Russia invades Ukraine, besieged Mariupol

A month after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, its forces continued to be pushed back around the capital of kyiv and took up defensive positions northwest of the capital, a US official said. On Wednesday night, CNN crews on the ground saw a barrage of gunfire coming out of the area.

Ukraine’s wins: Ukrainian forces have repelled Russian forces on the front lines around kyiv, a senior US defense official told reporters on Wednesday. The Russian forces are about 55 kilometers (about 34 miles) from downtown kyiv to the east, the official said. Northwest of downtown Kyiv, Russian forces are “digging in and establishing defensive positions,” according to the official, and did not approach downtown Kyiv along that line.

Russia intensifies in the East: At the same time, the official said that Russian forces were becoming more active in the eastern part of Ukraine in the Donbass region, saying they had “applied much more energy” in the Luhansk and Luhansk regions. Dontesk, the two areas the Kremlin declared independent republics before last month’s invasion.

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

Russian stocks partially reopen: The Russian Stock Exchange opened for the first time in a month on Thursday as investors participated in a very restricted trading session. The benchmark MOEX index earned up to 10% in the first exchanges in Moscow. Russian stocks were last traded on Feb. 25 after President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sent stocks plummeting. In the weeks following the cessation of Russian actions, Western-imposed sanctions crushed the ruble and put the the country’s economy free fall.

Biden arrives at NATO summit: US President Joe Biden arrived in Brussels for emergency summits to respond to the war in Ukraine. The visit comes as the West continues to grapple with how to disrupt the Russian invasion. According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Biden will “discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts” at the NATO summit and reaffirm America’s commitment to its NATO allies.

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