Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks

Women stand next to damaged houses after attacks Thursday in an urban settlement outside Kyiv. (Roman Pilipey/Getty Images)
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Ten regions of Ukraine were hit by emergency power outages Friday, a day after a Russian barrage, the state power grid operator said. Ukrenergo said the latest missile and drone attacks that have battered energy facilities across the country for months knocked out electricity around the capital, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the western city of Lviv, near the Polish border.

As Western countries pledged to ship battle tanks to Kyiv, Japan expanded its ban on exports to Russia, while the Kremlin maintained that it was “increasingly adapting to life under sanctions.”

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

1. Key developments

  • Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces hit Ukraine’s energy system on Thursday with drones and a “massive missile strike” from the air and the sea. The attacks disrupted the “transportation of weapons and ammunition,” the ministry said Friday. A Ukrainian official said at least 11 people were killed and 11 others injured in the strikes.
  • The type of American tank going to Ukraine will be the M1A2 Abrams, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh. The M1A2 has more-advanced electronics and targeting ability than the M1A1 Abrams, according to U.S. military specifications. The Biden administration announced this week that it will send 31 of the U.S. main battle tanks, which are not expected to arrive in Ukraine for many months.
  • “These decisions do not bring anything terrible for us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday after Japan announced new sanctions. He also accused President Biden of blocking an end to the war instead of pressuring Kyiv to stop fighting. “We now see that the current White House leader does not want to use this key. On the contrary, he chooses to continue pumping Ukraine with weapons,” Peskov said.
  • The U.N. refugee agency said Moscow is giving Ukrainian children Russian passports and putting them up for adoption. In a Reuters interview during his visit to Kyiv, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi accused Russia on Friday of violating the “fundamental principles of child protection in situations of war.”
  • U.S. government auditors are in Kyiv this week as part of steps to ensure that “no aid or weapons” are diverted, Victoria Nuland, undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department, told lawmakers Thursday. Several senior Ukrainian officials resigned or faced dismissal this week over corruption allegations.
  • Russia plans to change the official time in territories it illegally annexed during the conflict to Moscow time, an hour ahead of clocks in Ukraine, according to a statement by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.

2. Battleground updates

  • Poland will deliver 60 tanks to Ukraine, including 30 of the Polish PT-91 Twardy and 14 of the German-made Leopard 2, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday. Kyiv’s Western allies have agreed to send battle tanks after months of deadlock, although the broader package put together by the United States and European allies includes a mix of models, each with different delivery times and logistical hurdles, The Washington Post reports.
  • The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said inspectors reported “powerful explosions” outside the Zaporizhzhia plant in Ukraine. Rafael Mariano Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said “such events” have occurred “almost daily” in recent weeks around the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control. He has sought to negotiate a deal between Moscow and Kyiv to establish a safety buffer zone around the facility, where the IAEA said six reactors remain shut down.

3. Global impact

  • Belgium will send more than 90 million euros in additional military aid to Ukraine, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced during a news conference Friday. Dutch news outlet Het Laatste Nieuws reported that the package will include grenades, ammunition, antiaircraft missiles, antitank guns and light-armored vehicles, but not tanks.
  • Under its new sanctions Friday, Japan banned the export of dozens more items to Russia. They include water cannon systems, gas exploration equipment, tear gas, explosives, X-ray inspection equipment and robots.
  • Hungary will not agree to European Union sanctions against Russia affecting nuclear energy, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio Friday. Ukraine recently ramped up pressure for sanctions on Russia’s state nuclear power conglomerate Rosatom, which has so far escaped them in part because of its extensive role in the world’s civilian nuclear power industry, including in Europe and the United States. In a post to Facebook, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Nikolenko, said the MFA would summon the Hungarian ambassador to Ukraine, over reports that Orban made disparaging remarks about Ukraine.
  • Ukraine would welcome Australia joining the United States and others in sending modern heavy tanks, its ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, said Friday. He said Ukraine is “extremely thankful for what Australia has done so far” and would also appreciate additional Bushmaster armored vehicles, which the country sent last year. Canada announced earlier that it would join allies in giving Kyiv some of its German-made Leopard tanks.
  • Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic’s father will not attend the Australian Open semifinal, after a video shared online appeared to show him expressing solidarity with supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who were seen with a Russian flag, an image of Putin and the letter “Z,” a pro-Russian symbol since the invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, Djokovic described the incident as a “misinterpretation,” adding that his father routinely greets fans and that neither of them supports the war.

4. From our correspondents

Inside Ukraine’s POW detention center: Post reporters recently visited a detention center where Ukraine holds prisoners of war from Russia and from separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.

Eleven months into the conflict, “prisoner-of-war exchanges have become a rare intersection of mutual interest for the two countries and typically occur multiple times per month,” write Kamila Hrabchuk and Heidi Levine. The center’s staff said new prisoners arrive every week just as others leave to be exchanged.

Robyn Dixon contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified Alexander De Croo as the Dutch prime minister. He is the Belgian prime minister. The error has been corrected.