Russia-Ukraine Live Updates: Russia releases list of Americans banned from the country | World

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(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:

May 21, 11:42 a.m.

Biden signs $40 billion Ukraine aid bill

President Biden signed into law the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill on Saturday, the White House announced in a press release.

The bill provides additional emergency funds to federal agencies to respond and provide assistance to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Biden on Twitter for his help.

“The leadership of the United States, President Biden, and the American people in supporting the struggle of Ukrainians against Russian aggressor is crucial. Expect powerful new defense assistance. Today, it is more than ever necessary,” Zelenskyy said.

-Molly Nagle and Max Uzol of ABC News

May 21, 10:44 a.m.

Russian Foreign Ministry publishes list of Americans banned from entering Russia

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday published a list of American citizens permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation.

Russia said the move was in retaliation for anti-Russian sanctions currently imposed by the United States.

The list published on the ministry’s website includes 963 US citizens, including President Joe Biden.

May 20, 5 p.m.

More than 40 countries will participate in the next meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine

More than 40 countries will be represented at the second meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group, formed last month to coordinate international support for Ukraine, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.

Monday’s meeting “will allow us to continue to dive into a process to get Ukraine, or at least make other nations available and informed about what Ukraine needs as the fight continues,” Kirby said. to reporters at a Friday briefing.

More than 40 nations attended the first meeting virtually and in person at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. New countries will participate in the second, which will be strictly virtual, Kirby said.

“Some countries that weren’t at the first meeting have expressed interest in participating,” said Kirby, who called the first iteration a “true global community” of nations from NATO and beyond.

May 20, 3:41 p.m.

Russian Defense Ministry claims to have taken full control of Azovstal steel plant, Mariupol

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Friday that it had seized full control of the Azovstal and Mariupol plant from Ukrainian forces, expelling them from the port city.

The plant’s underground facilities, in which the National Azov Regiment militia were hiding, came under the full control of Russian forces, the ministry said.

The commander of the Azov regiment was allegedly taken out of the factory territory in an armored car, the ministry said.

Russia says 2,439 Ukrainian servicemen have laid down their arms and surrendered since May 16.

May 20, 1:10 p.m.

Russia to cut off Finnish natural gas on Saturday morning

Gasum, the Finnish natural gas company, said on Friday it had been informed that its imports from Russia’s Gazprom Export would be halted at 7 a.m. local time on Saturday.

Russia’s decision comes days after Finland submitted its application for NATO membership.

“It is very unfortunate that supplies of natural gas under our supply contract have now been interrupted. However, we have prepared carefully for this situation and provided there are no disruptions to the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply gas to all of our customers in the coming months,” Gasum CEO Mika Wiljanen said in a statement.

Gasum will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources via the Balticconnector gas pipeline, which connects Finland to Estonia, the company said in a statement.

Gasum said its gas service stations in the network area will continue to operate normally.

May 20, 8:57 a.m.

Howitzers supplied by the United States to Ukraine lack precision support computers

Dozens of artillery systems supplied by the United States to Ukraine were not equipped with advanced computer systems, which improve the efficiency and accuracy of weapons, ABC News has learned.

M777 155mm howitzers are now used by the Ukrainian army in its war with Russia.

The Pentagon did not deny that the artillery pieces were supplied without the computers, but said it received “positive feedback” from the Ukrainians about the “accurate and highly effective” weapons.

That positive sentiment was echoed by a Ukrainian politician, who spoke to ABC News on condition of anonymity. However, the politician also expressed his frustration that the artillery pieces were not equipped with digital computer systems.

Artillery is currently playing a crucial role in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, as Russia continues its offensive in this part of the country. US officials recently confirmed that all but one of the 90 howitzers promised to Ukraine have been delivered, along with the tactical vehicles used to tow them.

If mounted on a howitzer, the digital computer system allows the crew operating the weapon to quickly and accurately locate a target. Howitzers without a computer system can still be fired accurately, using traditional methods to calculate the angle needed to hit a target.

Modern computer systems, however, exclude the possibility of human error. It is unclear why the artillery pieces supplied to Ukraine were not equipped with digital targeting technology. The Pentagon said it would not discuss individual components “for operational security reasons.”

-Tom Burridge and Luis Martinez of ABC News

May 20, 6:58 a.m.

1,700 Ukrainian troops likely surrendered at Mariupol plant, UK says

As many as 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers are likely to have made their way from the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works factory in war-ravaged Mariupol this week, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

“An unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers remain inside the plant,” the ministry said in an intelligence update on Friday. “Once Russia secures Mariupol, it is likely to move its forces to reinforce operations in Donbass.”

For weeks, Ukrainian fighters and civilians have been locked inside the sprawling industrial site as the remaining pocket of resistance to Russia’s relentless bombardment of Mariupol, a strategically located port city in southeast Ukraine. on the Sea of ​​Azov between the disputed Donbass region in eastern Ukraine and the annexed Moscow-Crimean Peninsula. Russia claimed on Thursday that 1,730 Ukrainian troops had surrendered to Mariupol in the previous three days, while Ukraine confirmed on Tuesday that more than 250 had surrendered in the first hours after being ordered to do so.

Mariupol is the largest city Russian forces have seized since launching an invasion of neighboring Ukraine on February 24. Its complete capture gives Russia full control of the Sea of ​​Azov coast as well as a continuous swath of territory along eastern and southern Ukraine. .

“Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol since the start of the war means that Russian forces in the region need to be re-equipped and refurbished before they can be redeployed effectively,” the UK Ministry of Defense said. “It can be a long process when done thoroughly.”

“Russian commanders, however, are under pressure to demonstrably achieve operational goals,” the ministry added. “This means that Russia is likely to redistribute its forces quickly without adequate preparation, which risks causing further force attrition.”

May 20, 6:42 a.m.

Belarus says nearly 28,000 Ukrainians have arrived since Russian invasion

Nearly 28,000 Ukrainian citizens have arrived in Belarus since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine on February 24, according to the Belarusian State Borders Committee.

“Between 6 a.m. on February 24 and 6 a.m. on May 20, a total of 27,868 Ukrainian citizens arrived in Belarus, including 15,793 who crossed the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, 10,563 in transit through Poland, 1,305 by Lithuania and 207 by Latvia,” he added. the committee said in a statement Friday.

In the past 24 hours alone, 154 Ukrainian citizens have arrived in Belarus, including 120 via Poland, according to the committee.

Belarus shares a land border with Ukraine and Russia and is Moscow’s main ally.

May 19, 8:07 p.m.

Biden to sign Ukraine foreign aid bill

President Joe Biden will sign the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill while in Asia, a White House official has said.

“The president intends to sign the bill while he’s on the road so he can sign it quickly,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One as he was heading to the area on Thursday evening. “The terms of that are being worked out right now so he can get it and sign it.”

The bill, which passed the Senate earlier Thursday with bipartisan support, will need to be flown to the region in order for Biden to sign it. The practice of sending bills to presidents for signature dates back to the Truman administration, but it’s a first for Biden.

Biden left for South Korea on Thursday and will travel to Japan later in the week on his first trip to Asia as president.

-Sarah Kolinovsky of ABC News

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