(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in neighboring Ukraine began Feb. 24, with Russian forces invading from Belarus in the north and Russia in the east. Ukrainian troops offered “fierce resistance”, according to US officials.

The Russian military has since launched a large-scale ground offensive in the disputed Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, capturing the strategic port city of Mariupol and securing a coastal corridor to the Crimean peninsula annexed to Moscow.

Here’s how the news evolves. All times Eastern:

August 30, 4:31 p.m. EDT
Blinken announces the arrival of the first shipment of Ukrainian grain in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday celebrated the first shipment of Ukrainian grain to arrive in the Horn of Africa – a region facing excruciating famine – since the start of the Russian invasion.

“The United States welcomes the arrival in Djibouti of 23,300 metric tons of Ukrainian grain aboard the vessel Brave Commander. These grains will be distributed in Ethiopia and Somalia, countries that are experiencing dangerous food insecurity after four years of drought,” Blinken said in a statement.

This is the first shipload to reach the region since a United Nations-brokered agreement that allowed ships to leave Ukrainian ports again.

According to Ukrainian officials, dozens of ships have been able to navigate safely in the Black Sea in recent weeks. But State Department officials have claimed that Russian allies, such as Syria, have unfairly benefited from recent exports, which has proven to be detrimental to countries that the World Food Program says face a level of need. higher.

-Shannon Crawford of ABC News

August 30, 4:25 p.m. EDT
EU makes preventive donation of 5.5 million potassium iodide tablets to protect Ukrainians from potential radiation exposure

The European Commission said on Friday it received a request from the Ukrainian government for potassium iodide tablets as a preventive security measure to increase the level of protection around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The European Response Coordination Center rapidly mobilized 5.5 million potassium iodide tablets through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for Ukraine, including 5 million from rescEU emergency reserves and 500 000 from Austria.

“No nuclear power plant should ever be used as a theater of war,” said European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič. “It is unacceptable that civilian lives are put at risk. All military action around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant must cease immediately. »

-Max Uzol of ABC News

August 30, 2:15 p.m. EDT
The senses. Klobuchar and Portman meet Zelenskyy in Ukraine

The senses. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov during a visit to the war-torn country.

“The support that the United States has given has been strongly bipartisan and we want that to continue,” Klobuchar told ABC News.

Portman noted Ukraine’s psychological advantage now advancing in Kherson, which was the first oblast taken by the Russians six months ago.

This shows that “even when the Russians are entrenched, as they are in this region, the Ukrainians can make progress in an offensive,” he said. “And I hope we continue to see that to the point where the Russians finally come to the negotiating table and stop this illegal and totally unprovoked war against Ukraine.”

-ABC News’ Ibtissem Guenfoud

August 30, 11:07 a.m. EDT
Russian forces bomb corridors leading to nuclear plant, Ukraine says

Mykhailo Podolyak, senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Russian forces were bombarding the corridors the International Atomic Energy Agency mission would take to reach the Zaporizhzhia power station in southeastern Ukraine. .

Podolyak said Russian forces were likely shelling the way to ensure the IAEA mission passed through Russian-held territory to reach the plant.

August 29, 4:38 p.m. EDT
Zelensky vows to recover all territory lost by Russian forces

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Monday to recover all territory lost by Russian forces.

“Ukraine is giving back. And he will return Kharkiv region, Lugansk region, Donetsk region, Zaporizhzhia region, Kherson region, Crimea. Certainly our entire water zone of the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov, from Zmiinyi Island to the Kerch Strait,” he said in his daily address. “It will happen. It’s ours. And just as our society understands it, I want the occupants to understand it too. There will be no place for them on Ukrainian soil.

Zelenskyy said his message to Russian fighters is that if they want to survive, it’s time for them to flee or surrender.

“The occupiers must know that we will send them back to the border — to our border, the line of which has not changed. The invaders know this well,” he said. “If they want to survive, it’s time for the Russian army to flee. Go home. If you are afraid to return to your home in Russia, well, let these occupants surrender, and we will guarantee them compliance with all the standards of the Geneva Conventions.

August 29, 3:00 p.m. EDT
White House calls for controlled shutdown of nuclear reactors in Zaporizhzhia, DMZ around plant

White House spokesman John Kirby said Monday that Russia should agree to a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and that a controlled shutdown of the reactors “would be the safest and least risky option short term”.

Kirby also expressed support for the IAEA’s mission to the power plant.

“We fully support International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Grossi’s expert mission to the power plant, and we are pleased that the team is on its way to verify safety, security and safeguards of the systems there, as well as to assess staff working conditions,” he said. “Russia should ensure safe and unhindered access to these independent inspectors.”

-Ben Gittleson of ABC News

August 29, 1:33 p.m. EDT
Ukrainian forces launch major counter-offensive

Ukrainian forces have launched a major counteroffensive in several directions in southern Ukraine, Natalia Humeniuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian operational command, said on Monday.

Humeniuk said the situation in the south remains “tense” but under control.

The Ukrainians have been targeting strategic Russian command posts and slowly advancing towards Kherson for weeks. Kherson was the first major southern city to be captured by Russian forces after the invasion.

The Russian military released a statement confirming the offensive and saying Ukraine had suffered heavy casualties.

Meanwhile, at least 12 missiles hit Mykolaiv, which remains under Ukrainian control in the south. Two people were killed and 24 were injured, according to the governor of Mykolaiv Oblast.

-Max Uzol and Natalia Shumskaia of ABC News

August 29, 12:47 p.m. EDT
Ukrainian official accused of treason is shot dead

Oleksiy Kovalyov, a Ukrainian official charged with treason for openly collaborating with Russia, was shot dead at his home in Hola Prystan, Kherson Oblast on Sunday, according to preliminary information from the Investigative Committee of Russia (SKR). An unidentified woman was also killed, SKR said.

Kovalyov was a Ukrainian lawmaker from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s party who was charged with treason; criminal proceedings were initiated by the Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigations in June. He is one of the highest-ranking Ukrainian defectors who fled to Kherson after the invasion and openly collaborated with Russia. He was appointed by the Russians to the post of deputy head of the military-civilian administration of Kherson.

August 29, 12:19 p.m. EDT
IAEA says mission to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is ‘on the way’

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog announced on Monday that the agency’s long-awaited expert mission to the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southeastern Ukraine “is now on its way” .

“The day has come,” Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a post on Twitter.

Grossi, who heads the IAEA’s “Zaporizhzhia Support and Assistance Mission”, has long sought access to the nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe. Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations of shelling at or near the site in recent weeks, stoking fears the fighting could trigger a nuclear disaster.

“We must protect the safety and security of the largest nuclear facility in #Ukraine and Europe,” Grossi tweeted, along with a photo of him with 13 other experts. “Proud to lead this mission which will be in #ZNPP later this week.”

Shortly after invading neighboring Ukraine on February 24, Russian troops stormed the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant near the town of Enerhodar, on the banks of the Dnipro River in the southeast of the country. Ukrainian workers have been left behind to keep the plant running as it supplies electricity across the war-torn country.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the IAEA team would travel to the plant via Ukrainian-controlled territory, state agency TASS reported.

The area around the nuclear power plant is controlled by Russian forces. Peskov said that once the IAEA team enters Russian-held territory, all necessary security will be provided.

August 29, 2:21 a.m. EDT
IAEA says mission to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is ‘on the way’

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog announced on Monday that the agency’s long-awaited expert mission to the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southeastern Ukraine “is now on its way” .

“The day has come,” Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a post on Twitter.

Grossi, who heads the IAEA’s “Zaporizhzhia Support and Assistance Mission”, has long sought access to the nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe. Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations of shelling at or near the site in recent weeks, stoking fears the fighting could trigger a nuclear disaster.

“We must protect the safety and security of the largest nuclear facility in #Ukraine and Europe,” Grossi tweeted, along with a photo of him with 13 other experts. “Proud to lead this mission which will be in #ZNPP later this week.”

Shortly after invading neighboring Ukraine on February 24, Russian troops stormed the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant near the town of Enerhodar on the banks of the Dnipro River in the southeast of the country. Ukrainian workers have been left behind to keep the plant running as it supplies electricity across the war-torn country.

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