Note: This page is no longer being updated. During 2022, it was used to track news and events related to the Russian war on Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is very serious. If the subject brings up questions or worries for you, be sure to discuss them with an adult you trust.
After World War II, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union (USSR). The USSR was made of Russia and many smaller countries. Ukraine became independent in 1991, but many people in the country still have close ties to Russia.
Russia has already invaded Ukraine once. In 2014, Russia invaded and took control of Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine. In response, the US and many European countries put sanctions on Russia, but the sanctions haven’t had much effect.
Also in 2014, with Russian support, two areas of Ukraine claimed they were independent of Ukraine. These areas – Donetsk and Luhansk, known together as “Donbas” – have strong ties to Russia. These are the regions that Russia has now recognized as countries. There has been fighting in and near Donbas since 2014, with Russia giving military support to the rebels.
On February 24, Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Monday, December 26, 2022
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky left the country for the first time last Wednesday to make a surprise visit to the United States. It was the first time Mr. Zelensky had left the country since Russia attacked Ukraine last February. While in Washington, DC, Mr. Zelensky met with US President Joe Biden, and also spoke to the US Congress.
The US House of Representatives approved a $45 billion aid package for Ukraine. That comes on top of $65 billion in weapons and other support that the US has already given Ukraine.
One important part of the agreements reached in Washington was that the US will send Ukraine its best air defense system. Known as the “Patriot”, the missile system is expected to help Ukraine do a much better job of defending itself against Russia’s constant missile attacks.
Russia has been pounding the city of Kherson over and over again since Ukraine retook the city in November, forcing Russian soldiers out. Russian forces are now on the other side of the Dnipro River. On December 24, Russia launched an especially heavy attack on the city. Seven people were killed and at least 58 people were injured. The attack has made people in Ukraine very angry, since it came on the day before Christmas – an important holiday in the country.
Monday, December 19, 2022
Russia continues to pound Ukrainian energy, water, and heating targets, using missiles, rockets, and drones. On Friday, Russia launched one of its strongest attacks yet. Ukraine reported that Russia had launched 98 missiles and 65 rockets.
Ukraine has limited air defense resources. Russia is trying to make Ukraine waste these resources by including fake missiles and rockets in their attacks. Even so, Ukraine says its air defense systems were able to shoot down about 60 of the missiles before they hit. But the others caused serious damage.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “All their targets today are civilian, and these are mainly energy and heat supply facilities (plants).” The attacks took out electricity and water for millions of people, and heating for hundreds of thousands. The temperatures in Ukraine are currently well below freezing. Ukraine’s emergency workers raced to restore services.
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Early Monday morning, Russia attacked again, launching an attack with 35 drones. Twenty of the drones targeted the capital, Kyiv. These are extremely large drones made in Iran. The drones carry explosives and blow themselves up when they hit their targets. Ukraine says it was able to shoot down 30 of the drones before they caused damage.
There has been increased military activity in Belarus, to the north of Ukraine. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to Belarus to meet with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Russia used Belarus to launch its attack on Kyiv at the beginning of the war in February. The increased activity has raised concerns Russia plans to attack Ukraine from the north again.
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Russia has continued its drone and missile attacks across Ukraine, aiming to damage Ukraine’s energy system. Because of Russia’s efforts to use winter as a weapon, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that generators are as important as armor for the country. Some nearby countries worry that the harsh winter conditions in Ukraine could cause hundreds of thousands more people to leave the country.
Mr. Zelensky has asked Western countries for support with better air defense systems, more generators, and even LED light bulbs. Because LED lights use so little electricity, they can help Ukraine make the most of its short supplies.
Western countries are still showing strong support for Ukraine. The European Union (EU) has agreed to send aid worth over $18 billion to Ukraine. Hungary was the one EU country opposed to the aid, but now it has agreed, too. Over the last two weeks, the US has agreed to give Ukraine roughly $328 million more in support. Some of that is for weapons and other equipment. Some of it is to help repair Ukraine’s energy system.
Ukraine has continued to strike back at Russia, using drones to cover long distances. Though Ukraine hasn’t taken credit for all of the attacks, it is believed to have attacked two air bases, an oil storage area, and a hotel where many private soldiers paid by Russia were staying. Ukraine has also used long-range weapons in recent attacks on Melitopol – a Ukrainian city that Russia has taken over. Experts say this may be a sign of a new Ukrainian push to take back land in the south of the country.
Monday, December 5, 2022
On Monday, Ukraine appeared to have struck back against Russia by using drones to attack two air bases deep inside Russia. Planes from the bases that were hit are believed to have been involved in many attacks on Ukraine. Ukraine has not officially taken credit for the attacks, but people speaking for the government have hinted that Ukraine was behind the attacks. Ukraine’s use of drones that can cover such large distances came as a surprise to many.
