Russia invades Ukraine, Mariupol is besieged

A month after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, its forces continued to be pushed back around the capital Kyiv and took up defensive positions northwest of the capital, a US official said. On Wednesday evening, CNN teams at the scene saw a barrage of fire emanating from the area.

Wins of Ukraine: Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian forces back to the front lines around Kyiv, a senior US defense official told reporters on Wednesday. Russian forces are about 55 kilometers (about 34 miles) from downtown Kiev to the east, the official said. Northwest of central Kyiv, “Russian forces are digging in and setting up defensive positions,” according to the official, and have not advanced any closer to central Kyiv along that line.

Russia steps up attacks in the east: At the same time, the official said that Russian forces are becoming more active in the eastern part of Ukraine in the Donbass region and that they have “put much more energy” into the Luhansk and Dontesk regions, the two Kremlin-declared independent republics before the invasion in the last month.

Russian ship destroyed: A large Russian ship has been wrecked in the Russian-held port of Berdyansk in southeastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian Navy said on Thursday. CNN could not confirm the Navy’s claim, although social media videos appeared to show a very large fire with secondary explosions in the port.

Russian stocks partially reopen: The Russian stock market opened for the first time in a month on Thursday as investors participated in a severely restricted trading session. The benchmark MOEX index gained as much as 10% in early trade in Moscow. Russian stocks last traded on February 25 after President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine caused stocks to plummet. In the weeks since Russian stocks halted trading, Western-imposed sanctions have crushed the ruble and sent the country’s economy into a tailspin.

Biden arrives at NATO summit: US President Joe Biden has arrived in Brussels for crisis summits to respond to the war in Ukraine. The visit comes as the West continues to wrestle with how to prevent Russia’s invasion. According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Biden will “discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts” during the NATO summit and reaffirm US commitment to its NATO allies.

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