President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to renew his plea for air support to protect the skies over Ukraine and push back against Russia’s attacks in a virtual speech to U.S. lawmakers Wednesday — as he has with other Western allies in recent days.
The Biden administration has so far resisted Kyiv’s call to establish a no-fly zone in Ukraine, worried it could inflame tensions and risk a broader global conflict with nuclear-armed Russia. The White House is, however, set to announce another $800 million in security assistance Wednesday, a senior administration official said, as part of a U.S. government spending bill Biden signed Tuesday that will provide $13.6 billion in new aid to Ukraine. Previous U.S. assistance has included shipments of antiaircraft and anti-armor systems.
Nearly three weeks into their invasion, Russian forces are intensifying attacks on civilian targets across a number of Ukrainian cities. A suspected Russian missile attack hit an apartment building in the Sviatoshynskyi district of the capital, Kyiv, on Tuesday, killing at least four people, while in the besieged port city of Mariupol, hundreds of people, including doctors and medical personnel, are being held inside a regional hospital, according to Ukrainian officials. As many as 3 million people have fled the war-torn country since the invasion began — half of them children.
Here’s what to know
- In a late-night video address, Zelensky welcomed the signing of the U.S. government spending bill, saying it is “the first step toward the full restoration of Ukraine.” He also invited allies to visit Ukraine, while noting the dangers “because our sky is not yet closed to Russian missiles and planes.”
- President Biden will travel to Europe next week for a NATO summit on the Russian invasion, the White House said Tuesday. Top officials in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia made a dramatic visit to Kyiv on Tuesday to demonstrate support for Ukraine.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said negotiations with Ukraine are at an impasse, telling a European Council leader Tuesday that Kyiv “is not showing a serious commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions.” Zelensky, meanwhile, said negotiations with the Kremlin are “more realistic, but time is still needed for the decisions to be in the interests of Ukraine.” Talks will continue Wednesday.
UNDERSTANDING THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT