Russia-Ukraine war live: Kyiv secures $325m in new US military aid; Zelenskiy arrives in Canada

Volodymyr Zelenskiy secures $325m in new US aid

The support of the US was vital to Ukraine: “if we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,” Zelenskiy was reported as saying.

The AP reports:

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy worked to shore up US support for Ukraine on a whirlwind visit to Washington on Thursday, delivering an upbeat message on the war’s progress while facing new questions about the flow of US dollars that for 19 months have helped keep his troops in the fight against Russian forces.

The Ukrainian leader received a far quieter reception than the hero’s welcome he was given last year from Congress, but also won generally favourable comments on the next round of US aid he says he needs to stave off defeat.

Key events

On his Telegram channel Volodymyr Zelenskiy has published a series of photographs from his trip to Washington, and written in praise of the American people. In his message, Ukraine’s president said:

These are different people: doctors and soldiers, politicians and businessmen, adults and children … Ukrainians, Americans. There isn’t a soul here who doesn’t care what happens to freedom. And there is not a single soul in Ukraine that does not feel gratitude to you, America.

To you – people who help us not because they should, but because your heart cannot allow you to do otherwise. This is humanity. This is what makes us Ukraine. This is what makes you America.

If America didn’t have such big hearted people, there wouldn’t be any freedom left in the world.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has posted a message on social media to state that the Ukrainian delegation trip to the US has been successful. He wrote:

Together with Andriy Yermak and all of president Zelenskiy’s diplomatic team, we concluded another milestone visit that brought new defence agreements and resolve to fight for our shared freedom to victory. We keep working on other achievements in the interests of Ukraine and the world.

Together with @AndriyYermak and all of @ZelenskyyUA’s diplomatic team, we concluded another milestone visit that brought new defense agreements and resolve to fight for our shared freedom to victory. We keep working on other achievements in the interests of Ukraine and the world. pic.twitter.com/PLqyAgGJlk

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) September 22, 2023

There are unconfirmed reports of further explosions being heard in Kherson.

Oleksandr Prokudin, Ukraine’s governor of Kherson, has posted to Telegram to say that one person has died as a result of Russian military action in the region this morning. He wrote:

Kherson has been restless since the morning. The occupying forces set fire to residential quarters of the city. Fires broke out in a residential building and a garage due to the impact of enemy shells. As of this hour, two victims are known. Unfortunately, a 25-year-old man died from his injuries, another person was injured.

Kherson is one of the regions of Ukraine which Russia partially occupies and which the Russian Federation claims to have annexed.

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister confirmed on Friday the departure of the second cargo vessel with grain from Ukraine’s Chornomorsk seaport.

The vessel Aroyat “left the port Chornomorsk after loading Ukrainian wheat for Egypt,” Reuters reports Oleksandr Kubrakov posted to social media.

This is the second bulk carrier that has entered the port of Chornomorsk “using the temporary corridor for civil shipping”, he said, adding that the first was Resilient Africa, with wheat bound for Asia.

Suspilne, citing the head of the local authority, reports that two people have been injured this morning after shells hit houses in the city of Kherson.

The first US M1 Abrams tanks will arrive in Ukraine “next week,” US president Joe Biden said on Thursday, boosting Kyiv’s forces as they battle Russian troops in a slow-moving counteroffensive.

“Next week, the first US Abrams tanks will be delivered in Ukraine,” Biden said at the White House, alongside his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has concluded his second visit to the US since Russia invaded his country in February 2022.

The US M1 Abrams tank
The US M1 Abrams tank Photograph: Sgt. Anthony Prater/DVIDS/EPA

Biden also said he had “approved the next tranche of security assistance for Ukraine,” which the Pentagon later valued at $325m.

It includes air defence missiles, ammunition for HIMARS precision rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons, and artillery rounds.

But the package does not feature the long-range ATACMS missiles that Kyiv has repeatedly requested.

It does include 155mm rounds that contain cluster munitions, which Washington first agreed to provide to Ukraine in July despite concerns over the long-term risk posed to civilians by bomblets that fail to explode.

The US said it has received assurances from Kyiv that it would minimize the risk the weapons pose to civilians, including by not using the munitions in populated areas.

Washington had promised the 31 Abrams tanks to Kyiv at the start of the year, part of more than $43bn in security assistance pledged over the past 18 months.

The tanks will be paired with 120mm armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds.

Such munitions are controversial due to their association with health problems, such as cancer and birth defects, in areas where they were used in past conflicts, although they have not been definitively proven to have caused them.

The decision to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine represented a U-turn as American defence officials had repeatedly said they were ill-suited for Kyiv’s forces due to their complexity.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy will speak to the Canadian parliament on Friday as part of his campaign to bolster support from Western allies for Ukraine’s war against the Russian invasion.

Zelenskiy flew into Canada’s capital late Thursday after meetings with US president Joe Biden and lawmakers in Washington. He spoke at the United Nations’ annual meeting Wednesday.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau, who also planned to speak to parliament on Friday, gave Zelenskiy a warm welcome on the tarmac at Ottawa’s airport.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as his wife Olena Zelenska looks on as they arrive at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as his wife Olena Zelenska looks on as they arrive at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa Photograph: Justin Tang/AP

It is Zelenskiy’s first visit to Canada since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. He previously addressed the Canadian parliament virtually after the war started.

After their speeches, Zelenskiy and Trudeau are scheduled to go to Toronto to meet with the local Ukrainian community. Canada is home to about 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent, close to 4% of the population.

Canada’s UN ambassador, Bob Rae, said it was important for Zelenskiy to see the extent to which Canada supports Ukraine in the war.

