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Biden Seeks Military Aid for Ukraine

Good evening. This is your Russia-Ukraine War Briefing, a weeknight guide to the latest news and analysis about the conflict.

  • Russian missiles rocked central Kyiv, shattering weeks of calm.

  • Ukraine moved troops to its western border as fears grew that Russia might attack from the breakaway republic of Transnistria.

  • Russia continued to bombard the Azovstal steel plant, where the last Ukrainian defenders and civilians in Mariupol are holding out.

  • Get live updates here.


An American volunteer teaches Ukrainian soldiers how to use a Javelin missile.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

$33 billion to arm Ukraine

President Biden today called on Congress to approve an additional $33 billion to provide Ukraine with more ammunition, artillery and other supplies.

“The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” Biden said. “We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine.”

The enormous aid package is twice the size of a provision approved by Congress last month. It would eclipse all the spending by the United States so far on the war and suggests that the White House expects the conflict to drag on for months.

There is broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for more aid, but it could get tied up in negotiations over other spending measures.

Biden said he was also seeking new ways to punish the wealthy tycoons who support President Vladimir Putin of Russia, with proposed legislation that would make it easier to seize their yachts, airplanes and other assets. The proceeds would be used to help Ukraine fight Russia.

Increased military aid from the U.S. and its allies is one of several factors contributing to fears that the conflict may escalate into a wider war beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Gas depots and a missile factory in Russia have mysteriously caught fire or come under direct attack from Ukrainian forces in recent days. Britain’s defense secretary said today that Ukraine would be justified in using Western arms to attack military targets inside Russia, drawing immediate criticism from Kremlin officials.

“We’re not attacking Russia,” Biden insisted from the White House. “We’re helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression.”

Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments


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Biden’s speech. ​​Speaking to the nation, President Biden asked Congress for $33 billion in additional emergency aid for Ukraine. The request, more than twice the size of a previously approved package, underscores how the United States and its allies are preparing for a prolonged and unpredictable conflict.

On the ground. Russian forces are making “slow and uneven” progress in eastern Ukraine, but are still struggling to overcome supply problems, a Pentagon official said. Ukraine moved troops to its western border amid fears that Russia might attack from a breakaway region of Moldova.

Gas supplies. A day after Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said that his country must be prepared for the possibility that Germany could be next. Mr. Scholz has warned that a quick cutoff could throw the economy into a recession.


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What else we’re following

In Ukraine

  • Russian forces are struggling to subdue the occupied city of Kherson, a strategically important Black Sea port, as residents stage persistent protests.

  • Russian forces carried out an airstrike on a residential neighborhood in the central Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia in advance of a possible ground offensive.

  • A senior U.S. diplomat accused Russia of detaining and torturing Ukrainian officials, journalists and activists in so-called filtration camps.

  • The U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, declared the war “an absurdity” as he toured locations where Russian forces killed scores of civilians.

  • Traditional artillery, supported by drones that allow for pinpoint targeting, is likely to dominate the latest phase of the war, Bloomberg reports.

Energy

  • European Union countries are scrambling to work out how to pay for Russian gas without running afoul of economic sanctions.

  • Gas distributors in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia are preparing to use the Kremlin’s new payment system, The Financial Times reports.

  • China will suspend its tariff on imported coal, which will most likely benefit Russia as its coal exports to Europe are being phased out.

  • Russia has nearly doubled its fossil-fuel revenues from the E.U. since the war in Ukraine began, The Guardian reports.

    Opinion

  • Conspiracy theories have taken hold in Russia and seem to be the motivating force behind the Kremlin’s decisions, Ilya Yablokov, a historian of Russian media, writes.


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow — Adam

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