(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 earlier this month launched a full-scale ground offensive in eastern Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, as it attempts to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol and secure a coastal corridor to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

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

Apr 26, 1:29 pm
UN General Assembly unanimously adopts new rule on veto powers

The U.N. General Assembly — where all 193 countries have a vote — has unanimously adopted a resolution that creates a new accountability mechanism.

Now, whenever a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council uses its veto power to block a resolution, it will automatically trigger a debate in the General Assembly within 10 days.

The move was made primarily in response to Russia’s veto power, which the country has used repeatedly to sink resolutions about its own aggression. It has paralyzed the ability of the Security Council, the United Nation’s most powerful body, to check Russia.

The United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom are the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, while the ten other seats rotate and are won by election.

The United States and Liechtenstein co-sponsored the resolution, with the tiny European country tweeting, “Together we have made sure today that a veto is no longer the last word on issues of peace and security.”

-ABC News’ Conor Finnegan

Apr 26, 12:19 pm
US to meet with NATO allies monthly as Defense Secretary Austin conveys urgency in Ukraine

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said meetings like the one on Tuesday with more than 40 NATO allies and other partner nations will now occur monthly.

“To ensure that we continue to build on our progress, we’re going to extend this forum beyond today,” Austin said during a news conference at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

“I’m proud to announce that today’s gathering will become a monthly contact group on Ukraine’s self-defense,” he said.

The meetings will focus on strengthening Ukraine’s military both in the short and long terms, Austin said.

“The contact group will be a vehicle for nations of good will to intensify our efforts and coordinate our assistance and focus on winning today’s fight and the struggles to come,” Austin said. “The monthly meetings may be in person, virtual, or mixed.”

Austin, who visited Ukraine on Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, praised Tuesday’s meeting with NATO allies, saying, “We’re all coming away with a transparent and shared understanding of a challenge that Ukrainians face.”

Austin conveyed a sense of urgency for the international community to help the Ukrainians.

“I applaud all of the countries that have risen, and are rising, to this moment,” he said. “But we don’t have any time to waste. The briefings today laid out clearly why the coming weeks will be so crucial for Ukraine. So, we’ve got to move at the speed of war.”

Austin thanked Germany for hosting Tuesday’s meeting and for offering to send Ukraine 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft systems. He also thanked the United Kingdom for its announcement Monday that it would provide Ukraine additional anti-aircraft capabilities.

“We held an important session today with long-term support for Ukraine’s defenses, including what that will take from our defense industrial bases,” Austin said. “That means dealing with the tremendous demand that we’re facing for munitions and weapons platforms, and giving our staunch support to Ukraine while also meeting our own requirements, and those of our allies and partners.”

-ABC News’ Matt Syler

Apr 26, 10:53 am
‘People’s Friendship’ statue taken down in Kyiv

A Soviet-era statue that has stood in the capital of Ukraine since 1982 and once symbolized the friendship between Russia and Ukraine was taken down on Tuesday in response to the war between the two countries.

An ABC News crew was on-hand in Kyiv as a large crane removed the bronze “People’s Friendship” statue from its pedestal.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the statue, a gift from the former Soviet Union, is being dismantled because of the “brutal killing and a desire to destroy our state.”

The statue depicts two workers, a Russian and a Ukrainian, holding up a Soviet Order of Friendship of Peoples. The monument was dedicated in November 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the USSR and the 1,500th anniversary of Kyiv.

Klitschko said a 164-foot-tall titanium rainbow-shaped arch the statue rested under will remain and be illuminated with the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

-ABC News’ Marcus Moore

Apr 26, 7:07 am
US gathers NATO allies in Germany for Ukraine aid talks

The U.S. will “keep moving heaven and earth” to supply aid to Ukraine, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday at a meeting of the Ukraine Security Consultive Group, which includes military representatives from about 40 countries.

“Ukraine clearly believes it can win. And so does everyone here,” Austin said in his opening remarks at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. “I know that we’re all determined to do everything we can to support Ukraine’s needs as the fight evolves.”

Austin said the group would seek to leave with a common understanding of “Ukraine’s near term security requirements, because we’re going to keep moving heaven and earth so that we can meet them.”

He called Russia’s war with Ukraine “indefensible,” adding that Putin didn’t “imagine the world [would] rally behind Ukraine’s so swiftly and so surely.”

Apr 26, 6:08 am
Russia attempts to encircle Ukrainian positions in east, UK says

Russian forces appeared to be moving to encircle “heavily fortified” Ukrainian positions in the east, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.

“The city of Kreminna has reportedly fallen and heavy fighting is reported south of Izium, as Russian forces attempt to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and east,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

Ukrainian forces in Zaporizhzhia were preparing for an attack from the south, the ministry said.

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