Russia-Ukraine live updates: European Parliament declares Russia a terrorist state

(NEW YORK) — More than six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into neighboring Ukraine, the two countries are engaged in a struggle for control of areas throughout eastern and southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose forces began an offensive in August, has vowed to take back all Russian-occupied territory. But Putin in September announced a mobilization of reservists, which is expected to call up as many as 300,000 additional troops.

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

Nov 23, 8:34 AM EST
Cities across Ukraine hit with missile strikes

Missile strikes have been reported in a number of cities across Ukraine, including Kyiv.

Residential buildings and an infrastructure object in Kyiv were hit with missile strikes leaving one person dead north of the city, according to Ukrainian officials.

Nov 23, 7:04 AM EST
European Parliament declares Russia a terrorist state

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday recognizing Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“The European Parliament adopts a resolution declaring Russia a terrorist state,” Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament from Belgium, said in a Twitter post. “Putin’s regime is a state sponsor of terrorism, complicit in war crimes [and] must face the international consequences.”

Nov 22, 4:14 PM EST
Investigation launched after claim that Russian soldiers who surrendered were killed

Ukraine’s prosecutor general launched an investigation after a video emerged on social media of the Kremlin claiming Russian soldiers were killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine claimed Russia staged the attack, but Ukrainian authorities said they will investigate.

The videos, verified by the New York Times as authentic, have been circled online and in Ukrainian and Russian media show moments before and after a group of at least 11 Russian troops were killed by Ukrainian fighters after one of their fellow fighters suddenly opened fire on Ukrainian soldiers standing nearby.

The Ukrainian prosecutor general said law enforcement opened the criminal case “after Russian occupiers pretended to give up and then opened fire on fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” according to a statement.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Nov 22, 2:27 PM EST
Ukraine liberated over 1,800 settlements from Russian occupation, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed Ukrainian forces have liberated over 1,800 settlements that were occupied by Russian forces. Zelenskyy claimed that more than 3,700 settlements have been occupied, he said in an address Tuesday.

Zelenskyy claimed that Russian soldiers mined and looted everything they could, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of buildings destroyed or damaged by shelling.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Nov 19, 12:49 PM EST
US warns Russia’s eroding situation could lead to ‘more nuclear saber-rattling’

Russia’s eroding situation could lead Russian President Vladimir Putin to “more nuclear saber-rattling,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Saturday.

“The ripples of Russia’s invasion has traveled far beyond Europe. Beijing, like Moscow, seeks a world where autocrats can stamp out the flame of freedom,” Austin said while addressing the Halifax International Security Forum.

Austin said the deadly explosion in Poland this week was the result of the “recklessness of Putin’s war of choice.”

“Russia’s invasion offers a preview of a possible world of tyranny and turmoil that none of us would want to live in. And it’s an invitation to an increasingly insecure world haunted by the shadow of nuclear proliferation,” Austin said.

He went on, “Putin’s fellow autocrats are watching and they could well conclude that getting nuclear weapons would give them a hunting license of their own. And that could drive a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation.”

Nov 18, 2:36 PM EST
Trace of explosives found at Nord Stream pipelines, Swedish prosecutors say

An investigation into the cause of a leak from the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea revealed “extensive damage” and several “foreign items,” some with detectable “explosive residue,” the Swedish Security Service and a prosecutor said Friday.

“The advanced analysis work is still in progress – the aim is to draw more definitive conclusions about the Nord Stream incidents. The investigation is extensive and complex and will eventually show whether anyone can be suspected of, and later prosecuted for this,” prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist and the Swedish Security Service said in a statement.

Several blasts near the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines on Sept. 26 caused leaks. Officials are still investigating the cause of the blasts. Major pipelines which supply natural gas from Russia to Europe, were shut off in September. While they were not in use at the time of the blast, the pipelines were filled with natural gas.

Nov 17, 1:53 PM EST
Russian strike on Ukraine’s Dnipro leaves 23 injured

A Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Dnipro has left 23 people injured, 15 of whom are in hospital. One person is in grave condition, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

Local officials earlier said the strike had left at least 14 people dead.

