In a nightly address made to the Ukrainian people summarizing the day’s events, Zelensky expressed thanks to President Biden for approving the latest tranche of U.S. military aid. “Thank you, Mr. President Biden!” he said. The Ukrainian leader also thanked “Congress — both parties, both houses,” before saying that he had “very frank, detailed conversations” with U.S. lawmakers.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
Zelensky will spend Friday in Canada, Trudeau’s office said. “While in Ottawa, President [Zelensky] will deliver an address to Parliament,” it said. Trudeau and Zelensky “will then travel to Toronto, where they will meet with Canadian business leaders to strengthen private sector investment in Ukraine’s future.” Canada has provided more than 8.9 billion Canadian dollars, or $6.6 billion, since January 2022, in both direct financial aid and military equipment, according to the office.
The Biden administration announced a $325 million military aid package to Ukraine. This tranche will include air defense systems, munitions and .50-caliber machine guns that can be used against Russian drones that have terrorized Ukrainian cities and towns in recent months.
Unlike his last visit, Zelensky was not granted the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress. But he was granted a large forum of senators to make his case for why U.S. lawmakers should approve the Biden administration’s request for an additional $24 billion aid package. “If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,” Zelensky told members of the Senate in a closed-door meeting, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
In a private meeting with Zelensky, McCarthy asked how open-ended the war would be and if Kyiv is using U.S.-provided weapons responsibly, The Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the meeting. The Ukrainian side did not view McCarthy’s tough questioning as political. It viewed the speaker as sympathetic but embattled, and struggling to contain a faction in his party that includes members opposed to giving more aid to Ukraine. McCarthy applauded Zelensky’s recent decisions to replace his defense minister and fire other senior defense officials as part of a broader move aimed at rooting out corruption, and expressed support for providing ATACMS missiles and F-16s to Ukraine.
The United States and Ukraine will create an industrial base to jointly produce weapons such as air defense systems, Zelensky said. Describing the plan as historic, he said it would create new jobs for Americans and Ukrainians, and help deter aggression.
The United States has made no decision on whether to supply Ukraine with ATACMS tactical missiles. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that while the missiles weren’t included in the most recent aid package, Biden had not ruled out providing them in the future. The system has a range of 190 miles, and would give the Ukrainian military the ability to fire deeper inside Russian territory.
Russia and Belarus will start a training exercise Friday, Russian state media reported. The biennial Union Shield 2023 exercise will continue until next Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.
Poland threatened to stop sending more arms to Ukraine. Warsaw will fulfill only existing contracts, Polish government spokesman Pitor Müller said, citing Ukraine’s “totally unacceptable statements and public gestures.” Polish President Andrzej Duda appeared to backtrack the threat, saying it would still be possible for Warsaw to transfer weapons from its old army stocks “just as we have done before.” The remarks come as Poland and Ukraine have been engaged in a trade feud over Ukrainian grain exports that have spilled into the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, as Russian warships maintain a blockade of much of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
British police charged five Bulgarians with espionage, the BBC reported. They are accused of conducting surveillance on targets, forging passports and identification cards, and passing information to Russian state security services from August 2020 to February this year.
Zelensky blitzes Washington in urgent effort to bolster support: When Zelensky last visited Washington, he received a hero’s welcome at the White House and on Capitol Hill that day in December, evoking comparisons to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s wartime visit to Washington in 1941, report Tyler Pager, Abigail Hauslohner, Alexandra Heal and John Hudson. This time, Zelensky visited under starkly different circumstances, as some U.S. lawmakers are growing more skeptical of providing more aid to Kyiv.
McCarthy, who has spent the week struggling to calm a tumultuous dispute among House Republicans over funding the U.S. government, rejected Zelensky’s request to deliver a joint address to Congress because of “what we’re in the middle of.” Zelensky gave such an address when he visited Washington last year, receiving rapturous applause from both sides of the aisle.