Zelenskiy makes his case in speech to Congress

(Bloomberg) — Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, called U.S. support “crucial” in an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.

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Zelenskiy arrived at the White House earlier in the day for a red carpet welcome by President Joe Biden. The two leaders then took part in a joint press conference, where Biden said, “We’ll be with you for as long as it takes.”

Before the two leaders met in the Oval Office, the Biden administration confirmed nearly $2 billion in military assistance and said it would deliver a Patriot missile battery to help Ukraine bolster its defenses this winter.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia has “no limits” on military spending for the war in Ukraine, and his defense minister has said Moscow should expand its armed forces to 1.5 million troops from 1 .15 million currently.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian sanctions dashboard.)

Key developments

  • Zelenskiy insists to Congress that US aid to Ukraine is not ‘charity’

  • US will support Ukraine ‘as long as it takes,’ Biden tells Zelenskiy

  • Biden says giving Ukraine advanced weapons risks putting US alliances at risk

  • Biden tells Zelenskiy US seeks ‘just peace’ to end war

  • High-security air-train trip from Zelenskiy to Washington

  • Putin promises no funds limit to ensure army victory in Ukraine

  • Why the US is giving Ukraine a Patriot system: QuickTake

On the ground

Ukrainian forces repelled assaults near 25 settlements, including the eastern town of Bakhmut, over the past day, the Ukrainian General Staff reported. Russian troops launched five missile attacks and 16 airstrikes, as well as 61 multiple rocket launcher assaults, damaging civilian infrastructure in several cities, including Kherson, the statement said. Russia hit the southern town of Ochakiv in the Mykolaiv region with artillery cannons on Wednesday afternoon, injuring three people including a 10-year-old child, according to Zelenskiy’s deputy bureau chief Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

(every hour CET)

Zelenskiy insists to Congress that aid is not ‘charity’

Zelenskiy lobbied the US Congress for tanks, planes and other weapons to help repel the Russian invasion, describing the war as a battle of democracy against tyranny as he sought to win the support of skeptical Republican lawmakers.

Zelenskiy told a joint House and Senate meeting that US support had been crucial so far and predicted the coming year would turn the tide of the war. He called for more sanctions and demanded that the Russians responsible for the war be brought to justice.

“Your support is crucial, not only to stand in such a fight, but to come to the turning point to win on the battlefield,” Zelenskiy said in his 27-minute speech. “Your money is not charity, it is an investment in global security.”

Biden pledges unwavering support for Ukraine (12:45)

Biden has promised Zelenskiy unwavering U.S. support as Ukraine’s effort to repel the Russian invasion nears its 11th month even as support from Republicans poised to take control of the House wanes.

“The American people are with you every step of the way, and we will stay with you. We will stay with you as long as it takes,” Biden said at the White House on Wednesday during a joint press conference, as the Ukrainian president sought to bolster US support for Kyiv’s defense against Russia during of his first trip outside his country since. Forces from Moscow have invaded.

Biden reiterates caution on advanced weapons (12:34)

Biden has defended his reluctance to give Ukraine all the advanced weapons it wants to fight against the Russian invasion, saying providing longer-range missiles and other sophisticated equipment risks straining alliances Americans in Europe, including NATO.

“The idea that we would give Ukraine material that was fundamentally different from what is already there would have a prospect of breaking up NATO and breaking up the European Union and the rest of the world,” Biden said during the speech. a White House press conference with Zelensky.

Biden Says Alliance Will Last Through 2023 (11:20 p.m.)

Biden, during a joint press conference with Zelenskiy at the White House, said, “I am not at all worried about maintaining the alliance, NATO and the European Union. “

“I see no reason to believe there will be a decrease in support,” he said in response to a question about continued support for Ukraine in the new year among US allies.

Biden also referred to the Russian attacks which left many Ukrainians without electricity, heat or water. “We are also working to hold Russia accountable, including efforts in Congress that will make it easier to seek justice for Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine,” he said.

Senate confirms first woman to serve as US envoy to Moscow (9:09 p.m.)

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed US diplomat Lynne Tracy’s career as ambassador to Russia, giving her the green light on the day Zelenskiy visited Biden.

Tracy’s nomination was approved 93 to 2. She becomes the first woman to be confirmed as United States Ambassador to Moscow. During her nomination hearing on December 1, Tracy said Russia’s war on Ukraine “has shattered European security and undermined global economic stability.”

The rapid turnaround between Tracy’s hearing and her confirmation — just under three weeks — underscored the urgency with which Biden wanted to fill the post of ambassador to Moscow.

The First Lady of Ukraine hosts an online summit of her counterparts (8:55 p.m.)

As Zelenskiy traveled to Washington, his wife Olena Zelenska hosted an online summit of her counterparts. The presidential website said attendees included the first ladies of France, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Belgium and others, including Tamara Vucic, the Serbian president’s wife.

Praising them for their efforts to help the people of Ukraine, she said: “All this was possible because we have common values. The most important is human life and saving lives. Freedom and its protection. You were the first to understand that what Ukraine is fighting for has no borders.

Biden says Putin is trying to ‘use winter as a weapon’ (8:48 p.m.)

Meeting Zelenskiy in the Oval Office, Biden said Putin was “trying to use winter as a weapon” in attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.

Praising Zelenskiy as a ‘great leader,’ Biden said, ‘300 days is hard to believe – 300 days of living this as Putin led a brutal attack on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation. and the attack on innocent Ukrainians. ”

Biden to announce Patriots and other aides (6:01 p.m.)

The Biden administration announced that the United States would provide Ukraine with $1 billion in military aid through a reduction in the existing stockpile, including increased air defense and precision strike capabilities, as well as other ammunition and equipment, the State Department said in a statement.

The Department of Defense is also announcing additional security assistance of $850 million, bringing total US military assistance to $21.9 billion.

The package will for the first time include the Patriot air defense system, which will improve Ukraine’s anti-aircraft capabilities as it can shoot down short-range ballistic missiles and aircraft at a higher ceiling than currently, the official said. state department.

Sites Go Dark Across the Globe in Support of Ukraine (5:27 p.m.)

More than 60 famous sites around the world, including the Colosseum in Rome, the Sydney Opera House and New York’s Rockefeller Center, will turn off the lights on Wednesday in support of Ukraine.

The project is a fundraising effort to raise aid for electricity generators for hospitals in Ukraine, United24, the fundraising arm of the Kyiv government, said on Telegram.

Putin promises no funds limit to secure victory (4:30 p.m.)

Putin said Russia had “no limits” on military spending on the war and urged the military to meet its stated goals as the invasion nears its 11th month.

“The country and the government give everything the military asks for – everything,” Putin told senior military officials at the Defense Ministry’s annual meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

The no-spend pledge for the war will put a strain on public finances, as energy export revenues come under pressure from price restrictions imposed by the United States and its allies.

US to impose new controls on drones supplied by Iran to Russia (4:15 p.m.)

The Biden administration is set to announce new export controls targeting Iranian drones and drone parts that Russia has been using in Ukraine since its invasion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The export controls, due to be announced on Wednesday to coincide with Zelenskiy’s surprise trip to Washington, could be part of a broader sanctions package.

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