Air raid sirens went off in several Ukrainian cities including Odessa and Zaporizhzhia. Officials said four missiles were shot down in Kyiv.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky, Joe Simonetti and James Longman

Nov 17, 1:23 PM EST
Polish officials grant Ukrainian investigators access to site of missile explosion

Polish authorities have granted Ukrainian investigators access to site of the missile explosion, as an investigation into the origin of the missile continues, according to Jakub Kumoch, an aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who denies that the missile originated from Ukrainian air defense, has been requesting access to the site.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Nov 17, 12:57 PM EST
Ukrainian officials refute US estimates on number of killed, injured soldiers

Top Ukrainian security officials are refuting U.S. estimates of how many Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured in the war. Last week, the U.S. chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, said around 100,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or injured.

Ukrainian officials are now saying that figure is “not entirely true.”

Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s secretary of National Security and Defense Council, said the casualty figures are “definitely not those.”

-ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge

Nov 17, 11:35 AM EST
Biden says Zelenskyy’s statements on Poland missile incident are ‘not evidence’

President Joe Biden was asked by reporters Thursday what his reaction was to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denying that the missile that landed in Poland was Ukrainian.

“That’s not the evidence,” Biden responded.

On Wednesday, the White House told reporters it had “seen nothing” to contradict the assessment that the explosion in Poland was likely caused by a Ukrainian defense missile.

“We will continue to assess and share any new information transparently as it becomes available. We will also continue to stay in close touch with the Ukrainians regarding any information they have to fill out the picture,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Lauren Minore

Nov 16, 3:00 PM EST
Zelenskyy disputes claim that missile blast in Poland was fired by Ukraine’s air-defense system

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed back Wednesday against claims that a Ukrainian defense missile landed in Polish territory on Tuesday, killing two.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday that the Russian-made missile likely came from Ukraine’s air-defense system.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he backs Duda’s assertion.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez, Matt Seyler and Tom Soufi Burridge

Nov 16, 12:48 PM EST
Ukrainian air defense missile likely caused deadly blast in Poland: US official

The U.S. believes that the missile strike was likely due to a Ukrainian air defense missile, according to a U.S. official. The missile strike killed two Polish civilians.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Nov 16, 9:08 AM EST
CIA director met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv after meeting Russian counterpart

CIA Director Bill Burns traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, following a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Turkey, according to a U.S. official.

Burns was in the Ukrainian capital during Tuesday’s widespread Russian missile strikes.

“He is safe and was safely in the U.S. embassy during the strikes,” the official said.

While in Kyiv, the official said, Burns “discussed the U.S. warning he delivered to the head of Russia’s SVR not to use nuclear weapons and reinforced the U.S. commitment to provide support to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.”

Nov 16, 7:27 AM EST
Polish police share photo of large crater from missile

Poland’s national police force posted an image on Twitter on Wednesday purportedly showing the site of Tuesday’s missile blast, which left two people dead.

The photo showed authorities collecting evidence from a large crater in the ground, alongside debris and a destroyed vehicle.

The Polish Police said in the tweet that its “officers have been securing the area” since the blast happened in the southeastern village of Przewodow, which is close to the border with Ukraine. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, but Polish President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday that the projectile was “probably a Russian-made S-300 missile” and, so far, appeared to be an “unfortunate accident.”

W #Przewodów, gdzie doszło do wybuchu policjanci od początku zdarzenia zabezpieczają teren. Policyjni eksperci m. in. z @CBSPolicji, #CLKP, Biura Kryminalnego @PolskaPolicja wspólnie z innymi służbami szczegółowo wyjaśniają okoliczności zdarzenia i zabezpieczają dowody.

— Polska Policja 🇵🇱 (@PolskaPolicja) November 16, 2022

Nov 16, 7:10 AM EST
Kremlin notes ‘reserved and far more professional reaction’ from US to missile incident

Russia on Wednesday noted the “reserved and far more professional reaction” of the United States compared with other countries following Tuesday’s missile blast that killed two people in Poland.

