Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska is scheduled to deliver a speech to Congress on Wednesday, a day after meeting with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House.
“The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, embodies the same tenacity and resilience as the country from which she hails,” said the the president tweeted after their meeting.
Zelenska, in Washington to push for increased military support from the West, met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken emphasized the United States’ commitment to the Ukrainian war effort and to rebuilding the battered nation when hostilities cease.
►Syria, one of Russia’s closest allies, announced it was officially severing diplomatic ties with Ukraine in response to a similar move by Kyiv.
The Biden administration is expected to announce additional military aid to Ukraine later this week, said White House National Security Council coordinator John Kirby.
►Ukrainian missiles struck and badly damaged a key supply bridge for Russian troops in southern Ukraine, the Moscow-backed administration for Russian-controlled southern Kherson said. The bridge remained open to traffic.
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Europe to cut gas consumption by 15% as part of Russian cuts
European nations should immediately cut their natural gas consumption by 15% or face cold stoves and struggling economies this winter, the European Commission recommended on Wednesday.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned that Russia was using gas as a weapon in its war against Ukraine and said the reduction was a voluntary “aspirational” goal that could become mandatory if gas supplies gas was becoming too restricted.
Russia, which has supplied around 40% of Europe’s natural gas in recent years, has already cut spending and Von der Leyen said that so far European countries have made up the shortfall with gas from other countries. country.
Energy commissioners from EU countries are meeting on Tuesday and the support of all 27 EU national governments will be needed for any conservation plan.
“Putin is trying to hustle us this winter,” von der Leyen told a press conference in Brussels. “He will fail dramatically if we stick together.”
GIFTS FROM JILL BIDEN: Man arrested after trying to enter roadway near motorcade, officials say
The White House, citing US intelligence, has officially acknowledged what Ukraine has been warning for months: Russia is “laying the groundwork” to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory by installing proxies and forcing citizens to to apply for Russian citizenship as fighting escalates in southern and eastern Ukraine. .
John Kirby, White House National Security Council coordinator, said Russia was moving toward an “annexation booklet” that mirrors its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Contributor: The Associated Press