In response, Russia launched yet another round of attacks on cities across Ukraine. Many cities were hit, including Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, and the capital, Kyiv. The attacks again targeted Ukraine’s energy systems. Places around the country are having power cuts of 4 or more hours a day. In Kyiv, the government has set up 4,000 special centers where people can go when the power is out for longer.
Monday also brought new limits on Russian oil. The European Union (EU) is now banning Russian oil that comes in by sea. That will keep almost all Russian oil out of the EU.
Many Western countries have also agreed to limit the highest price paid for Russian oil to $60 a barrel. The idea is to limit the amount of money that Russia can make from its oil. But some experts aren’t sure the plan will work. That’s partly because the plan is complicated. But it may also be hard to convince other countries to go along with the plan.
Monday, November 28, 2022
Last Thursday marked nine months since Russia first invaded Ukraine. The United Nations says that since the war started, close to 8 million people from Ukraine have gone to other European countries for safety. Inside the country, another 6.5 million people have been forced from their homes. Since February, more than 10,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed or injured.
Last Wednesday, Russia hammered Ukrainian cities with at least 70 missiles. The attack took out electricity and water supplies for most of the capital, Kyiv. Some people were left trying to collect rain water in plastic bottles. Doctors in Kyiv’s hospitals had to use flashlights to perform surgery in the dark.
The power has been restored in many places, but there are still millions of Ukrainians without electricity.
It’s against international law to target civilian infrastructure. But that seems to be what Russia is doing. For months, Russia has been aiming its missiles at Ukraine’s systems that supply energy and water. Many of these attacks have taken place far from the front lines, where the fighting between soldiers is happening.
Many outside countries have criticized Russia for its attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure. French President Emmanuel Macron called Russia’s attacks “war crimes”. Last Wednesday, the European Parliament named Russia as a country that supported terrorism because of its attacks. Just hours after the vote, the European Parliament’s website was taken offline by a cyberattack.
Monday, November 21, 2022
Russia continues to carry out attacks across Ukraine in an effort to take out the country’s electrical and heating systems. Russia launched nearly 100 missiles against targets in Ukraine on Tuesday alone.
Russian missile attacks have taken out almost half of Ukraine’s energy systems. Many cities and towns are losing power regularly. On Thursday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky reported that over 10 million Ukrainians had no electricity. The electricity shortage is especially bad in the country’s capital, Kyiv.
Russia is hoping to use the coming cold winter as a weapon against Ukraine. Russian soldiers have struggled in their efforts against Ukrainian forces. Instead, Russia seems to be focusing on attacks that will make life hard for Ukraine’s civilians. Many Ukrainians are collecting firewood, hoping to use that to stay warm this winter.
Ukraine is rushing aid into the city of Kherson, which it recently took back. But Russia has damaged the city’s support systems so much that it will be very hard for people to live there over the coming winter. The city of Mykolaiv is in a similar situation. As a result, Ukraine is offering to help move people from these cities to other parts of the country for the winter.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant continues to be attacked, causing serious concerns. The plant – the largest in Europe – was shut down in September for safety reasons. But even with all of its reactors shut down, damage to the plant could still lead to a very dangerous situation. Rafael Grossi, who leads the International Atomic Energy Agency, says the people bombing the nuclear plant are “playing with fire”.
Monday, November 14, 2022
Late last week, Russian forces pulled out of the city of Kherson, avoiding a huge battle over the city. The port city of Kherson was one of the most important cities that Russia took control of early in its invasion. It’s the capital of the Kherson region, which Russia claimed in September.
For Ukraine, taking control of Kherson again is a major victory. On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson to speak with Ukrainian soldiers, and to take part in raising the Ukrainian flag in the city again.
The loss of Kherson is embarrassing for Russia, and it helps Ukraine in many ways. Control of the port of Kherson will allow Ukraine to bring things in and out of the country over the Black Sea again. Control of Kherson also allows Ukraine to block a canal which brings water from the Dnipro River to Crimea. Crimea is an area of Ukraine that Russia took control of in 2014.
But Russian forces haven’t gone far. They are just on the other side of the Dnipro River, and it will be easy for Russian soldiers to continue to launch attacks on Kherson. In other areas of Ukraine, such as Donetsk, Russian forces continue to fight hard. Most military experts expect a long, hard winter of fighting ahead for both sides.
Monday, November 7, 2022
Western countries have promised to continue supporting Ukraine in its battle against the Russian invasion. More air defense systems continue to be sent to Ukraine, and these are starting to have an effect. Military experts say Russia is losing military airplanes faster than it can replace them.
Both sides appear to be preparing for a heavy battle over Kherson. The port city of Kherson was one of the most important cities that Russia took control of early in its invasion. Kherson is the capital of the Kherson region, which Russia claimed in September.