“We have done a lot to help him and we need to do more,” Rae said. “We’re going to continue to do everything we can to support the Ukrainian people.”

Canada has provided more than $8.9bn Canadian (US$6.6bn) in support to Ukraine in what Trudeau’s government calls the highest per-capita direct financial support to Ukraine in the Group of 7 industrial nations.

More than 175,000 Ukrainians have come to Canada since the war started and an additional 700,000 have received approval to come as part of an initiative that supports temporary relocation of those fleeing the war. The initiative allows for an open work permit for three years with pathways to permeant residency and citizenship.

Zelenskiy is facing questions in Washington about the flow of American dollars that for 19 months has helped keep his troops in the fight against Russian forces.

Ukrainian troops are struggling to take back territory that Russia gained over the past year. Their progress in the next month or so before the rains come and the ground turns to mud could be critical in rousing additional global support over the winter.

Zelenskiy made his first official visit to Canada in 2019.

Zelenskiy has headed north. Reuters reports…

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is visiting Canada, to meet with prime minister Justin Trudeau and address the Canadian parliament in Ottawa, Trudeau’s office said in a statement late on Thursday, after Zelenskiy’s US visit wrapped up.

“The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will visit Canada, from September 21 to 22, 2023,” Trudeau’s office said.

Zelenskiy was in Washington on Thursday where he met US lawmakers and president Joe Biden, a day after addressing the U.N. Security Council in-person for the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While in Canada, Zelenskiy will also visit Toronto to meet with Canadian business leaders to strengthen private-sector investment in Ukraine’s future, the Canadian prime minister’s office said.

“Canada remains unwavering in our support to the people of Ukraine as they fight for their sovereignty and their democracy, as well as our shared values like respect for the rule of law, freedom, and self-determination,” Trudeau said in a statement.

“I look forward to welcoming president Zelenskiy to Canada,” the Canadian prime minister said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as his wife Olena Zelenska looks on as they arrive at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as his wife Olena Zelenska looks on as they arrive at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa Photograph: Justin Tang/AP

In June, Trudeau made an unannounced trip to war-torn Kyiv, where he paid his respects at a memorial to Ukrainian soldiers killed fighting pro-Russian forces since 2014, met Zelenskiy and addressed Ukraine’s parliament.

NATO member Canada, which has one of the world’s largest Ukrainian diasporas, has supplied military and financial assistance to Kyiv since Russia invaded in February 2022. It has also joined other Western allies in imposing sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

“Since the start of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, Canada has welcomed more than 175,000 Ukrainians,” Trudeau’s office said on Thursday.

Zelenskiy’s US and Canada visits come as Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive has hit stubborn Russian defenses, and colder, wetter weather will soon make many rural roads impassable for heavy vehicles.

This was a very important visit to Washington, D.C.

New military aid package. Long-term agreement on joint defense production. This historic step will create new industrial base and jobs for both of our nations.

My day began on Capitol Hill with candid and extensive… pic.twitter.com/Ro24E6k86D

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) September 22, 2023

Biden promised to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, making the argument (aimed at reluctant Republicans in Congress) that it is not only Ukrainian interests served by a defeat of Russia.

The United States’ commitment to Ukraine will not weaken.

Putin may still wrongly believe that he can outlast Ukraine.
Putin may doubt our staying power.

He’s wrong.

We will stand for liberty and freedom today, tomorrow, and for as long as it takes. pic.twitter.com/k1m1BgggvT

— President Biden (@POTUS) September 22, 2023

The United States will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine.

It’s not just an investment in Ukraine’s future.

But in a future where the entire world respects the principles of independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

— President Biden (@POTUS) September 21, 2023

Two nations. One clear, firm, and unwavering message: We stand together.

Дві країни. Один чіткий, твердий і непохитний сигнал: ми разом. pic.twitter.com/d5VGFt8nJk

— President Biden (@POTUS) September 21, 2023

Volodymyr Zelenskiy secures $325m in new US aid

The support of the US was vital to Ukraine: “if we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,” Zelenskiy was reported as saying.

The AP reports:

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy worked to shore up US support for Ukraine on a whirlwind visit to Washington on Thursday, delivering an upbeat message on the war’s progress while facing new questions about the flow of US dollars that for 19 months have helped keep his troops in the fight against Russian forces.

The Ukrainian leader received a far quieter reception than the hero’s welcome he was given last year from Congress, but also won generally favourable comments on the next round of US aid he says he needs to stave off defeat.

Welcome and Summary

Hello and welcome to our continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Day 577.

The announcement of a new $325m US military aid package for Ukraine comes as officials in a town west of Donetsk near Ukraine’s eastern front says that 13 people were, including one pulled out from under rubble, in Russian strikes on Thursday evening.

First here’s the other main headlines from Ukraine on Friday:

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, visited the US Capitol, Pentagon and the White House on Thursday. Zelenskiy’s visit to Washington was a much tougher one than the hero’s welcome he was given nine months ago, as some hardline Republicans are threatening to block US President Joe Biden’s request for a fresh $24bn aid package for Ukraine.

  • Zelenskiy told senators that military aid was crucial to Ukraine’s war effort, majority leader Chuck Schumer said after a briefing which took place behind closed doors. “If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,” Schumer quoted Zelenskiy as saying.

  • Biden assured Zelenskiy that strong US support for his war to repel Russian invaders would be maintained despite the Republican opposition. “Together with our partners and allies, the American people are determined to see to it to that [we do] all we can to ensure that the world stands with you,” Biden told him.

  • A new US military aid package for Ukraine worth $325m will include air defence systems and the second tranche of cluster munitions fired by a 155mm Howitzer cannon, Reuters reported, citing a US official.

source: theguardian.com