(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” into neighboring Ukraine began on Feb. 24, with Russian troops invading from Belarus, to the north, and Russia, to the east. Russian forces have since been met with “stiff resistance” from Ukrainians, according to U.S. officials.

In recent days, Russian forces have retreated from northern Ukraine, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction. After graphic images emerged of civilians lying dead in the streets of Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv, the United States and European countries accused Russia of committing war crimes.

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

Apr 13, 8:11 pm
Blinken authorizes Pentagon to supply $800M of weapons to Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has authorized the Pentagon to provide $800 million in new military aid to Ukraine that the White House announced earlier Wednesday.

Blinken said that though Ukrainian forces are “regaining ground,” the war is “far from over,” with Russia repositioning itself for renewed attacks in eastern and southern Ukraine.

“The United States, its Allies and partners must take action now to surge additional military assistance as Ukraine prepares for the next phase in the fight for its freedom and its very future,” Blinken said in a statement.

The new package includes increased capabilities, such as sea drones, armored vehicles and long-range artillery, he said.

-ABC News’ Conor Finnegan

Apr 13, 6:15 pm
US moving ‘as quickly as possible’ on latest Ukrainian military aid

The U.S. will be moving “as quickly as possible” to get the latest military aid announced Wednesday into Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

“We will literally start right away,” Kirby told reporters during a briefing Wednesday.

“We’re aware of the clock. And we know time is not our friend,” he continued.

The weapons systems, which include 155 mm howitzer artillery, are intended to help Ukraine fight against Russia in the eastern Donbas region and met requests that came from the Ukrainians, Kirby said.

“We tailored this list specifically to meet the needs that they have asked for, with respect to what’s going on in eastern Ukraine,” said Kirby. “That’s what’s really driving this.”

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Apr 13, 5:46 pm
Biden updates Zelenskyy on US support

President Joe Biden on Wednesday updated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on ongoing efforts the United States is making to provide Ukraine with additional military support, according to the White House.

Biden and Zelenskyy spoke by phone for nearly an hour.

The call comes as the White House is expected to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon an additional military assistance package to Ukraine that could be as much as $750 million and include a range of new military hardware.

During his latest national address, Zelenskyy said they spoke about the package, as well as “the prosecution of all Russian servicemen and commanders who committed war crimes” and international cooperation for such prosecution.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Apr 13, 5:01 pm
Russia threatens to strike ‘decision-making centers’ in Kyiv

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is threatening strikes against Ukrainian “decision-making centers,” including those in the capital of Kyiv, if alleged Ukrainian attacks and sabotage on Russian territory do not stop.

“We see attempts of sabotage and strikes by Ukrainian forces against facilities on Russian Federation territory,” the Russian military said in its daily update of its “special military operation” in Ukraine. “If such cases continue, the Russian Armed Forces will strike at decision-making centers, including in Kyiv, from which the Russian army has so far refrained.”

In its statement, the Russian Armed Forces claimed to have destroyed 36 enemy assets on Wednesday, including two repair bases, two missile-artillery weapon depots and the command post for the 15th Separate Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard.

Apr 13, 4:08 pm
Treasury Secretary Yellen presses China to get Russia to end war

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is pressuring China to convince Russia to end its war in Ukraine, citing the “special relationship” between the two countries.

“I fervently hope that China will make something positive of this relationship and help to end this war,” Yellen said Wednesday during remarks to the Atlantic Council.

Despite a virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping back in March to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, China has remained neutral during the Russian invasion and has refused to openly condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials have said that it does not appear China has assisted with Moscow’s requests for military and economic help.

“Going forward, it will be increasingly difficult to separate economic issues from broader considerations of national interest, including national security,” Yellen said. “The world’s attitude towards China and its willingness to embrace further economic integration may well be affected by China’s reaction to our call for resolute action on Russia.”

Yellen noted that Beijing claims to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity and said now is the time for China to put some weight behind their commitments.

“China cannot expect the global community to respect its appeals to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity in the future if does not respect these principles now when it counts,” Yellen said.

China and India have continued to do business with Russia despite the international condemnation of Putin’s invasion and severe sanctions by the United States and its Western allies.

Yellen warned that any assistance to help Russia undermine or evade sanctions will not be taken lightly.

“Let me now say a few words to those countries who are currently sitting on the fence, perhaps seeing an opportunity to gain by preserving their relationship with Russia and backfilling the void left by others: Such motivations are short-sighted,” Yellen said. “The future of our international order, both for peaceful security and economic prosperity, is at stake. This is an order that benefits us all. And let’s be clear, the unified coalition of sanctioning countries will not be indifferent to actions that undermine the sanctions we’ve put in place.”

-ABC News’ Justin Gomez

Apr 13, 2:36 pm
Biden announces new $800 million in military aid to Ukraine

President Joe Biden officially announced Wednesday that his administration is “authorizing an additional $800 million in weapons, ammunition, and other security assistance to Ukraine.”

Biden made the announcement in a statement released by the White House after he updated Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on the support during a phone call Wednesday morning.

Noting that Russia is preparing to focus its fight in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, Biden said the United States would continue to “provide Ukraine with the capabilities to defend itself.”

“This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine. These new capabilities include artillery systems, artillery rounds, and armored personnel carriers,” Biden said.

He added, “I have also approved the transfer of additional helicopters. In addition, we continue to facilitate the transfer of significant capabilities from our Allies and partners around the world.”

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Apr 13, 2:28 pm
Russia shows more signs of gearing up for new offensive

Russia is staging helicopters, artillery systems and troops in preparation for what is expected to be a renewed offensive in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official said Wednesday.

Russian forces have been using the cities of Belgorod and Valuyki in Russia near Ukraine’s northeast border as primary sites to stage equipment and resupply troops, the official said. The United States is now seeing a third Russian town, Rovenki, also near the Ukraine northeast border, being used for that purpose.

The official said there’s already signs that Russian forces are on the move south to the Donbas region.

“We continue to see units flowing into the northern Luhansk Oblast, that north part of the Donbas,” the official said. “They’re flowing in from Valuyki and from that town called Rovenki.”

The long Russian convoy is heading south and, at last check, was near the city of Izium in eastern Ukraine, according to the official.

Other Russian troops to the south of Izium appear to be working to improve their mobility and firepower in the region, the official said.

“We’ve seen them try to erect a temporary bridge over a local river,” the official said. “They’re increasing their artillery in the area.”

-ABC News’ Matt Seyler

Apr 13, 1:48 pm
Biden updates Zelenskyy on US support

President Joe Biden on Wednesday updated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on ongoing efforts the United States is making to provide Ukraine with additional military support, according to the White House.

Biden and Zelenskyy spoke by phone for nearly an hour, but details of the conversation were not immediately released.

The call comes as the White House is expected to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon an additional military assistance package to Ukraine that could be as much as $750 million and include a range of new military hardware.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Apr 13, 12:29 pm
Bright moment in grim war as puppy pulled from rubble alive

In a brief moment of joy amidst the brutality of war, rescuers in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday pulled a puppy alive from the rubble of a bombed building, authorities said.

The rescue unfolded in Mykhailivka in the Donetsk region, according to the Donetsk Regional Police.

Police released a video showing rescuers digging through the rubble with bare hands to reach the trapped pooch. Rescuers said they heard the puppy whining as they were picking through the rubble.

“Thanks to the boys for doing everything quickly and promptly here,” said the dog’s owner while holding the trembling puppy in his arms

Apr 13, 11:36 am
Finland, Sweden discuss possibility of joining NATO

Finland and Sweden — both traditionally militarily neutral countries — are considering a dramatic pivot in their security policy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Leaders of both countries publicly stated during a joint press conference Wednesday that they are considering taking steps to join the NATO alliance.

“The European security architecture has changed fundamentally after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said. “The change in the security landscape makes it necessary to analyze how we best secure peace for Finland and in our region in the future.”

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson added, “We have to really think through what is best for Sweden and our security and our peace in this new situation and, of course, what is happening and the discussion in Finland is important for us to follow. Therefore, we need to have a very close contact, but we have to have a process in Sweden to think this through.”

Last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he’s had close contact with political leaders of both countries and has conveyed that it’s up to them whether to decide joining NATO.

“But if they apply, I expect that 30 allies will welcome them and that we will find ways to also address the concerns they may have about this interim period between (when) they have applied and until the last ratifications has taken place,” Stoltenberg said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned that further expansion of NATO to include Finland and Sweden will not contribute to security in Europe.

“In itself, the alliance is rather a tool sharpened for confrontation, this is not an alliance that ensures peace and stability,” Peskov said, according to Russian state-run news agency TASS.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Apr 13, 11:19 am
Water crisis worsens in eastern Ukraine as war devastates infrastructure: UNICEF

About 1.4 million people have been left without clean running water in war-torn eastern Ukraine and an estimated 4.6 million people across the country are at risk of losing their supply, the United Nations Children’s Fund reported Wednesday.

UNICEF officials said heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, including the widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas, has decimated a large part of the region’s water systems. The agency tallied 20 separate incidents in which water infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed and warned of a “risk of complete collapse.”

Damaged electrical grids have shut down water pumps and explosion-related damage to pipelines are disrupting the flow of water, according to UNICEF.

“Water is essential for life and a right for everyone,” Osnat Lubrani, the U.N. resident coordinator in Ukraine, said in a statement. “The health risks, particularly for children and the elderly, caused by water stoppages are severe, as people are forced to use dirty water sources, resulting in diarrhoea and other deadly infectious diseases.”

Murat Sahin, a UNICEF Ukraine representative, added that, “Young children who live in conflict zones are 20 times more likely to die from diarrheal diseases linked to unsafe water than from direct violence, as a result of war.”

In hard-hit Mariupol, which has been under siege since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, thousands of residents trapped in the city are seeking any water they can find and resorting to dirty water sources, according to UNICEF. Major cities across the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are also cut off from water supplies.

The water systems in Sumy, Chernihiv and Kharkiv have also been seriously damaged, UNICEF said. An additional 340,000 people are at risk of losing their water supply from a reservoir in Horlivka in the Donetsk region that is inching closer to running dry, according to UNICEF.

Agency officials said that prior to the invasion, much of the water systems in eastern Ukraine were already ailing after eight years of a low-grade conflict in the region.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Apr 13, 6:17 am
Russia says 1,026 Ukrainians surrendered in Mariupol

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed on Wednesday that more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered in besieged Mariupol, which is still held by Ukrainian forces.

“In Mariupol city, near the ‘Illich’ Steelworks, 1,026 Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th Marine Brigade have voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered as a result of a successful offensive by the Russian Armed Forces and Donetsk People’s Republic militia units,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russia said the surrendering troops included 162 officers and 47 women.

“151 wounded Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th Marine Brigade received primary medical care immediately on the spot, after that they were all taken to the Mariupol city hospital for further treatment,” the ministry said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.