise or not.”
Mar 29, 6:59 am
Ukrainian soldiers patrol streets of Irpin after claims of liberation
Ukrainian soldiers were seen patrolling the streets of Irpin on Tuesday, following claims that the besieged Kyiv suburb has been “liberated” from Russian forces.
Video released by the Ukrainian military and verified by ABC News shows their troops driving through Irpin, a northwestern suburb of Kyiv where some of the heaviest fighting near the Ukrainian capital has taken place.
Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn announced in a video posted to Telegram on Monday that “Irpin has been liberated.”
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government released video on Tuesday showing elderly people who had been evacuated from Irpin arriving in Kyiv, where they reunited with their families.
The footage purportedly shows 86-year-old Irpin resident Olga Molchanova being embraced by her daughter and son. Molchanova’s adult children had evacuated Irpin earlier via a humanitarian corridor, but their parents refused to leave at the time, according to Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communication and Information Security (Stratcom).
“Recaptured by Ukrainian army, Irpin remains too dangerous for civilians to stay,” Stratcom said in a post on Twitter alongside the video.
Mar 29, 6:16 am
Abramovich attends peace talks after suspected poisoning
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich is taking part in Tuesday’s in-person negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Turkey’s capital, a Turkish presidential source told ABC News.
Abramovich is the owner of the English professional football club Chelsea. The U.K. government has included him among the wealthy Russians targeted in recent sanctions.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, that Abramovich and two Ukrainian negotiators suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning after peace talks in Kyiv in early March.
A Turkish presidential source told ABC News that Abramovich suspected he was poisoned after experiencing eye problems.
Turkish officials confirmed there is a discussion regarding the food protocols during Tuesday’s negotiations in Istanbul.
Mar 29, 6:12 am
Ukraine warns delegation not to eat or drink at talks
Ukraine is warning its delegation against eating or drinking while attending in-person peace talks with Russian negotiators, amid fears of potential poisoning.
“I advise to everyone who’s going to any negotiations with Russia, not to eat or drink anything, and also not to touch any surfaces,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement Tuesday.
The warning came a day after The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources, that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and two Ukrainian negotiators had suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning following peace talks in Kyiv in early March.
Mar 29, 3:22 am
Talks between Russia, Ukraine begin in Turkey
The latest round of in-person peace negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian delegations kicked off in Istanbul on Tuesday morning, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in attendance.
Erdogan addressed both sides with a brief speech before the talks began.
“Establishing a cease-fire and peace as soon as possible will be to everyone’s benefit. We think that we’ve entered a period where we need to achieve concrete results from negotiations,” Erdogan said. “As members of the delegations, you’ve taken on a historic responsibility. The whole world is awaiting the good news that will come from you.”
Footage showing the start of the meeting was broadcast by Russian state-backed television channel RT.
Tuesday’s negotiations are taking place in Dolmabahce Palace in the Besiktas district of Turkey’s capital, according to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Agency. It’s the first face-to-face talks to take place between Russia and Ukraine in more than two weeks.
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