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Live Briefing: Russia Invades Ukraine

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Ukrainian infantrymen drafted during the latest mobalisation exercise in an unspecified location not far from front line in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on July 19.
Ukrainian infantrymen drafted during the latest mobalisation exercise in an unspecified location not far from front line in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on July 19.

RFE/RL's Live Briefing gives you all of the latest developments on Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Western military aid to Kyiv, worldwide reaction, and the plight of civilians and refugees. For all of RFE/RL's coverage of the war, click here.

Latest Developments At A Glance

  • A large Russian oil refinery in southern Russia sustained damage after it was set on fire early on July 22, regional officials said, as the Defense Ministry in Moscow said that it repelled a large Ukrainian drone attack targeting several regions.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that Ukraine respects U.S. President Joe Biden's "difficult but strong decision" to withdraw his candidacy for reelection and voiced hope that Washington would remain at the helm of Western support for Ukraine.
  • Ukraine's parliamentary human rights commissioner said the “vast majority” of Ukrainian prisoners who have been returned to the country in exchanges with Russia said they had no communication with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross while they were being held.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy faces a politically fraught time as the November presidential election in the United States looms, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera.
  • Russia has continued its assault on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, with drones and missiles targeting facilities throughout the country on July 20. Kharkiv region Governor Oleh Synyehubov said Iskander missiles killed two people and injured three in the eastern region.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he spoke with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and agreed to a face-to-face meeting to discuss steps to a lasting peace with Russia.
  • A gunman on July 19 shot and killed a former member of Ukraine's parliament known for campaigns to promote the Ukrainian language.
  • A Russian missile strike on the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv hit a playground, killing at least three people, including one child.

On The Battlefield, Russia Leans Into A Window Of Opportunity That Ukraine’s Trying To Shut

Things aren’t looking as bleak for Ukraine as they were in the spring. Despite stabilizing many of its lines, Ukraine still faces a concentrated Russian effort that appears to be aimed at making tangible gains before more Ukrainian soldiers and Western weapons show up at the front. Read the story by Mike Eckel here.

Ukraine Gets U.S. OK To Hit Targets Inside Russia. Now What?

Ukraine got the green light from Washington, and more than a dozen NATO allies, to start using Western weaponry on some targets inside Russia. Is it a game changer? Read the story by Mike Eckel here.

Why Is Ukraine Attacking Russia's Oil Refineries?

Russia said it would protect oil refineries better after several were struck by Ukrainian drones. Ukraine continues to hit the facilities, despite U.S. warnings against such attacks, as it launches larger and larger drone swarms. The strikes have decreased refinery output but beyond a morale boost for Ukraine, the effects are moderate so far. Read the story by Todd Prince here.

U.S. Weapons Are Coming To Ukraine. But Russian Forces Have The Momentum.

Ukraine’s defenses are nearing the breaking point amid a shortage of ammunition, manpower, and fortifications. U.S. weaponry is on its way, but it may not arrive in time to blunt Russia’s momentum. Read the story by Mike Eckel and Todd Prince here.

With ATACMS In Hand, Ukraine Looks To Neutralize Putin's Fortress In Crimea

Russia has spent billions militarizing Ukraine’s occupied Crimea region since 2014, and it’s been a launching pad for air attacks since 2022 and a staging ground for forces on Ukraine's mainland. Now, Kyiv thinks it can counter the threat from the peninsula with U.S. long-range ATACMS. Read the story by Todd Prince here.

Many Critics, Few Enthusiasts As Ukraine Moves To Fill The Ranks For The Fight Against Russia's Invasion

After long delays and heated debate, the Ukrainian parliament has passed a mobilization bill seeking to strengthen the army as invading Russian forces gain ground. There's plenty of doubt as to whether the watered-down, fragmented legislation can fix a recruitment system widely regarded as broken. Read the story by Aleksander Palikot here.

Ukraine Has No Navy. But It's Hammering Russia In The Black Sea.

The landing ship that purportedly sank off Crimea last week is one of nearly two dozen Russian warships that Ukraine has seriously damaged or sunk since the full-scale invasion two years ago. It’s an extraordinary set of naval losses inflicted by a country that currently doesn’t even have a navy. Read the report by Mike Eckel here.

Is Russia Betting It Can 'Outlast The Attention Span Of The West' To Defeat Ukraine?

Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to waste lots of lives and money to defeat Ukraine, argues Professor Peter Roberts, a senior associate fellow at the U.K.-based Royal United Services Institute. In an interview with RFE/RL's Georgian Service, Roberts says Putin is in it for the long haul and betting on the West's short attention span to defeat Ukraine. Read the interview by Vazha Tavberidze here.

Interactive: Occupied, Militarized Crimea

As Ukrainian leaders vow to reclaim all territories seized by Russia, Moscow has prepared extensive defensive measures, particularly in Crimea, a region unlawfully annexed in 2014. This area, now under Russian occupation, has been heavily militarized with an array of air bases and army bases, making it one of the most fortified zones in the war. View the interactive map by Crimea.Realities, Schemes, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, and Central Newsroom here.

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