But Ukrainian forces have pushed back into the area, and Russian soldiers have been preparing to defend the city. Kherson is seen as an important symbol. It’s the only area Russia holds on the east side of the Dnipro River. Forcing Russia out would be a big victory for Ukraine, and embarrassing for Russia.
Civilians have been told to leave Kherson. Life has become more and more difficult for the 30,000 to 60,000 people who remain in the city, since Russian forces have been cutting power and water supplies.
Power cuts remain common in the rest of Ukraine. Russian attacks on power stations have had a huge effect in the country. Roughly 40% of Ukraine’s energy system has been damaged.
Russia has changed its position and is now once more supporting a program for shipping grain out of Ukraine.
Monday, October 31, 2022
Russia has once again launched a huge attack on cities across Ukraine, far from the front lines where soldiers are fighting. Its targets were plants that supply electricity, heating, and water. Though Ukraine claims it shot down at least 44 Russian missiles, many other missiles got through.
Hundreds of areas around the country were left without power, including much of the capital, Kyiv. As a result, roughly 80% of Kyiv was left without running water. People in Kyiv were forced to go to public pumps to collect water. Workers were making special efforts to repair things quickly.
Russia claims the attacks are in response to a drone attack last Saturday on Russian navy ships in Sevastapol, Ukraine. Sevastapol is a port in Crimea, an area of Ukraine that Russia took control of in 2014. At least nine drones were used in the attack, and one warship was damaged. Russia has blamed Ukraine for the attacks and claimed that members of the British navy helped out. Ukraine has not taken credit for the drone attacks, and the United Kingdom has denied any connection.
Also in response to the Sevastapol attack, Russia has backed out of United Nations (UN) deal to allow grain to be safely shipped out of Ukraine. The deal is seen as extremely important for the world’s food supplies. Outside countries have condemned Russia’s decision to pull out of the deal and have encouraged Russia to rejoin the agreement.
In spite of Russia’s change of position on the deal, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN planned to go ahead with food shipments. At least 16 ships were expected to sail on Monday.
Monday, October 24, 2022
Russia has continued its attacks across Ukraine aimed at damaging the country’s supply of energy, heating, and water. The attacks, far away from most of the fighting, are meant to make the coming winter as hard on Ukrainians as possible.
About 1.5 million Ukrainians have been left without power. People are being asked to use as little electricity as possible. In many areas, there are planned blackouts in an effort to avoid overloading the electrical system. In the country’s capital, Kyiv, for example, people have been told to expect temporary blackouts of four or more hours a day.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said that currently the country simply can’t stop all of Russia’s missiles. He says he hopes that new air defense systems from the West will help the country protect itself better.
The fighting between the two sides has increased. Each side is trying to take over as much ground as possible before winter begins. In general, the positions have not changed much.
One place where Ukraine does appear to be gaining ground is in Kherson. That’s a region in Ukraine’s south that was claimed by Russia only a few weeks ago. In spite of Russia’s claims, Ukraine has been pushing Russian forces back in the area. Recently, the Russian-led government in the city of Kherson, encouraged people to leave the city and go deeper into Russian-held land.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Over the last week, Russia has launched daily air attacks on cities across Ukraine. Most of the attacks are far from the actual fighting among soldiers. Though Russia has used bombs and missiles, recently, it has begun using a new weapon: drones.
Many of the attacks have been carried out by large drones made in Iran. The drones carry explosives and blow themselves up when they hit their targets. Because they can be controlled from far away, they are harder for Ukraine’s military to shoot down.
Russia’s recent attacks seem to be aimed at civilians, rather than soldiers. Some civilian targets like apartments or playgrounds have been hit directly. But most of the attacks have focused on important services, like electrical power stations, heating plants, and water supplies. These losses will make the coming winter much harder on Ukrainians.
In spite of the attacks, Ukrainian soldiers are still making progress on the battlefield, and are pushing Russian forces back in many areas.
Western countries are rushing to provide more air defense systems for Ukraine to help protect it from these attacks.
Monday, October 10, 2022
On Saturday, a truck loaded with explosives blew up on the Kerch Bridge. This bridge, the longest in Europe, is the only road and train connection between Russia and Crimea. Crimea is an area of Ukraine that Russia took control of in 2014.
The Kerch bridge has both regular traffic, like cars, trucks, and buses, as well as rail lines. The bridge has been very important to Russia’s war on Ukraine, since it’s one of the main ways that Russia supplies its forces.
When the truck exploded, seven train cars carrying fuel also caught on fire. Two sections of the bridge partially collapsed. Three people died in the attack. By Sunday, some road and train traffic was moving again on the bridge.
The bridge explosion, is very embarrassing to Russia, especially since it follows Russia’s other recent losses in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukrainian forces, and described the attack as “terrorism“.
