Our live coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine has moved here.
A priest with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been sentenced to five years in prison for a number of public statements in support of the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office said on Monday.
"He was found guilty of infringing on territorial integrity, actions aimed at violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order, violation of the equality of citizens, and justification, recognition of the legitimacy, denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine," read the statement.
Print and electronic materials that contained pro-Russian propaganda intended for distribution were confiscated from the computer of the priest, who was head of the Tulchyn diocese, the statement said.
Some background: The church, despite the name, had traditionally been loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church, whose leader Patriarch Kiril has openly supported Moscow’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Splitting with Kiril, the leadership of the church denounced Russia’s attack, and in May 2022, declared its independence from Russia. Ukraine, however, has expressed concern about the loyalties of some of the priests.
Last month, Ukraine passed legislation moving its official Christmas holiday to December 25, further distancing itself from the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church, which celebrates the holiday on January 7.
After being held as prisoners of war, 22 Ukrainian military service members were released Monday, according to Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President.
"Today, 22 more Ukrainian soldiers were returned home from captivity," Yermak said in a Telegram message. Among them are two officers, privates and non-commissioned officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They participated in battles in different areas, and there are wounded among the released."
The oldest of the soldiers is 54-years-old and the youngest is 23-years-old, Yermak said.
"Each of the liberated soldiers will undergo physical and psychological rehabilitation, reintegration and be provided with the necessary treatment with the support of medical specialists," he said.
Yermak thanked the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War and their team for assisting.
"We have to fulfill the President's task and return all of our people," he added.
Russian shelling in parts of Donetsk region has continued for years, and every time residential buildings are hit it "hurts anew," Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska said Monday — after Russian missiles hit residential areas in the eastern city of Pokrovsk.
"Pokrovsk, Donetsk region. Enemy shelling has not subsided here for years. And every hit to residential buildings hurts anew," Zelenska tweeted. "This time, rescuers who were helping the victims in a high-rise building came under fire. One rescuer was killed and five others were wounded. Our hearts go out to their families."
What we know so far about the strikes: At least five people were killed and more than two dozen were injured in Monday's strikes on the city, according to authorities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had launched two missiles that struck the residential building in the city and he vowed to hold Russia accountable for the attack.
The Biden administration is working on a supplemental funding request for Ukraine that will likely be ready for Congress to consider by this fall, Army acquisition chief Doug Bush said on Monday.
The administration “is working on a package for Congress to consider this fall,” Bush said, adding that the details still have to be determined by the Office of Management Budget. “But I think we'll have a very strong case, and hopefully garner congressional support for continued funding—in particular for munitions production increases and munitions buys to support Ukraine.”
CNN previously reported that the White House was not planning to ask Congress for new Ukraine funding before the end of the fiscal year at the end of September, pitting administration officials against some lawmakers and congressional staffers who were concerned that the funds could run out by mid-summer.
That funding shortfall does not appear to have happened, largely because the Pentagon previously overvalued the amount it had spent on weaponry to Ukraine by $6.2 billion.
More about the US' funding for Ukraine: In December, Congress approved the administration’s request for an additional $48 billion to help arm Ukraine and combat the Covid-19 pandemic, $36 billion of which was specifically allocated for Ukraine.
The supplemental was meant to last through September 30, 2023. The administration requested this kind of additional funding to help support Ukraine four times last year, in March, May, September and December.
At least two civilians were killed and at least five others were injured in Ukraine's Kharkiv region after Russian missiles hit private homes, Andrii Yermak, head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, said Monday.
"The Russians shelled the village of Kruglyakivka in the Kupyansk district with four guided aerial bombs. They hit private houses," Yermak said in a Telegram message.
It comes after Yermak said in an earlier post that at least five civilians were killed by Russian missile strikes in the city of Pokrovsk, in the Donetsk region.
At least five people were killed and more than two dozen injured after Russian missiles struck a residential building in Pokrovsk, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko said Monday.
Among the injured are 19 police officers, five rescuers and one child, Klymenko said in a Telegram message. "The rubble is being cleared," he added.
"Search and rescue operations are ongoing. We are clearing rubble, rescuing people from Russian terror," Klymenko said.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had launched two missiles that struck a residential building in the city.
A video accompanying his post showed residents and emergency teams trying to clear some of the rubble. A person on a stretcher was being moved into an ambulance.
Zelensky vowed to hold Russia accountable for the attack.
"We have to stop the Russian terror. Everyone who fights for the freedom of Ukraine saves lives. Everyone in the world who helps Ukraine will defeat the terrorists together with us," Zelensky said. "Russia will be held accountable for everything it has done in this terrible war," he added.
This post has been updated with the latest toll from the attack on Pokrovsk, according to Ukrainian government officials.
The US State Department called China’s attendance at a meeting for restoring peace in Ukraine hosted by Saudi Arabia over the weekend productive.
“We have long said that it would be productive for China to play a role in ending the war in Ukraine, if it was willing to play a role that respected Ukraine's territorial integrity and Ukraine's sovereignty,” Matthew Miller, State Department spokesperson, said Monday.
Miller said that Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with China’s special envoy at the meeting to deliver that message as well.
Miller also noted that there is no particular nation “leading” the talks, as Russia has yet to show interest in peace negotiations with Ukraine, but that when the Russians did, it would be Ukraine leading.
China signaled that the peace talks went well: Earlier Monday, China said the two-day meeting, which took place in the Gulf kingdom’s port sea city of Jeddah, helped “to consolidate international consensus” on finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, Reuters reported, citing a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
The talks brought together more than 40 nations, including Ukraine, the United States, European states, and the BRICS group of countries — perhaps none as closely watched as China, Russia’s most powerful ally. Kremlin officials said Russia had not been invited to the talks but was monitoring them, state media reported.
The first batch of Abrams tanks that the US is providing to Ukraine was approved for shipment over the weekend, and the tanks are on track to arrive in Ukraine by early fall, Army Acquisition Chief Doug Bush said on Monday.
“They are done,” Bush told reporters in a briefing. “Now they have to get to Europe, and then to Ukraine, along with all of the things that go with them. Ammunition, spare parts, fuel equipment, repair facilities. So you know, it's not just the tanks, it's the full package that goes with it. That's still on track.”
The US began training the Ukrainians on the tanks in May in Germany, CNN reported. The 31 tanks destined for Ukraine had been undergoing refurbishment and preparation for shipment for several months, and were officially approved to be transferred over the weekend.
The US dramatically accelerated the time it normally takes to ship the tanks by deciding earlier this year to transfer the older M1-A1 models instead of the more modern version of the tank.