We've wrapped up our live coverage for today. You can read more on Russia's invasion of Ukraine here, or scroll through the updates below.
Ukraine has claimed big wins in its southern counteroffensive this week, but Kyiv remains concerned that retreating Russian soldiers could turn the regional capital of Kherson into a “city of death” on their way out.
If you're just joining us, here's what you need to know in today's Russia-Ukraine news:
- Russia's retreat leaves questions in Kherson: The situation is "tense and difficult" in the key southern city of Kherson, where Moscow has ordered a retreat but Ukrainian officials have been wary of potential traps. A local leader said citizens are living in fear and without access to the internet, making them hard to contact.
- Russia claims village, but at a steep cost: Officials in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine, say their forces have taken the village of Pavlivka after fierce fighting there this week. The brutal battle for that territory sowed dissent among some Russia-backed troops, according to a letter of protest. A Moscow-backed leader acknowledged Pavlivka came "at great cost."
- More aid from Ukraine's allies: The Biden administration authorized an additional $400 million in security aid for Ukraine on Thursday, including all-important air defense systems. Germany also pledged further aid to Kyiv's defenses.
- The latest on Brittney Griner: US President Joe Biden is optimistic that Russia will be more willing to discuss the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner with the midterm elections over. Griner was recently transferred to a Russian penal colony to serve the remainder of a nine-year drug smuggling sentence. The State Department revealed Thursday that the US was not given advanced notice of her transfer.
- This map shows the latest state of control in Ukraine:
Hackers linked to Russia's military were very likely behind ransomware attacks last month on Ukrainian and Polish transportation and logistics organizations, Microsoft said Thursday.
The revelation will raise concerns in Washington and European capitals that allies supporting Ukraine against Russia's invasion could face greater cyber threats from Moscow.
Poland is a NATO member and a key conduit for supplying military aid to Ukraine.
The hacks "did cause damage" at the transportation and logistics companies in Poland and Ukraine, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNN. The extent of the damage was unclear. CNN has requested further details from Microsoft.
Microsoft attributed the hacks to a group that the Justice Department alleges works on behalf of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency and which caused power blackouts in parts of Ukraine in 2015 and 2016.
One of Ukraine's main cybersecurity agencies, the State Special Communications Service, declined to comment.
It's a rare public example of an alleged Russian hack related to the war causing damage in a NATO member country.
During Russia's invasion, in February, another suspected Russian hack wiped data at two Ukrainian government contractors with a presence in Latvia and Lithuania, but that was widely seen among analysts as collateral damage rather than deliberate.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said a cyberattack could trigger NATO's collective defense clause, requiring all members to defend an attack on another member. But that has never happened, and it is unclear what exactly NATO's threshold in cyberspace is for a response.
A NATO spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The GRU-linked ransomware attacks signal "increased risk to organizations directly supplying or transporting humanitarian or military assistance to Ukraine," researchers from Microsoft, which has worked directly with the Ukrainian government to respond to the hacks, said in a statement.
The Russian embassy in Washington, DC, did not respond to a request for comment on Microsoft's statement. Moscow routinely denies conducting cyberattacks.
Russian hacking groups have carried out a slew of cyberattacks during the war on Ukrainian government and corporate networks in activity that sometimes overlaps with Russia military strikes. But the kind of high-impact hack that takes out power or other critical networks has largely been missing.
Russian hacking has played a peripheral, rather than central, role in the Kremlin's efforts to dismantle Ukrainian critical infrastructure, US and Ukrainian officials previously told CNN.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 41 settlements in southern Ukraine have been liberated following the Russian decision to withdraw to the eastern side of the Dnipro river.
"Today we have good news from the south — the number of Ukrainian flags returning to their rightful place in the framework of the ongoing defense operation is already reaching dozens. 41 settlements have been liberated," Zelensky said.
Zelensky used his daily video address to congratulate several units involved in the advance through the southern Kherson region.
He added, "Everything that is happening now has been achieved through months of fierce struggle. Achieved by courage, pain and losses. It is not the enemy that is leaving. It is Ukrainians who are chasing the occupiers at great cost."
Zelensky said police units had moved into several settlements in Kherson to begin stabilization measures, but the liberation of Ukrainian territory was just the first step in a long process.
"The first and basic thing is de-mining. The occupiers leave behind thousands of mines and unexploded ammunition. I have often heard estimates that clearing Ukraine of Russian mines will take decades. We cannot wait that long," the Ukrainian president said.
"The invaders mine everything: power lines, business enterprises, fields, forests," he said. "At the peak of mine contamination in Ukraine, we had 300,000 square kilometers of life-threatening territory."
Now, he said, thanks to the efforts of sappers, "there are about 170,000 square kilometers left for demining. In particular, this is in the most difficult places - where the fighting is still ongoing, where the enemy will add more mines before its withdrawal, as it is now in Kherson."
Zelensky thanked the dozen countries assisting in de-mining. He also alluded to Ukraine's goals in the conflict.
"We have to go all the way — on the battlefield and in diplomacy — so that our flags, Ukrainian flags, and never again any enemy tricolors are on our entire land, within our internationally recognized border," he said.
Zelensky also thanked the Netherlands and the United States for fresh infusions of aid — about $100 million from the Netherlands and a new package of military assistance from the US. "Important means of air defense. Just what we need, what we asked for," he said
Officials in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine, say their forces have taken a village after fierce fighting there this week.