On Monday, Russia struck back with intense long-range attacks on at least 10 cities across Ukraine. These attacks hit many civilian targets far away from most of the fighting. At least 8 people were killed and 24 people were wounded.
Some of Russia’s missiles also took out fuel storage centers and some electrical supply stations. At least five large areas of Ukraine were left without power. In some places, the attacks also affected the supply of heating and water.
Monday, October 3, 2022
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed treaties that he claimed turn four large areas of Ukraine into Russian land. Mr. Putin said he would strongly defend these areas. In a speech, Mr. Putin said, “People living in Luhansk and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens. Forever.” These areas add up to about 15% of Ukraine’s land. In each area, governments have been set up that are run by people who support Russia.
Western countries have condemned Russia’s actions, and say they do not accept Mr. Putin’s claims. The US and many other Western countries have announced more sanctions on Russia as a result of its actions.
Even though Mr. Putin has claimed the four areas for Russia, Russian forces aren’t in firm control of the areas. Ukraine has been attacking strongly and taking back land that Russia won earlier. On Saturday, Ukraine took back the key city of Lyman in Donetsk. Losing control of Lyman will cause problems for Russia’s forces, and make it harder for them to move weapons and supplies.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was trying to “steal something that does not belong to it.” He says Ukraine will continue to fight for its land. He also announced that Ukraine had officially asked to join the defense group NATO sooner than expected.
Monday, September 26, 2022
In four areas of Ukraine where Russian forces have taken control, Russia is holding a special vote called a referendum. The question that voters are deciding on is whether the areas should join Russia or not. The four areas where the voting is taking place are Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson.
Most Western countries believe the votes aren’t being held honestly. There are reports of armed Russian soldiers going around to houses to force people to vote. Many Ukrainians have already left the areas because of the fighting. Instead, the votes are seen as a way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to take control of large areas of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s forces have had a lot of success in recent weeks, and Russia has been struggling. Last week, Mr. Putin announced that he was calling up 300,000 reserve soldiers. There are some signs that he may call up as many as 1 million. Military experts say this is a sign of how badly the war is going for Russia. The move has triggered protests in Russia and caused many young men to try to leave the country.
Many experts believe Mr. Putin is holding the referendums so that he can claim these areas as “Russian land”. Then, if Ukraine continues to fight in those areas, Mr. Putin can use that as an excuse for taking more extreme measures in the war. Mr. Putin has even suggested that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russian land.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Ukraine’s efforts to retake land in the northeast have continued. Ukrainian forces have taken more land and pushed Russia’s soldiers farther back. Ukraine claims that it has now retaken Bilohorivka. That’s a village near the eastern city of Lysychansk. Though the village is small, the victory is seen as an important one because it would mean that Russia no longer controls all of Luhansk.
In response to Ukraine’s drive forward in the northeast, Russia has been increasing its attacks on sites that are important to everyday life in Ukraine. Last Wednesday, Russian missiles hit a dam in Kryvyi Rih, which caused flooding in the city. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is from the city of Kryvyi Rih.
Bombs have also damaged the country’s electrical system. On Sunday night, Russian missiles exploded very close to the Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant. The plant was not damaged.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met separately with the leaders of China and India. Though neither country has openly supported Russia’s war on Ukraine, they have also not criticized it or put sanctions on Russia. Mr. Putin told both Xi Jinping of China and Narendra Modi of India that he knew about their concerns. Mr. Modi delivered one of India’s strongest messages yet, saying, “today’s time is not a time for war.”
Monday, September 12, 2022
Ukraine’s efforts to strike back at Russia in the south of the country have shown some minor successes. But it turned out that Ukraine’s actions in the south were really a trick to distract Russia’s attention.
While Russian forces were focused on the south, Ukraine launched a rapid attack in the northeast last Friday. The attack took Russia – and much of the world – by surprise. The attack was a huge success. Russian forces were so surprised that in many places, they simply left their equipment and ran.
As a result, Ukraine has taken back huge amounts of land that Russia had captured. This includes over 1,000 square miles (2,600 square kilometers) around Kharkiv. In response to Ukraine’s rapid attack, Russia bombed many power stations in Ukraine on Sunday, leaving much of Kharkiv without power.
The sudden defeat in the northeast has been very embarrassing for Russia. Inside Russia, some people are beginning to criticize the war effort. That’s very unusual, since criticizing the government isn’t normally allowed in Russia.
Ukraine has shut down the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The plant – the largest in Europe – has often been attacked in recent months, causing safety concerns. After losing all power from outside, experts have decided to shut the plant down for safety.