“In this case, one should take note of the reserved and far more professional reaction of the American side and the American president,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a press briefing in Moscow.

Peskov said the U.S. government’s reaction “stood in contrast to the absolutely hysterical reaction of the Polish side and a whole number of other countries.”

U.S. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that it’s “unlikely” the missile was fired from Russia but that he and other leaders of the G-7 and NATO would support Poland’s investigation into what happened. Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday that the projectile was “probably a Russian-made S-300 missile” but that, so far, it appeared to be an “unfortunate accident.”

Nov 15, 9:18 PM EST
Biden says it’s ‘unlikely’ missile that hit in Poland was fired from Russia

Following his meeting with leaders of the G-7 and NATO on Ukraine, President Joe Biden said Tuesday night that it’s “unlikely” the missile that hit Poland was fired from Russia, but that the group would support the investigation into what happened.

When asked if it’s too early to say whether the missile was fired by Russia, Biden responded: “There is preliminary information that contests that. I don’t want to say that till we completely investigate, but it’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we will see.”

“I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened,” Biden said, and then determine the next steps, adding that there was “total unanimity” among leaders today on this decision.

The president added that recent Russian missile attacks were also a point of discussion this morning.

“They have been totally unconscionable, what they are doing, totally unconscionable,” he said.

-ABC News’ Justin Ryan Gomez

Nov 15, 7:47 PM EST
Polish president says rocket may have been Russian-made; investigation underway

Polish President Andrzej Duda said Tuesday night that a rocket that landed near the Polish-Ukrainian border, killing two Polish citizens, may have been Russian-made. Though he said that there is no conclusive evidence at this time of who launched the missile and that an investigation is underway.

Duda said he has also spoken with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President Joe Biden.

Stoltenberg said earlier that NATO is monitoring the situation.

Nov 15, 6:41 PM EST
Biden speaks with Polish president, offers ‘full US support’

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Polish President Andrzej Duda and “expressed deep condolences for the loss of life in Eastern Poland,” according to the White House.

Biden “offered full U.S support for and assistance with Poland’s investigation” and the two agreed “they and their teams should remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation proceeds,” the White House said.

Polish officials confirmed that two Polish citizens were killed in an explosion Tuesday in the area of Hrubieszów. They were the owner of a granary that was stuck and a tractor driver who was transferring corn to the facility, according to local officials.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Tomek Rolski

Nov 15, 5:21 PM EST
Biden administration asks Congress for $37.7B for Ukraine

The White House said Tuesday it has asked Congress for $37.7 billion in additional funding for Ukraine.

The funding would include defense support and humanitarian assistance and be for the rest of the current fiscal year, which runs until Sep. 30, 2023, according to the White House.

“Together, with strong, bipartisan support in the Congress, we have provided significant assistance that has been critical to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield — and we cannot let that support run dry,” Shalanda Young, the head of the White House budget office, said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday on the funding request.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

Nov 15, 4:47 PM EST
State Department investigating reported strike in Poland, will determine ‘appropriate next steps’

State Department officials are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the reported strike in Poland, Principal Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.

Calling the reports “incredibly concerning,” Patel said they were in close communication with the Polish government and other NATO allies to “gather more information.”

“We can’t confirm the reports or any of the details at this time. But I can assure you we will determine what happened and what appropriate next steps would be,” he said during a briefing Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan has spoken with Chief of the National Security Bureau of Poland Jacek Siewiera, according to White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

“We’ve seen the reports out of Poland and are working with the Polish government to gather more information,” Watson said in a statement, also adding that the White House cannot confirm the reports or any details at this time.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the reports and will be speaking with Polish President Andrzej Duda “shortly,” the White House said.

-ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford and Ben Gittleson


Nov 15, 1:52 PM EST
Polish PM calls urgent meeting amid unconfirmed reports of rockets landing in Poland


Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called a meeting of the Committee of the Council of Ministers for National Security and Defense Affairs amid unconfirmed reports that the NATO ally was hit with stray Russian missiles.

According to Polish media, two stray Russian rockets landed in Polish territory killing two people. The rockets reportedly landed in the Polish town of Przewodów, near the border with Ukraine. These reports have not yet been independently confirmed by ABC News.

