Russia-Ukraine updates: Russia ‘already failed’ to achieve war goals, Blinken says

(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 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.

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

Apr 25, 6:34 pm
Fate of democracy in Europe being decided in Ukraine, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned European superpowers that the fate of the continent is being determined by the conflict currently unfolding in Ukraine.

The future of global security and democracy in Europe are currently being decided in Ukraine, Zelenskyy said during his nightly address on Monday.

“The lessons of history are well known,” he said. “If you are going to build a millennial Reich, you lose. If you are going to destroy the neighbors, you lose. If you want to restore the old empire, you lose. And if you go against the Ukrainians, you lose.”

Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Monday that Russia is attempting to make it seem like the world is on the brink of World War III because it has lost its “last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine.”

“Thus the talks of ‘real danger’ of WWIII,” Kuleba wrote “This only means Moscow senses a defeat in Ukraine.”

-ABC News’ Max Uzol and Christine Theodorou

Apr 25, 4:59 pm
Russian foreign minister says NATO supplies essentially a proxy war against Russia

In an interview with Russia’s Channel One, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said NATO weapons supplied to Ukraine are essentially a proxy war and that Russian troops will consider the Ukrainian warehouses storing the weapons as legitimate targets.

“Of course, these weapons will be a legitimate target for the Russian armed forces, which operate as part of a special armed operation. And warehouses, including in western Ukraine, have become such targets more than once,” Lavrov said Monday. “If NATO, in fact, goes to war with Russia, through a proxy, and arms this proxy, then in war as in war.”

Lavrov also claimed that “the real position of Ukraine is determined in Washington, London and other Western capitals.”

“Therefore, our political analysts say, why talk with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy]’s team, we need to talk with the Americans, negotiate with them, reach some kind of agreement,” Lavrov said.

-ABC News’ Natalia Shumskaia

Apr 25, 3:01 pm
Russian forces target railways, killing at least 5

Russian forces have carried out five strikes targeting Ukraine railway stations, according to the head of the state-run Ukrainian railways, Oleksandr Kamyshin.

The hardest hit were the towns of Zhmerynka and Kozyatyn, where five people were killed and 18 were injured, according to Serhii Borzov, the head of the Vinnytsia regional military administration.

No casualties were reported in the other railway strikes, which were in the Lviv, Rivne and Zhytomyr regions, officials said.

-ABC News’ Natalya Kushnir, Fidel Pavlenko and Christine Theodorou

Apr 25, 2:14 pm
UN secretary-general heading to Moscow for Lavrov, Putin meetings

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is traveling on Monday to Moscow, where on Tuesday he will have a working meeting and lunch with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov followed by a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a deputy spokesperson for the secretary-general said.

On Thursday, Guterres will visit Ukraine where he’ll meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Apr 25, 1:25 pm
About 15,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine war

About 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since the Ukraine invasion began, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Members of Parliament on Monday, according to the British Press Association.

Russia has lost more than 60 helicopters and fighter jets, and over 2,000 of Russia’s armored vehicles have been destroyed or captured, Wallace added.

Apr 25, 9:25 am
Biden announces nominee for ambassador to Ukraine

President Joe Biden is nominating Bridget Brink to serve as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, he announced Monday.

Brink is currently the U.S. ambassador to the Slovak Republic and previously served as senior adviser and deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

“Brink spent her twenty-five-year career in the Foreign Service focused on advancing U.S. policy in Europe and Eurasia,” Biden’s statement said.

Apr 25, 6:13 am
Blinken says Russia ‘already failed’ to achieve war goals

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said Russian had “already failed” to achieve its stated goals in Ukraine.

“In terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed,” Blinken told reporters in Poland, near the Ukrainian border. “And Ukraine has already succeeded because the principal aim that President Putin brought to this, in his own words, was to fully subsume Ukraine, back into Russia to take away its sovereignty and independence. And that has not happened and clearly will not happen.”

Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met on Sunday with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv, the capital, becoming the highest-level U.S. officials to visit the war-torn country since Russia invaded in February.

Topics discussed during their three-hour meeting included defense assistance, further sanctions on Russia and financial support for Ukraine, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy’s office.

“We appreciate the unprecedented assistance of the United States to Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said, according to his office. “I would like to thank President Biden personally and on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people for his leadership in supporting Ukraine, for his personal clear position.”

He added, “To thank all the American people, as well as the Congress for their bicameral and bipartisan support. We see it. We feel it.”

Apr 25, 1:03 am
US to provide $322M in additional aid, diplomats to return to Ukraine, officials tell Zelenskyy

The United States will provide Ukraine with $322 million in new aid and some diplomats will return to the war-torn country, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Sunday.

Blinken told Zelenskyy the U.S. would begin returning its diplomats to Ukraine this week, according to the senior State Dept. official. The U.S. will reopen offices in Lviv in western Ukraine, with diplomats traveling there from Poland each day, with the goal to “have our diplomats return to our embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible.”

President Joe Biden will also formally nominate Bridget Brink, currently serving as U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, according to the senior State Dept. official.

Among the new assistance announced last week, the first of the new Howitzers have arrived in Ukraine, Austin told Zelenskyy, a senior defense official told ABC News.

-ABC News’ Conor Finnegan

Apr 24, 5:23 pm
US secretary of state, defense chief meeting with Zelenskyy in Kyiv

An advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Chief Lloyd Austin are meeting with Ukraine’s leader on Sunday in Kyiv.

The adviser, Oleksii Arestovich, said in an interview on Ukrainian TV late Sunday that the talks are going on “right now.”

-ABC News’ Jason Volack

Apr 24, 5:08 pm
More than 2.9M people have fled Ukraine to Poland

More than 2.9 million people have fled Ukraine and sought refuge in Poland since the Russian invasion began in February, the Polish Border Guard said on Sunday.

In recent days, however, the number of people crossing the border into Poland has fallen, while the number of refugees going back into Ukraine has risen, according to the border guard.

On Saturday, about 21,100 people entered Ukraine from Poland, while 15,100 fled to Poland from Ukraine, the agency said on Twitter.

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