Even with all of its reactors shut down, the plant will still need electricity for cooling its reactors. If there’s a long-term problem with the electricity, it could lead to a very dangerous situation. The energy from the plant will be missed this winter. Before the invasion, about 20% of Ukraine’s electricity came from the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Monday, September 5, 2022
On September 1, a 14-member team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Attacks have continued on and near the plant, raising worries about a possible accident. Each side still blames the other for the attacks.
After visiting the plant, IAEA leader, Rafael Mariano Grossi, says he is worried about the damage to the building. So far, not many details have been released about the condition of the plant. But the IAEA says it plans to have two members of its team remain at the plant to keep an eye on things.
Last week, Ukraine launched attacks in the south in an effort to take back land that was claimed by Russian forces. Ukraine says that it has had some success, reclaiming villages and destroying some targets that were important to Russian forces.
Several areas of Ukraine are currently held by Russia. In a number of these areas, Russia had planned to hold a special vote on whether the regions should officially become part of Russia. Now, in Kherson, at least one of those votes has been “paused” because of the Ukrainian attacks.
Last Thursday was the first day of school in Ukraine. Known as the “Day of Knowledge”, the first day of school is a national holiday in the country. This year, because of the war with Russia, only about 51% of schools were open for in-person classes. Most Ukrainian students are taking online classes.
Monday, August 29, 2022
Last Thursday, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, Energoatom, said that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had been cut off from Ukraine’s national electrical system for the first time in nearly 40 years. That increases the chances of a serious nuclear accident.
To run safely, a nuclear plant must be kept cool so it doesn’t overheat. Without electricity from outside, the plant must use generators that run on diesel fuel to make electricity to help cool the plant. If there’s a problem with the generators, it could lead to a very dangerous situation.
Attacks have continued on the plant, raising worries about a possible accident. Each side still blames the other for the attacks. Many leaders from around the world have encouraged making the area around the plant a non-military zone. A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency is now on its way to inspect the plant.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order increasing the size of Russia’s military to over 2 million soldiers. That’s an increase of about 140,000 people. Experts say the increase isn’t likely to make much difference in the Ukraine war. Russia has lost tens of thousands of soldiers in the war already.
Over one million tons of grains and foods have been shipped out of Ukraine since early August. But the United Nations says that far more needs to be shipped out. One important reason is that Ukraine is short on storage buildings for its crops. Shipping out the old grains will allow Ukraine to store the crops that are being grown now.
Monday, August 22, 2022
Ukraine’s independence day is on Wednesday, August 24. That’s the day it became independent of the Soviet Union 31 years ago. This year, the country is planning to celebrate very quietly, without any major gatherings. Instead of a military parade, Ukraine has lined its famous Khreshchatyk Street in the capital, Kyiv, with broken tanks and other weapons it has taken from the Russians.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Ukrainians to expect attacks ahead of the day. He believes Russia may make a special effort to ruin the day. “Russia may try to do something particularly nasty,” he said.
Ukraine appears to still be having success in using drones and other methods to attack Russia in Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine that Russia invaded and took control of in 2014. A Russian navy base in Sevastopol, Crimea has been attacked by drones twice in the last month. Ukraine hasn’t said that it is responsible for the attacks, but some people in Ukraine’s government have hinted that the country is now able to hit areas in Crimea with drones.
There are still many concerns over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russia took control of the plant in March, and it has come under attack several times recently, leaving many people very worried about the situation. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to allow experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the plant.
Monday, August 15, 2022
Last Tuesday, several explosions hit a Russian air base in Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine that Russia invaded and took control of in 2014. The Saki air base was often used by Russian planes that were bombing Ukrainian forces. Officially, Ukraine did not comment on the explosions. But privately, some Ukrainian military leaders claimed that Ukraine had struck the base.
The attack seems to have badly damaged several Russian war planes. It has also made Russia nervous about an area it once considered safe. It’s not clear how Ukraine could have carried out the attack, since the location is farther than its missiles will reach. That includes the long-distance missiles that Ukraine has recently gotten from Western countries.
But those long-range missiles have slowly begun to bring Ukraine more successes. It is better able to hit important targets deep behind the lines of battle, including several key bridges. These strikes have damaged Russia’s ability to keep its forces well-supplied.
Attacks have continued on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, greatly increasing worries over the possibility of a nuclear accident. Ukraine says that Russia attacked the nuclear plant five times on Thursday. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Ukraine now plans to specially target Russian soldiers firing on the plant or using it for cover. The United Nations has suggested creating a military-free area around the plant to make sure no accidents happen because of fighting.
Two more ships carrying grain left Ukraine’s ports in the Black Sea on Saturday. That makes at least 16 ships that have now left Ukraine’s ports carrying grain and other food products. Ukraine says that roughly 496,000 tons of farm products have been shipped out of the country since a deal to allow shipping was reached in early August.
