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Ukraine live briefing: Russia criticizes delivery of U.S.-made M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Polish soldiers in an Abrams tank during trial drills Sept. 16 at a military range near Orzysz, Poland. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

Russia has denounced the arrival of the first batch of U.S.-made M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday said the delivery would “in no way” impact the outcome of the war. “There is no panacea and one kind of weapon that can change the balance of forces on the battlefield. There is no such weapon,” he told reporters. He acknowledged that “Abrams tanks are serious weapons,” but quipped they too would “burn” as other weapons had done. “The Americans continue to increase their indirect involvement in this conflict,” he said.

His comments come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that the first batch of M1 Abrams tanks were “already in Ukraine.” The tanks will “reinforce our actions against the occupiers. And it will be a significant reinforcement,” he said late Monday in his nightly address. President Biden committed in January to sending 31 of the advanced battle tanks. U.S. military officials have said that the deliveries would be gradual but that they expected them all to arrive in the coming weeks.

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

Some Ukrainian citizens have been tortured to death under Russian occupation, a U.N. panel found 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. Mose, a Norwegian judge with experience in international human rights, also said that Russian soldiers had “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.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “deeply embarrassing” that Canada’s parliament had invited a 98-year-old Ukrainian man who had served in a notorious Nazi military unit during World War II to attend an event. Speaker Anthony Rota introduced Yaroslav Hunka following Zelensky’s address to Parliament on Friday, praising him as a “Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero.” Jewish groups have condemned the incident. Trudeau called it “extremely upsetting,” adding that “the speaker has acknowledged his mistake and apologized.” Zelensky has relatives who were killed in the Holocaust.

An estimated 504 children have died so far in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began, according to data from Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office on Tuesday. It added that more than 1,125 children had been injured to “various degrees of severity” since the war started last February. United Nations’ data found 9,614 civilians overall have been killed since the war began, with the toll likely to be much higher in reality. Children and young people have been impacted by the war with schools and educational facilities closed or damaged and many are displaced with their family members by the fighting.

Zelensky said Ukraine would retaliate against Russian attacks following a strike on Odessa that left at least two people dead. Ukraine will retaliate for “every strike against our cities and villages, against every Ukrainian community. For Odessa, for Beryslav and Kherson, for Donetsk, Kharkiv and Sumy regions,” he said in his nightly address.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has suffered “damaging” and “coordinated” attacks in recent weeks, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry. “A dynamic, deep strike battle is underway in the Black Sea,” it said, forcing Russia into a “reactive posture” and demonstrating Ukraine’s ability to undermine the Kremlin. However, the physical damage to the fleet will not diminish Moscow’s ability to fulfill “its core wartime missions of cruise missile strikes and local security patrols,” it added, although it’s “likely that its ability to continue wider regional security patrols and enforce its de facto blockade of Ukrainian ports will be diminished.”

A town near the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was shelled overnight, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said early Tuesday. At least four people were injured.

Russian forces shot down two Ukrainian drones in the Kursk region late Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said, in what it described as Kyiv’s attempt to carry out a “terrorist attack.” The drones were shot down about 11 p.m. local time, it said.

The United States offered a $2 billion loan to Poland to help modernize its military, the State Department said. “Poland is a stalwart U.S. Ally, and Poland’s security is vital to the collective defense of NATO’s Eastern Flank,” it said in a statement. The announcement comes after some Polish officials expressed anger over cheap imports of Ukrainian grain flooding European markets, prompting them to threaten to stop sending arms to Ukraine.

Russia is seeking to rejoin the United Nations’ human rights council, the BBC reported after it said it had obtained a copy of a Russian position paper circulating among U.N. members asking for their support. Russia was expelled from the human rights body shortly after it invaded Ukraine. Now, Russian diplomats are seeking reelection to the body for a three-year term, the BBC reported.

Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs added the president of the International Criminal Court to its wanted list. The ministry did not publicly specify the charges against Piotr Hofmanski, the Polish lawyer who was elected the court’s president in 2021. The ICC previously issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine.

One year since underwater explosions damaged the Nord Stream pipelines, official investigations in three countries have yielded few answers, and the question of who was behind the blasts endures. The blasts on the pipelines that were built to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe, inflamed geopolitical tensions that were already heightened by the invasion of Ukraine. The damage was quickly denounced by Western officials as a brazen and dangerous act of sabotage, but Russia has also pointed the finger at Ukraine and its Western allies. Here’s what we know a year on.

Russia attacks Odessa port, in latest assault on Ukrainian grain: A Russian attack on Odessa was the latest assault on Ukraine’s vital agriculture sector as Moscow seeks to exploit divisions between Kyiv and its European neighbors over grain exports, Alex Horton and Kamila Hrabchuk report. The strike killed at least two people, destroyed granaries and damaged port facilities.

Russian disruptions to Ukraine’s use of the Black Sea as a highway for exporting food have forced Kyiv to explore overland routes, but Ukraine has faced resistance from some of its closest neighbors. Officials in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia fear that cheap Ukrainian grain would flood their markets, drive down prices and hurt local farmers.

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