Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to travel to Washington, meet President Joe Biden and visit Congress on Wednesday, sources familiar with the situation said, in his first known overseas trip since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.
* The United States is expected to announce a package of military assistance for Ukraine, valued at about $1.8 billion, U.S. officials said separately, on condition of anonymity. The package would include aid and Patriot missiles but its value could still change, the officials added.
* Zelenskiy’s U.S. trip is expected to include a visit to lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol, a source familiar with the planning said. The trip has not been confirmed and security concerns could force a change in plans, the source said.
* Video footage issued by UkrinformTV of Zelenskiy’s visit to Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine showed Ukrainian servicemen handing him a Ukrainian flag with their signatures on it, which the president said he would turn over to the Congress and Biden.
* Zelenskiy’s U.S. visit comes as Congress is on the brink of approving another about $45 billion in economic and military aid to Kyiv in a funding bill.
* The World Bank said it had approved an additional financing package totalling $610 million to address urgent relief and recovery needs in Ukraine.
* There are conflicting views in Russia on whether or not to launch a renewed offensive in Ukraine, a senior U.S. State Department official said, reiterating that Washington would keep backing Kyiv regardless of which scenario plays out.
* Russia is planning to give Iran advanced military components in exchange for hundreds of drones, British defence minister Ben Wallace said, calling on the West to do more to expose the trade.
* The EU foreign policy chief told Iran’s foreign minister that Tehran should immediately halt military support for Russia and internal repression in Iran.
* President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that conditions in Russian-held areas of Ukraine were “extremely difficult” and ordered the strengthening of Russia’s borders.
* Zelenskiy paid a surprise visit to the frontline city of Bakhmut, where he hailed the “superhuman” troops waging a battle that has come to symbolise the grinding brutality of the war.
* Electricity supplies in the Kyiv region were at a “critical” level, with less than half the capital’s power needs being supplied following Russian missile and drone attacks, regional officials said.
* Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine should prepare for new Russian attacks on its energy grid because Moscow wanted Ukrainians to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays in darkness.
* Reuters was not able to independently verify battlefield reports. -Reuters
(Compiled by Himani Sarkar)
Disclaimer: This report is auto generated from the Reuters news service. ThePrint holds no responsibilty for its content.
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