-ABC News Tom Soufi Burridge and Will Gretsky

Nov 15, 11:48 AM EST
Lviv loses 80% of electricity, heating and hot water stopped, mayor says

After Russia hit critical infrastructure in the Lviv region, the area lost 80% of its electricity supply. The city’s heating and hot water supply has also stopped and there are mobile service interruptions, according to Andriy Sadovyi, the mayor of Lviv.

Sadovyi warned residents to stay in shelters.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Nov 15, 11:45 AM EST
Zelenskyy lays out ‘peace formula’ to ‘G-19,’ which Lavrov calls ‘unrealistic’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday demanded that Russia end its invasion and reiterated that the territorial integrity of his country is not up for negotiation.

Appearing via video link from Kyiv, Zelenskyy addressed the leaders of the Group of 20 at a summit in Bali as the “dear G-19” — an apparent snub to Russia, whose foreign minister was attending the event.

“Apparently, one cannot trust Russia’s words and there will be no Minsk 3, which Russia would violate immediately after signing,” Zelenskyy said, referring to the Minsk 1 and 2 agreements signed in 2014 and 2015, respectively, which aimed to bring an end to fighting at that time. Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 before using Kremlin-backed proxies to seize territory in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

“I want this aggressive Russian war to end justly and on the basis of the U.N. charter and international law,” he added. “Ukraine should not be offered to conclude compromises with its conscience, sovereignty, territory and independence. We respect the rules and we are people of our word.”

The Ukrainian president called on the United Nations to dispatch a mission to assess the damages to his country’s energy infrastructure from Russian missile strikes. He said Russian forces should also withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — the largest in Ukraine and in Europe — so that the International Atomic Energy Agency — the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog — can take control of the site together with Ukrainian officials.

In addition, Zelenskyy said his country needs a framework that guarantees the long-term security of his country and he called again for a special tribunal to investigate Russian war crimes in Ukraine. He called this series of proposals Ukraine’s “peace formula” and all of them, he said, must be achieved before there is an end to the ongoing war.

“If Russia wants to end this war, let it show it with actions,” Zelenskyy said. “We will not allow Russia to wait us out, to grow its forces and then start a new series of terror and global destabilization. I am sure that it is necessary and possible to stop this destructive Russian war now.”

In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was attending the G-20 summit in Bali, called Zelensky’s demands “unrealistic.”

-ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge and Patrick Reevell

Nov 15, 10:11 AM EST
Strikes on Kyiv part of Russian strikes across Ukraine

There are reports of Russian strikes in several regions throughout Ukraine after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to G-20 leaders.

The head of the regional administration in Kharkiv confirmed strikes in that region. Ukrainian media reported that people in the Zhytomyr region are without power after strikes.

There are also unconfirmed reports of explosions in the Lviv region, Rivne and Kryvyi Rih.

-ABC News’ Tom Burridge

Nov 15, 9:22 AM EST
Kyiv hit with a series of missile strikes

There have been a series of Russian missile strikes on Kyiv, with the city’s mayor, Vitaliy Klitchko, saying two residential buildings have been hit and several missiles were shot down by air defense.

So far there are no details on casualties; however, unverified videos circulating show an apartment block engulfed in flames.

Nov 14, 3:17 PM EST
International Atomic Energy Agency to dispatch security missions to 3 nuclear plants

The International Atomic Energy Agency will send security missions to three nuclear plants in Ukraine, the agency announced Monday.

Safety and security experts will be dispatched to the South Ukraine, Khmelnytskyi and Rivne Nuclear power plants following a request from Ukraine, the IAEA said in a statement. A security mission will also be conducted at the Chernobyl site, said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.

The IAEA already has a team of experts continuously present at the country’s largest such facility, the Zaporizhzhya plant, and has been carrying out safety measures and checks at three other locations in Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government following allegations by the Russian Federation about activities there, according to the agency.