The Moscow-backed leader Denis Pushilin said the village of Pavlivka "is almost 90% cleared."
"The flag is already hoisted," Pushilin said. "It was given to us at great cost."
Video was also published on a pro-Russian Telegram channel showing the DPR's Interior Minister, General Aleksey Dikiy, visiting the village and awarding medals to fighters in the Republic's militia.
Some background: The battle for Pavlivka took on a higher profile earlier this week when soldiers in one Russian unit wrote a letter of protest to their regional governor in Russia, complaining about poor leadership and tactics.
"As a result of the 'carefully' planned offensive by the 'great commanders,' we lost about 300 men, dead and wounded, with some MIA over the past four days," the letter said.
Video from the area in recent days has shown widespread destruction.
Ukraine has not acknowledged that Pavlivka is held by Russian forces, and CNN cannot independently confirm Russia's claim.
The State Department is “aware of reports that Russia has ordered the deportation of a US citizen,” spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday, but did not offer further details.
“We continue to insist that Russia … allow consistent and timely consular access to all US citizen detainees. We take our role in assisting US citizens abroad seriously. We're closely monitoring this situation,” Price said, adding that it was his understanding that the US was not given consular access to the individual.
Reuters reported Thursday that a Russian court ordered that American Sarah Krivanek be held for 30 days before being deported. She had reportedly been detained for nearly 11 months on domestic assault charges.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday the United States “did not receive a heads up” that WNBA star Brittney Griner was being transferred to a penal colony in Russia.
“It has unfortunately become standard practice on the part of the Russian Federation not to inform us ahead of time when American citizen detainees are transferred from one detention center to another,” he said at a press briefing.
“Ultimately, we had seen press reports, and we engage very closely with Brittney Griner’s representatives, and we continue to do that,” Price continued. “As soon as we learned of her transfer, we requested formally from the Russian government, we requested more information about her transfer.”
“We are also engaging to do all that we can to ensure that her conditions are as safe as healthy as can be during this time,” Price said. “That is something that we do for all detained American citizens in Russia and really around the world.”
Price said that discussions with the Russians to secure the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, another American detained in Russia, are ongoing. He noted that “this process has not moved as quickly as we would have liked.”
“The fact is that the Russians have not taken an approach to date that we think is sufficient,” he said. “We have continued to press them to engage seriously and in good faith on the original proposal that we put forward, the alternatives we put forward, we have continued to look for ways to secure as quickly as possible to release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.”
Also on Thursday, while the White House would not give an update on Griner’s condition, citing confidentiality, the administration said that President Joe Biden is “personally engaged” on working for her return to the US.
“I have to protect the confidentiality of our dealings with her family and some of our consular dealings with Russian officials,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. “But I will tell you on a daily basis, our embassy in Moscow is focused on ensuring that they are on top of Brittney Griner’s condition, location and how the Russian government is treating her.”
"We are dealing with the Russians at very senior levels and our diplomats on the ground are working overtime to ensure that they are staying in close touch with their Russian counterparts on her case," Sullivan added.
CNN's Nikki Carvajal contributed reporting to this post.
The Biden administration authorized an additional $400 million in security aid for Ukraine on Thursday.
The new package includes missiles for HAWK and Avenger air defense systems, more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), grenade launchers, mortar and artillery rounds, and other battlefield supplies.
The package marks the 25th time the US has sent security assistance to Ukraine using presidential drawdown authority. The Defense Department pulls the weapons and equipment from US inventories to send abroad, instead of purchasing new weapons from manufacturers.
"This equipment will complement other air defense contributions announced by our allies and partners," national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House.
"This increased air defense will be critical for Ukraine, as Russia continues to use cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones to attack critical civilian infrastructure," he added.
The new aid comes as Ukraine claims big wins in its southern counteroffensive. But Kyiv remains concerned that retreating Russian soldiers could turn the regional capital of Kherson into a “city of death” on their way out.
CNN's Tim Lister and Mick Krever contributed to this report.
Ukraine's Stugna volunteer military unit on Thursday paid tribute to a British man who the battalion said had died fighting against Russian forces alongside the Ukrainians in occupied territories.
"A man of goodwill, a brave British man, Simon Lingard, died in the Donetsk oblast. A true warrior who left Britain in the most challenging time for Ukraine and came to fight against Russian evil together with our soldiers," the battalion said in a post on its Telegram account.
"He fought not only for our country and his own motherland but for the ideals of freedom he believed in," it said.
The all-volunteer infantry military unit said they met Lingard in the spring in the Kharkiv region, but later their military units split up in different directions of the frontline.
"The last time we spoke with Simon was just a few days before his death. Our fighters from the ‘Stugna’ Battalion accidentally met with him in Zaporizhzhia and even planned to work together again," the batallion said, adding that they will "avenge" his death.
"Our condolences to Simon's wife and their children and to all the people of the United Kingdom. We will never forget what Simon Lingard did for us," the unit said.
The UK government said on Wednesday that a British man had lost his life in Ukraine.
In a statement, the UK Foreign Office said that it was "supporting the family of a British national who has lost his life in Ukraine," but did not reveal the person's name.
The office added that it was in touch with "the local authorities in connection with his death."
In June, former British Army soldier Jordan Gatley was shot and killed while fighting in Ukraine's Severodonetsk, CNN reported at the time.
British aid worker Paul Urey died in the Donetsk region of Ukraine earlier this year after the Russian invasion started, CNN has reported.