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Ukraine live briefing: First U.S.-supplied M1 Abrams tanks arrive in Ukraine

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Soldiers handle a U.S. M1 Abrams tank during a Finnish army mechanized exercise at the Pohjankangas training area in Niinisalo, Finland, on May 4, 2023. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/AFP/Getty Images)

DNIPRO, Ukraine — The first batch of U.S.-provided M1 Abrams tanks has arrived in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday — nine months after President Biden reversed course by committing to send 31 of the advanced battle tanks. U.S. military officials have said the deliveries would be gradual but that they expected them all to arrive in the coming weeks.

“I am grateful to the allies for fulfilling the agreements,” Zelensky said, hailing the tanks’ arrival. In March, the Pentagon said it would send the tanks by the fall, after facing scrutiny for initially saying it could take a year or two to get the weapons to the battlefield.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Less than half the total number of expected M1 Abrams tanks have arrived so far, a senior Ukrainian military official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military preparations.

Russian forces launched an aerial attack on the Black Sea port of Odessa early Monday, Ukraine’s air force and local officials said. Drones and missiles destroyed granaries and “significantly damaged” the city’s port, according to Ukraine’s southern command. The barrage came after Ukraine struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. Russia stepped up attacks on Odessa’s port infrastructure after pulling out of a United Nations-brokered grain deal in July. The deal had allowed Ukraine to safely export agricultural goods across the Black Sea.

At least one person died after a Russian attack struck the port in Odessa, Ukraine, on Sept. 25, according to Ukrainian officials. (Video: Reuters)

The Odessa attack was launched from the sea, using a surface missile carrier and a submarine, Ukrainian military officials said. At least two people died, governor Oleh Kiper said. Most of the missiles and drones were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses, but the port took a hit, and a fire broke out in a hotel that hasn’t been used in years, officials wrote on Telegram.

Canada’s House of Commons speaker apologized after praising a 98-year-old Ukrainian man who had served in a notorious Nazi military unit during World War II. Speaker Anthony Rota introduced Yaroslav Hunka following Zelensky’s address to Parliament on Friday, calling him a “Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero.” Jewish groups condemned the honor.

A prominent Russian opposition figure has been transferred to a maximum-security prison in Siberia, his attorney said Sunday. Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Washington Post opinions contributor, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 25 years in prison in April after publicly denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Some Ukrainian citizens were tortured to death under Russian occupation, a U.N. panel announced Monday. “In some cases, torture was inflicted with such brutality that it caused the death of the victims,” Erik Mose, chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva as his team presented its latest findings. Mose, a Norwegian judge with experience in international human rights, also said that Russian soldiers “raped and committed sexual violence against women of ages ranging from 19 to 83 years” in Kherson, with family members often kept next door to hear the abuses. Russia did not respond to the commission’s requests for communication, Mose added.

A bipartisan group of senators who visited Ukraine recently said there is no evidence that weapons provided by Washington are making their way onto the black market. “We’re monitoring. We’re following every piece of equipment. There has been no diversion. No evidence of misappropriation,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. The Biden administration is seeking approval from Congress for an additional $24 billion in aid to Ukraine but faces resistance from some Republicans who have taken issue with the vast sums of weaponry and money being provided.

Canada will provide Ukraine with defense support worth $482 million over the next three years, which will fund armored medevac vehicles that “are very much needed at the front,” Zelensky said in his Sunday night address. Zelensky met with Canadian leaders after his visit to Washington on Thursday.

Finland’s top diplomat said aiding Ukraine is “not charity.” In an interview with The Post’s Ishaan Tharoor, Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said “it feels good” to be a fully fledged member of NATO now. She also spoke about the dawning realization that “this is not just Putin’s war” — but one that the “machinery” of Russia has been gearing up to wage for “a very long time.”

Russian forces bombed the city of Beryslav, in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, local officials said Monday. According to regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin, at least two people were killed in the strikes, which hit an office and a residential building. “There may be people under the rubble,” he said. The attack came amid an intensification of airstrikes by Russian forces in the area.

Russia’s air defense forces claimed to have intercepted at least nine Ukrainian drones. The UAVs were detected on Monday in the Russian regions of Kursk, Belgorod and Bryansk, as well as over the Black Sea and Crimea, according to the Defense Ministry’s Telegram channel. It did not report any casualties.

Who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines? Almost one year ago, underwater explosions severely damaged the Nord Stream pipelines built to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe. The attack, which was quickly denounced by Western officials, inflamed geopolitical tensions that were already heightened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The implications were significant: An attack on the critical infrastructure of a member state threatened to draw the European Union and NATO into the war and came at a time when Europe was still working to wean itself from its dependence on Russian energy.

Here is what we know about the investigations, one year later, Niha Masih reports.

Hassan reported from London and Pannett from Wellington, New Zealand. Isabelle Khurshudyan in Dnipro, Ukraine, contributed to this report.



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