“From the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the IAEA has been doing everything it can to prevent a nuclear accident with potentially serious consequences for public health and the environment,” Grossi said. “We have delivered nuclear safety and security equipment, produced impartial assessments of the situation, and provided technical expertise and advice.”

-ABC News’ Will Gretzky

Nov 14, 3:06 PM EST
UN General Assembly calls on Russia to pay reparations

The United Nations General Assembly has approved its fifth resolution this year that supports Ukraine and rebukes Russia, declaring that Moscow should pay for damages caused by its invasion.

The resolution, which 94 countries voted in favor of, calls for the creation of “an international mechanism for reparation for damage, loss or injury” resulting from the war.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Canada, Guatemala, Netherlands and Ukraine. China was among the 14 countries that voted against it. There were 73 absentations.

While not legally binding, General Assembly resolutions have been viewed by Western powers as a powerful messaging tool through the conflict, communicating worldwide opposition to Russia’s invasion.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

Nov 14, 1:21 PM EST
US citizen among prisoners freed in liberated Kherson

A U.S. citizen has been freed from prison in Kherson, the southern city that Russia had occupied for about eight months, according to a member of Ukraine’s parliament.

Swede Merekezi was arrested in Kherson in July and had not been in contact with officials for “a long time,” Ukraine parliament member Alexandr Kovaliov said in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday.

Merekezi was in Ukraine to defend “our country’s independence” and will be heading home on Monday, Kovaliov said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said they are aware of unconfirmed reports but declined to comment further due to privacy concerns.

“This once again proves the cohesion and hard work of our team,” Kovaliov said.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford and Will Gretsky

Nov 14, 6:31 AM EST
Zelenskyy visits Kherson after liberation

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy on Monday visited Kherson, the southern city that Russia had occupied for about eight months.

He handed out awards and was seen speaking to soldiers and civilians. Video footage showed Zelenskyy waving to residents who waved at him from an apartment window and yelled, “Glory to Ukraine!”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the visit, other than to say that it was Russian territory.

-ABC News’ Joe Simonetti

Nov 13, 1:36 PM EST
Ukrainians celebrate Kherson liberation

Russian forces completed their retreat from the Ukrainian city of Kherson on Friday. Now, Ukrainians are celebrating the liberation.

Nov 12, 2:45 PM EST
Banksy mural unveiled in Ukraine

Renowned street artist Banksy debuted a new work in a war-torn Ukrainian town in the Kyiv region.

The anonymous British artist posted photos of a mural to Instagram on Friday in Borodyanka, which was liberated from Russian forces in April.

The piece, which depicts a young girl doing a handstand on a pile of concrete rubble, was painted onto the wall of a building destroyed by shelling.

Fans were taking photos of the work, as well as several others presumed to be by the artist, in the region on Saturday.

Nov 11, 3:15 PM EST
Satellite images show damage to bridge near Kherson

New satellite images from Maxar, a Colorado space technology company, show massive damage to Kherson’s Antonovskiy Bridge and other structures after the Russian withdrawal across the Dnipro River.

The bridge is the main way to cross over the Dnipro River near the city of Kherson.

Photos show several sections of the key bridge have been completely destroyed.

ABC News’ Stephen Wood

Nov 11, 10:54 AM EST
Russians leave Kherson Oblast, not just the city

Russian forces have retreated not just from the city of Kherson, but the rest of Kherson province that surrounds the city and lies north of the Dnipro River.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said that its 30,000 troops have now crossed to the other bank of the river, a figure that is in line with how many forces U.S. officials had estimated were in Kherson.

Russians claimed they are continuing to shell areas around Kherson that they’ve just left, which could be a concern for Ukrainian troops who will be in the range of Russian artillery fire while in the city.

Russia also claimed that fire damage is being inflicted on the accumulations of manpower and military equipment of the Ukrainian armed forces on the right bank of the Dnipro River.

ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Nov 11, 10:06 AM EST
Russia says withdrawal from Kherson complete

Russian forces have completed their retreat from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, the Russian Ministry of Defense said, saying the last of its troops crossed over to the other side of the Dnipro river.

In a statement carried by Russia’s state news agencies, the ministry said the withdrawal was completed at 5 a.m. Moscow time on Friday.

ABC News’ Patrick Reevell

Nov 10, 3:53 PM EST
Pentagon announces $400M in aid to Ukraine

The Pentagon announced a new $400 million defense package for Ukraine on Thursday.

The new aid will include four short-range Avenger air defense systems, which is a first for the packages approved for the war in Ukraine. It will also include more missiles for HAWK air defense systems, more anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, HIMARS ammunition, precision-guided artillery rounds and Humvees.

The Ukrainians will need some training on the Avengers, according to Deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh, who did not give an estimate on when the systems might arrive and be ready to use.

With this latest drawdown, the U.S. has now committed more than $18.6 billion for the war since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

ABC News’ Matt Seyler

Nov 10, 11:51 AM EST
US estimates 100,000 Russians killed or wounded in Ukraine

A new U.S. assessment estimates 100,000 Russians have been killed or wounded in the war in Ukraine, according to Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The U.S. last gave an estimate in early August that the number of Russians killed and wounded was between 70,000 and 80,000.

“There has been a tremendous amount of suffering, human suffering, you’re looking at maybe 15, 20, 30 million refugees, probably 40,000 Ukrainian innocent people who are civilians have been killed as collateral damage,” said Milley.

He added, “You’re looking at well over 100,000 Russian soldiers killed or wounded, same thing probably on the Ukrainian side.”

He pointed out that Russia invaded Ukraine with a force of 170,000 troops.

ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Nov 09, 12:54 PM EST
Oligarch close to Putin says Russian troop retreat was necessary

Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who runs the private military company Wagner, said Wednesday that Russia’s retreat from the key Ukrainian city of Kherson was painful but necessary.

Prigozhin, nicknamed “Putin’s Chef” due to his restaurant and catering businesses, said Russian troops had to withdraw from Kherson because they were nearly surrounded by Ukrainian forces and cut off from supply lines.

“Neither I, nor Wagner abandoned Kherson,” Pigozhin said. “Without question, it is not a victorious step in this war, but it’s important not to agonize, nor to fall into paranoia, but to make conclusions and work on mistakes.”

He praised Russian Gen. Sergey Surovikin for making the decision to withdraw Russian troops and saving the lives of thousands of soldiers.

ABC News’ Patrick Reevell

Nov 09, 11:32 AM EST
Russian troops retreat from key Ukrainian city

Russia’s defense minister and top commander in Ukraine announced Wednesday that Russian troops will pull back from the key city of Kherson in southern Ukraine.

Defense minister Sergey Shoigu said he accepted a proposal from Russian Gen. Sergey Surovikin to order Russian forces to retreat to the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, in effect abandoning the city of Kherson.

Surovikin said it was a “very difficult decision” and justified it as necessary to save the lives of Russian soldiers and to preserve their capacity for future operations.

“Besides that, it frees up part of the forces and resources, which will be employed for active actions, including offensive, in other directions,” Surovikin said in the televised meeting with Shoigu.

Kherson is the only regional capital the Russians have occupied since 2014. The city and the surrounding area act as a gateway to Crimea Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Nov 09, 3:21 AM EST
White House denounces Griner transfer to penal colony

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star detained in Russia, has been transferred to a penal colony, a move decried by White House officials.

“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement early Wednesday. “As the Administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the President has directed the Administration to prevail on her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she may be forced to endure in a penal colony.”

Griner’s lawyers said in a statement that she was transferred on Nov. 4 from a detention center in Iksha. She’s now on her way to a penal colony in an undisclosed location.

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” the lawyers, Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a statement. “In accordance with the standard Russian procedure the attorneys, as well as the U.S. Embassy, should be notified upon her arrival at her destination.”

The White House said it had made a “significant offer” to Russian officials to “resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens.”

“In the subsequent weeks, despite a lack of good faith negotiation by the Russians, the U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russians through all available channels,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

She added, “The U.S. Government is unwavering in its commitment to its work on behalf of Brittney and other Americans detained in Russia — including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan.”

ABC News’ Cindy Smith, Ahmad Hemingway and Tanya Stukalova

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