Here is the situation as it is on Wednesday, December 21.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is heading to the United States to meet his counterpart Joe Biden and visit Congress, the White House said, his first known trip abroad since the February 24 invasion of Russia.
- The United States is expected to announce $1.8 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, US officials said on condition of anonymity. The package would include aid and the Patriot missile system.
- Zelenskyy’s visit to the United States also comes as Congress is about to approve an additional $45 billion in economic and military aid for Kyiv in a funding bill.
- The World Bank said it had approved an additional financing package totaling $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 US State Department official said, reiterating that Washington would continue to back Kyiv regardless of the scenario that unfolds.
- Russia plans to give Iran advanced military components in exchange for hundreds of drones, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace has said, calling on the West to do more to expose the trade.
- The EU’s foreign policy chief told Iran’s foreign minister that Tehran should immediately stop military support for Russia and internal repression in Iran.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that conditions in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine were “extremely difficult” and ordered the strengthening of Russia’s borders.
- Zelenskyy paid a surprise visit to the frontline town of Bakhmut, where he greeted “superhuman” troops waging a battle that has become a symbol of war’s crushing brutality.
- Electricity supplies in the Kyiv region were at a “critical” level, with less than half of the capital’s power needs supplied following Russian missile and drone attacks, regional officials said.
- Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine should prepare for further Russian attacks on its power grid because Moscow wanted Ukrainians to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays in the dark.
- The World Health Organization said that 10 million people, or about a quarter of Ukraine’s population, may suffer from a mental health disorder due to the war.
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