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Live Briefing: Russia Invades Ukraine


A Russian air strike on a factory in the city of Soledar in the eastern Donbas region on May 24.

RFE/RL's Ukraine Live Briefing gives you the latest on Russia's invasion, how Kyiv is fighting back, the plight of civilians, and Western reaction. The Live Briefing presents the latest developments and analysis, updated throughout the day. For all of RFE/RL's coverage of the war, click here.

Here Are The Latest Developments

  • The military situation in eastern Ukraine is even worse than people say it is, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on May 26 as Russian forces continue to thrust ahead in the Donbas.
  • The U.S. ambassador to OSCE has condemned the “sheer barbarity, sadistic cruelty, and lawlessness” of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing residents of two Ukrainian regions, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, parts of which have been occupied by Russian forces, to obtain Russian citizenship.
  • Russia's parliament approved a bill that would raise the upper age limit for military personnel serving in the Russian Army on a contractual basis to 65.
  • A senior Russian government official says Moscow could allow vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine's Black Sea ports in return for the lifting of some sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the West, and Europe in particular, must tighten ranks and bolster support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's unprovoked war.
  • U.S. sports apparel giant Nike and venerable British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) say they are quitting the Russian market over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
  • A court in Kyiv sentenced 21-year-old Russian Vadim Shishimarin to life imprisonment for the murder of an unarmed civilian.
  • The United States will not extend a waiver set to expire on May 25 that allows Russia to pay U.S. bondholders through U.S. banks.

Can Russian Forces Encircle Ukraine's East?

Mark Cancian, a retired U.S. Marine colonel and senior adviser at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, explains how the Russian and Ukrainian militaries stack up against one another after three months of war and why a Russian assault on two cities is pivotal in the conflict. Read the interview by RFE/RL's Reid Standish here.

Digging Up Bodies In Ukraine In Search Of War Crimes Evidence

A team was exhuming the bodies of Russian soldiers near the village of Mala Rohan on May 18, in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine. Along with colleagues from Lithuania, they were searching for evidence of war crimes -- but are also identifying bodies to be sent back to Russia. Report by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.

Digging Up Bodies In Ukraine In Search Of War Crimes Evidence
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Can Ukraine's Military Continue To Outperform Russian Forces?

Retired U.S. Special Forces Colonel Liam Collins, the executive director of the Madison Policy Forum, explains how Ukrainian tactics can beat Russian numbers and why the war won't end soon. Read the interview by RFE/RL's Reid Standish here.

Russia's Capture Of Azovstal: Symbolic Success, 'Pyrrhic' Victory?

Analysts tell RFE/RL that Russia's capture of Mariupol after Ukrainian soldiers defending the Azovstal steel plant ended their fight is more of a symbolic victory than a military breakthrough. Read the full analysis by Todd Prince here.

Can Ukrainian Forces Successfully Counterattack In The Donbas?

George Barros, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, explains Kyiv's fighting strategy in eastern Ukraine and why conscription won't solve Russia's manpower problems. Read the interview by Reid Standish here.

Why Is Russia Losing So Much Military Equipment In Ukraine?

Russia has reportedly lost more than 650 tanks and about 3,000 other armored vehicles and heavy equipment so far in its invasion of Ukraine. Experts put the losses down to the advanced anti-tank weapons given to Ukraine by Western countries, poor strategy, low morale, and important design flaws. Read the report by Carlos Coelho here.

Why The 'Failure' Of Russian Spies, Generals Is Leading To 'Apocalyptic' Thinking In The Kremlin

Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov discusses the blame game under way in the Kremlin and why the Russian military's setbacks in Ukraine are making the elite more “aggressively pro-war.” Read the interview by Reid Standish here.

War In Ukraine: Unfiltered

Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine journalists from RFE/RL and Current Time have been in the thick of the action. Our coverage has chronicled every aspect of the war. To mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3, we looked back at our reporting on the conflict. Documentary by Ray Furlong, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, and Current Time

War In Ukraine: Unfiltered
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How Fast Can The EU Cut Its Reliance On Russian Gas? And Will Putin Move To Cut The EU Off First?

The European Union says it can drastically cut Russian natural gas imports this year and end them “well before” the decade is out. How realistic is that – and what if Russia moves to create economic havoc by cutting the EU off even earlier? Read the story by Todd Prince here.

Strategist Questions Russian Forces' Ability To 'Act Like A Western Army'

A leading U.S. naval strategist says the Kremlin appears unwilling to allow time for Russian forces to "reset and reform," but that the new commander of the Ukraine invasion needs to "fill the gaps" and "fix his armor" in light of "huge losses." Read the full interview here.

Is Russia Fascist? Experts Say 'No.'

Leading Western experts on fascism agree that Putin's Russia is an aggressive, dangerous dictatorship that shares some characteristics with fascist regimes. But, they say, it is not fascist itself. Read the full story by Robert Coalson here.

Is Russia Committing Genocide In Ukraine?

David Simon, a professor of political science and director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University, gave RFE/RL his take on whether Russia’s war on Ukraine and the actions of its soldiers there constitutes genocide. Read the interview by Todd Prince here.

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