Monday, August 8, 2022
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the largest nuclear power plant in Europe – has been damaged by attacks. Both Ukraine and Russia blame the other side for the attacks. Russia took control of the plant in March, but it is still being run by Ukrainian workers. Ukraine says that Russian attacks damaged sensors at the plant and caused one of its reactors to be shut down. Russia claims that Ukrainian forces hit the plant with a rocket launcher.
Russia has continued to attack a wide number of areas across Ukraine’s east and south. Dozens of towns were attacked on Saturday. Military experts say that Russia is still building up its forces in the south of Ukraine. Large lines of trucks and other military vehicles have been seen moving to the south from the Donbas. Ukraine is believed to be preparing for an attack on Russia in the south, but some experts believe Russia may be getting ready to attack first.
Four more ships left Ukraine’s ports on Sunday, carrying around 176,000 tons of crops out of the country. The ships, which are headed to China, Iran, Italy, and Turkey, carried sunflower oil, corn, and other grains. Last week, four other ships left carrying products headed to Ireland, Lebanon, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Monday, August 1, 2022
On Monday, a ship carrying corn left the port of Odesa, Ukraine. It is the first ship carrying products to leave Ukraine in five months. That’s because Russia’s navy has been blocking the waters around Ukraine’s ports. Blocking Ukraine’s ports has caused problems with food supplies worldwide.
Now, under a deal recently signed by Russia and Ukraine, food supplies are allowed to pass through these waters. The ship that left on Monday is headed for Lebanon. Though there could still be problems, many people are hoping that this ship will be the first of many. Over 20 million tons of grain were trapped in Ukraine. Shipping the grain out should help improve food shortage issues around the world.
Last Thursday, a jail in Donetsk run by Russia was bombed. The jail was holding Ukrainian soldiers. At least 50 of the soldiers were killed and 75 were injured. Russia and Ukraine each blamed the other for the attack. Ukraine said Russia was trying to cover up the way it had been mistreating the prisoners. So far, Russia has not allowed workers from the Red Cross to visit the jail.
Both Russia and Ukraine are preparing for major fighting in southern Ukraine. Ukraine is hoping to take back land it has lost. Russia is still trying to take more land in the eastern part of the country, but it is not making much progress. In recent weeks, Ukraine has been using more of the advanced weapons it has gotten from Western countries. These weapons allow it to target Russian forces that are very far away.
Monday, July 25, 2022
Last Friday, Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement that should allow the shipment of over 20 million tons of grain that have been trapped in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Russia has been blocking shipments from leaving Ukraine. The deal was reached in Turkey with the help of both Turkey and the United Nations (UN).
The deal would allow as much as 5 million tons of grain to be shipped out each month. The first shipments could begin in just a few weeks. Having so much grain stuck in Ukraine has caused problems with food supplies around the world. Allowing the grain to be shipped should help ease these shortages. It will also free up important storage areas in Ukraine for new grain crops that are being grown.
The deal is the most important agreement between the two sides since the beginning of the war. It took a lot of effort and many attempts at talks over a long period of time. “This agreement did not come easy,” said UN leader António Guterres.
But on Saturday, just a day after the agreement was signed, Russia fired four missiles at the important port city of Odesa. Two missiles were shot down, but two made it through, causing several explosions. Odesa will be important in shipping grains out of Ukraine. This has made many people wonder how serious Russia is about the agreement it just made. Ukraine immediately condemned the attack.
Monday, July 18, 2022
Last Thursday a Russian missile attack on the city of Vinnytsia killed over 20 people and wounded at least 100. The attack on a city in the center of Ukraine – far from where most of the war is being fought – came as a shock. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky described Russia’s attack as “terrorism“, saying that Russia “directs rockets at civilian targets where there is nothing military.”
On Saturday, Russia’s Defense Minister ordered Russia’s military to strengthen its actions in all areas. Outside military experts say it looks like Russia is ending a short “pause” that the country used to prepare for increased attacks.
Mr. Zelensky has been making big changes in his government recently. Last week, he fired five of Ukraine’s ambassadors to other countries. On Sunday, Ukraine’s head of security was suspended. So was the person in charge of investigating Russia’s war crimes. Mr. Zelensky said the two had not done enough to remove people in their departments who were working for Russia and against Ukraine.
Monday, July 11, 2022
Late Saturday night, Russia launched missile attacks on several apartment buildings in the town of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine. At least 15 people were killed in one of the buildings and dozens of people remain trapped in the rubble.
Ukraine has accused Russia of targeting civilians on purpose. Russia claims it is only attacking military targets. But Russia has carried out many attacks on buildings or areas that are mainly used by civilians. These include attacks on homes, apartment buildings, and shopping centers.
Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech in which he said that Russia had not yet really begun its attack on Ukraine. Mr. Putin claimed that Western countries’ attempts to help Ukraine by giving it weapons would fail. “We are hearing that they want to defeat us on the battlefield,” he said. “Let them try.”
Russia is moving its soldiers around in eastern Ukraine. Military experts believe Russia is preparing for heavier attacks on cities in the Donetsk regions.
Monday, July 4, 2022
On Sunday, Russia claimed to have taken control of Lysychansk. Lysychansk was the last city in the Luhansk region that was under Ukrainian control. But on July 3, Ukraine ordered its soldiers to pull out of the city. Taking complete control of the Luhansk region is a big victory for Russia.
Russia is now beginning to focus on Donetsk – the other region which makes up the Donbas area. Russia already controls over half of Donetsk. As Russian attacks on the eastern region of Donetsk increase, the government is encouraging civilians to leave the area while they can. There are roughly 350,000 civilians in the region.
Ukraine has asked Turkey to investigate three Russian ships. Ukraine says the ships are carrying grain that Russia stole from it. Turkey has also stopped a ship called the Zhibek Zholy, which is flying a Russian flag. Turkey is investigating charges that the ship is carrying 7,700 tons of grain stolen from Ukraine.
Monday, June 27, 2022
On Friday, Ukraine ordered its soldiers to leave Severodonetsk. That leaves the key city in the hands of Russian forces. On Saturday, Russia took complete control of the city, including the Azot chemical factory, where many Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been hiding out.
Russia is now increasing its efforts to take control of the nearby city of Lysychansk. Lysychansk is the last part of the Luhansk region that is controlled by Ukraine. Luhansk and Donetsk are two regions in eastern Ukraine known as “Donbas”. Fighting over this area has gone on for years, and many people living in Donbas support Russia. Taking full control of Donbas would be a huge win for Russia.
Over the weekend, Russia launched missile attacks on targets across Ukraine. Many of the targets were far removed from the heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine. At least 14 missiles struck in or near the capital, Kyiv. It was the first missile strike on Kyiv in three weeks.
Last Thursday, Ukraine was approved as a “candidate” to join the European Union (EU). This is the first official step that could lead to Ukraine becoming a full member of the EU. The complete process is still expected to take years.
Monday, June 20, 2022
Russia continues to use heavy weapons and bombs to pound Severodonetsk and the nearby city of Lysychansk. Almost all of Severodonetsk is now controlled by Russia. Most of Ukraine’s soldiers have been forced into an area in and near the Azot chemical factory. Around 500 civilians are also hiding out there.
Russia is getting closer to completely surrounding the city. But Russia’s advances have come at a high price. It has lost many soldiers and weapons.
Western military experts are warning that the war in Ukraine could last for years. Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of NATO, said, “We must not let up in supporting Ukraine, even if the costs are high.”
Kaliningrad is an area that belongs to Russia, but is completely surrounded by Poland and Lithuania. The area gets most of it supplies from Russia. These supplies usually come in by train, through Lithuania. As part of the European Union’s sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania is now blocking some items, including building materials, metal, and coal, from traveling through Lithuania by rail.
Russia has complained loudly about the sanctions, which will mean that many important supplies now can only be brought into Kaliningrad by boat. A member of Russia’s government says that “Russia will certainly respond to such hostile [unfriendly] actions.” He suggested that Russia’s response would have “serious” effects on the people of Lithuania.
At the same time, Russia continues to block roughly 20 million tons of grain from leaving Ukraine. The European Union (EU) has called Russia’s blocking of Ukraine’s ports a “real war crime”. Josep Borrell, of the EU, said, “One cannot imagine that millions of tons of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger.”
Thursday, June 16, 2022
On Thursday, several European leaders visited Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia. The leaders included French President Emmanuel Macron, German leader Olaf Scholz, and Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi. In the past, Mr. Zelensky has criticized these leaders for not supporting Ukraine strongly enough. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also visited.
The visit was also meant to show support for Ukraine in its efforts to join the European Union (EU). The European Commission is expected to discuss the question of whether Ukraine can join the EU later this month. Having the support of important EU members like France, Germany, and Italy is likely to be very helpful. But it could still take years for Ukraine to fully join the EU.
Russia continues to slowly make progress in the key city of Severodonetsk. In its efforts to take complete control of the Donbas regions, Russia is bringing more and more soldiers to the area. Ukraine is having a hard time fighting back against these increasing numbers. Though both sides are suffering losses, Ukraine has said that as many as 200 of its soldiers are killed every day.
Monday, June 13, 2022
The battle for Severodonetsk still continues. Russian forces are believed to now control roughly 70% to 80% of the city. The heavy bombing has forced Ukraine’s soldiers to pull back. Many of Ukraine’s soldiers have been pushed back into an area of the city where there are lots of factories. At least 500 Ukrainian civilians are hiding out in a chemical factory, which is being bombed constantly.
