Ukraine Russia latest news – latest: Kremlin says more US weapons will worsen war as Putin rules out peace talks
‘We will beat Russia,’ says Zelensky
Russia has warned more US weapons aiding the war in Ukraine will worsen the siege, issuing a direct threat to the war-hit country on the sidelines of Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington yesterday.
The flow of western weapon supplies to Ukraine has triggered “an aggravation of the conflict and, in fact, does not bode well for Ukraine,” warned the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov yesterday, adding that now Russia saw no chance of peace talks with Kyiv.
His remarks came just hours before Mr Zelensky addressed the US Congress amid a rousing cheer and support for the nation under Russian invasion. The Ukrainian president was also seen holding back tears as all members of the US house gave him a standing ovation.
The high-level diplomatic visit between Mr Zelensky and Joe Biden has not gone down well with Russia which has warned that this will backfire.
And Mr Putin is now eyeing a new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile in the Russian military to replace the ageing Soviet-era missile.
Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Wednesday, 21 December.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 03:36
Zelensky on his way to the US to meet Biden after Putin meets Lukashenko – report
Volodymyr Zelensky is likely to reach Washington today and meet Joe Biden, in a first visit out of Kyiv after Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine in February.
The Ukrainian president is already on his way to the US, according to two sources, reported CNN.
The two leaders are expected to meet at the White House as Ukraine presses on its demand for more air defence systems to counter Russian missile strikes.
Mr Biden has not visited Ukraine since the war began, but the first lady visited the besieged country in May and met several people affected by the war.
The high-level visit of the year will come just two days after Vladimir Putin met his ally in the Ukraine war and Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, sparking concerns that Minsk could aid Russia prolong the invasion through difficult winter months.
The Biden administration is planning to send the most advanced air defence missile systems to Kyiv to thwart incoming attacks from Russian forces, officials had announced earlier this month.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 04:15
Zelensky visits ‘Bakhmut fortress’ to meet soldiers
Volodymyr Zelensky visited soldiers on the eastern front line yesterday, bolstering morale of the troops defending Ukraine’s hottest spot of fighting between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers.
“I’ve returned from the Donetsk region, from our Bakhmut fortress. I was there today to support our fighters, to present state awards, to express gratitude to them. To all our heroes – those who defend not only Bakhmut there, and not only our Donbas, but also the whole of Ukraine. We all should understand this,” he said after returning in his nightly address.
He added: “You know, on the way to the frontline, today I also passed through Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka, Kostiantynivka… Cities, villages near them, which are now literally fighting for life. Life for all of us – for all Ukrainians and for everything Ukrainian, and even more so – for everything and everyone who preserves humanity inside.”
“Look at Russia’s offensive, what it leaves where it takes its flag. Burned earth, destroyed life… Pain, ruins and graves – this is the so-called ‘Russian world’. This is what our heroes stop,” he said.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 04:25
Zelensky expected to address joint session of Congress today
His plans to travel to Washington were a closely-guarded secret and were first announced late Tuesday afternoon. Ms Pelosi, in a separate letter to members of the House, wrote that the lower chamber would hold a “focus on Democracy” to mark the end of the 117th Congress.
As such, Mr Zelensky’s address will mark the end of Democratic control of the House of Representatives, as lawmakers will soon return home for the holidays until the next Congress is sworn in. It will be the first visit of the Ukrainian leader to the US Capitol in person since the Russian invasion of his country began earlier this year.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 04:30
World Bank clears $610m package for Ukraine
The World Bank has cleared a fresh financing package worth $610m (£501m) for Ukraine’s urgent needs to boost relief and recovery efforts for the war-hit country.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have devastating economic and humanitarian consequences, impacting the health sector, critical energy infrastructure, and transport networks,” the global bank’s chief David Malpass said.
“We welcome today’s financing support by our partners. The World Bank has mobilised $18 billion in emergency financing in support of the people of Ukraine since the beginning of the war, including commitments and pledges from donors, of which $15 billion has been disbursed,” the banking institution’s president said.
The World Bank will also provide additional financing of $500m (£410m) through an IBRD loan that is supported by a guarantee from the UK for the same amount and mobilised under the Public Expenditures for Administrative Capacity Endurance (PEACE) Project, read a statement.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 05:05
Coming week extremely important for Ukraine, says Zelensky
The week ahead of Christmas is significant for war-hit Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said as the Russian siege moves into the thick of winter and power supply in capital Kyiv remains at a critical level. The Ukrainian president is also headed to Washington on Wednesday in a bid to increase further support for the country.
“This week is extremely important for Ukraine – in order to get through this winter and next year. In order to gain the necessary support and for the Ukrainian flag to finally prevail on all sections of our border – the border of Ukraine,” the war-time leader said in his nightly address.
He added: “We will do everything possible and impossible, expected and unexpected, so that our heroes have everything they need to prevail. To get the results that all Ukrainians expect. That all our cities and villages on the frontline are waiting for.”
“This is Maryinka, this is Vuhledar, this is Toretsk, this is Soledar, Klishchiivka… This is our Luhansk region, this is our south of Ukraine, this is our Crimea. Ukraine will leave nothing of its own to the enemy,” he said.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 05:33
Putin and I are the two ‘meanest, most toxic people on the planet’, says Lukashenko
The president of Belarus was heard joking with Vladimir Putin that they are the two “meanest, most toxic people on the planet” during a meeting between them in Minsk.
The BBC’s Russia editor Steve Rosenberg tweeted that he overheard Alexander Lukashenko saying “we only argue about who is worse” when referring to his meeting with Mr Putin.
Rosenberg tweeted on Monday evening: “Sitting next to Putin, Lukashenko jokes (at least I think he’s joking): ‘The two of us are co-aggressors: the meanest, most toxic people on the planet. We only argue about who is worse. Vladimir Vladimirovich says I am. I’ve started to believe he is. We decided we’re equal.’”
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Arpan Rai21 December 2022 05:56
Belarus blocks access to parts of region bordering Ukraine, Russia
Belarus has temporarily restricted access to parts of the southeastern Gomel region that borders Ukraine and Russia in an order issued today.
Officials will “temporarily restrict entry, temporary stay and movement in the border zone within the Loevsky, Braginsky and Khoiniki districts of the Gomel region,” the government order on its website read.
It is not immediately clear for how long will the restrictions last but added that these curbs will not apply to officials, workers and residents in these areas.
The Russian ally has been holding anti-sabotage drills in the Gomel region since 11 October. Russian servicemen arrived in Belarus four days later to join a regional grouping that the neighbours have set up.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 06:06
‘On my way to the US,’ tweets Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky has said he is headed to the US today to speak with the Biden administration on Ukraine’s defence capabilities and deliver a speech at the Congress, alongside multiple bilateral meetings.
“On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of [Ukrainian flag] . In particular, @POTUS and I will discuss cooperation between the US and Ukraine. I will also have a speech at the Congress and a number of bilateral meetings,” he said in a tweet today.
Arpan Rai21 December 2022 06:10
Putin ‘trying to deflect responsibility for military failure’, says UK
Vladimir Putin has attempted to deflect responsibility for his ailing war in Ukraine by staging a “choreographed” televised meeting with top Russian officials also involved in the invasion, the UK has suggested.
As his war grinds into its 10th month, with winter setting in, the Russian president visited what was reported by Russian media to be his Ukraine command headquarters last Friday, the location of which was not disclosed.
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Arpan Rai21 December 2022 06:35
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