(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.

Russian forces have since retreated from northern Ukraine, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction. The United States and many European countries accused Russia of committing war crimes after graphic images emerged of dead civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv. The Russian military has now 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.

Latest headlines:
-Biden again blames COVID, Putin for rising prices hitting US consumers
-White House says new sanctions against Russia could be announced soon
-UN chief asks for cease-fire during Orthodox Easter holy week
-US officials see ‘limited’ activity from Russia as prelude to larger offensive operations
-Polish prime minister opens temporary housing community in Ukraine

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

Apr 19, 6:54 pm
Biden administration plans to announce new military aid package for Ukraine: Sources

Capitol Hill sources and a Biden administration official confirmed to ABC News that the White House has briefed them on plans to announce another weapons delivery to Ukraine as soon as this week.

The aid could range in the hundreds of millions of dollars and be similar in size to the $800 million package President Joe Biden announced last week, sources familiar with the details said.

Details of the weapons package are still being discussed and could change, a source said.

When asked earlier Tuesday if he plans to send more artillery to Ukraine, Biden told reporters, “Yes.”

ABC News’ Mariam Khan and Katherine Faulders

Apr 19, 6:28 pm
Ukrainians have more planes flying than they did 2 weeks ago: Pentagon

Ukraine currently has more operable military planes currently than it did two weeks ago,
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday.

Ukraine has received additional aircraft, as well as parts to fix damaged planes, he told reporters during his latest briefing.

Kirby was reticent in providing any details on where the parts and planes came from but stressed that they did not come from the U.S.

“We certainly have helped with the trans-shipment of some additional spare parts that have helped with their aircraft needs, but we have not transported whole aircraft,” he said.

ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Apr 19, 6:15 pm
Zelenskyy addresses urgent need for military aid: ‘Every day matters’

In his latest national address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continued to call on allies for military aid in the fight against Russia in eastern Ukraine, as the situation in Mariupol remains “severe.”

“If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war,” he said. “We would have already restored peace and liberated our territory from the occupiers. Because the superiority of the Ukrainian military in tactics and wisdom is quite obvious.”

Zelenskyy addressed Ukraine’s partners directly, saying that “every day matters.”

“Any delay in helping Ukraine gives the occupiers an opportunity to kill more Ukrainians,” he said.

Zelenskyy said Russian fire has “increased significantly” in the direction of Kharkiv and in the Donbas and Dnipropetrovsk regions. The situation in Mariupol in particular is “as severe as possible,” he said, while claiming that the Russian Army is blocking efforts to organize humanitarian corridors.

“The occupiers are trying to carry out deportation or even mobilization of the local residents who have fallen into their hands,” the president said. “The fate of at least tens of thousands of Mariupol residents who were previously relocated to Russian-controlled territory is unknown.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Faul

Apr 19, 5:00 pm
Biden again blames COVID, Putin for rising prices hitting US consumers

President Joe Biden, speaking at the New Hampshire Port Authority on Tuesday, sought to distance his administration from the rising prices and inflation U.S. consumers are facing — once again pointing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Russian President Vladimir Putin as the main culprits.

“So, let’s be absolutely clear about why we have such high prices now, there are two reasons. First was COVID,” Biden said. “And the second big reason for the inflation is Vladimir Putin — not a joke. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has up driven gas and food prices all over the world.”

Biden said the major breadbaskets for wheat in the world are Ukraine and Russia with the United States and Canada right behind.

“What we saw in the most recent inflation data last month, about 70% of the increase in inflation was a consequence of Putin’s price hike because of the impact on gas and energy prices,” Biden said.

Biden said he is doing “everything” he can to lower prices and that savings are already starting to come through for consumers.

“I’m doing everything I can to bring down the price to address Putin’s price hike. That’s why I authorized the release of $1 million barrels per day for the next six months from our strategic petroleum reserve,” Biden said.

Biden said he is calling on Congress to pass his “human infrastructure” bill that has long stalled on Capitol Hill over policy disputes and the price tag.

ABC News’ Mariam Khan



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