Russia is hoping to completely surround Severodonetsk. All of the bridges into the city have now been destroyed. This will make it far harder for Ukrainian forces to get the supplies they need to keep fighting. It will also make it extremely difficult for the civilians who are left in the city to escape.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued to ask for more heavy weapons – including rocket launchers and tanks – from Western countries. He says the weapons are extremely important to Ukraine’s efforts in the Donbas regions. Mr. Zelensky said that the fighting in Donbas “will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe.”
Russia has continued to use long-range missiles to hammer Ukrainian cities, especially in eastern Ukraine. Russia claims that one of its missiles hit a weapons storage area in the Chernihiv region. Ukraine says that its air defense systems were able to shoot down two long-range missiles aimed at the port city of Odesa.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
The fighting in the streets of Severodonetsk is still extremely intense. Russian forces now control most of the city. But Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Ukrainian troops are “holding on” in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
The two cities, separated by the Seversky Donets River, are under constant attack. They are considered the key cities in the Donbas regions. Around 10,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in Severodonetsk.
Mr. Zelensky says Ukraine still needs more long range weapons from Western countries to win the important battles. Mr. Zelensky described the Russian invasion as being like Covid-19. He said that “weapons and sanctions are…a vaccine.”
One challenge facing Ukraine as it gets more Western weapons is that it takes time to train its soldiers to use the new weapons. Western countries are shipping more and more high-tech weapons to Ukraine, but the weapons aren’t useful until Ukrainian forces learn how to use them. It takes time for Western forces to teach Ukrainian military trainers how to use the weapons. These trainers must then teach the Ukrainian soldiers.
Monday, June 6, 2022
Intense fighting is still going on in the streets of the important city of Severodonetsk in Luhansk. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that there are many more Russian soldiers in the city, but that Ukrainian forces are still holding their positions. In some areas, Ukrainian soldiers have taken back land that had been taken over by the Russians.
Ukraine claims that its navy has pushed Russia back from its coast along the Black Sea. Russia has been cutting off Ukraine’s coast for several weeks. Now Ukraine’s navy says it has pushed back the warships blocking the coast by more than 62 miles (100 kilometers). Outside sources haven’t confirmed this yet.
The United Kingdom (UK) says it will send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine. The new systems can precisely hit a target nearly 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. The UK’s offer comes soon after the US promised to send similar weapons.
Russia is upset about Western countries giving these weapons systems to Ukraine, and has promised to try to destroy the weapons systems before they can be used. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia may “strike targets we haven’t hit before.”
On Sunday, Russia hit the Ukrainian capital Kyiv with at least five missiles. Russia hasn’t targeted Kyiv in over a month.
Thursday, June 2, 2022
On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) announced a plan to partially ban Russian oil. The EU had been discussing a ban on Russian oil for weeks, but was stopped by countries like Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Those three countries have been left out of the ban for now, but the rest of the EU plans to end its use of most Russian oil in the next six to eight months. The ban is a big blow to Russia, but it will also be very hard on the EU.
Ukraine reports that more than two-thirds of the key Luhansk city of Severodonetsk is now under Russian control. Russia’s heavy bombing and violent street battles have forced Ukraine’s soldiers to draw back.
The intense fighting in eastern Ukraine is hitting Ukraine’s forces hard. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky now says that as many as 500 Ukrainian soldiers are being injured and up to 100 are being killed every day.
The US has agreed to ship medium-range missile systems to Ukraine as part of a new weapons shipment. The missiles can precisely hit a target roughly 45 miles (72 kilometers) away. That’s much farther than Ukraine’s weapons can currently fire. Russia has had weapons like these for a long time, and has been using them.
The US is only giving Ukraine four of these systems so far, and has told Ukraine it cannot use the weapons to hit targets in Russia. Russia is upset about the US giving these weapons systems to Ukraine and has suggested that the move could bring a “third country” into the war.
For more background and earlier reports on the situation in Ukraine, see these articles:
• Russia’s War on Ukraine – May, 2022 Archive
• Russia’s War on Ukraine – April, 2022 Archive
• Russia’s War on Ukraine – March, 2022 Archive
• Companies Protest Russia’s War on Ukraine
• Fighting Continues In Ukraine, Despite Peace Talks
• Russia Continues Attack on Ukraine
• Russia Invades Ukraine, World Leaders Condemn Attack
• Russia ‘Recognizes’ Areas of Ukraine, Sends Soldiers
• Will Russia Invade Ukraine? Talks Could Lower Tensions
• Biden & Putin Meet Over Tense Ukraine Situation
Note: The situation in Ukraine is very serious. If the subject brings up questions or worries for you, be sure to discuss them with an adult you trust.