5 Extra Jehovah’s Witnesses Handed Jail Phrases In Russia’s Far East


WASHINGTON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is because of meet President Joe Biden in Washington the place he’s anticipated to reach on December 21 on his first journey overseas for the reason that begin of Russia’s invasion as Congress prepares to vote on a sweeping spending invoice that features a provision to allocate greater than $40 billion in extra army assist to Ukraine.

Dwell Briefing: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

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“In the course of the go to, President Biden will announce a major new package deal of safety help to assist Ukraine defend itself in opposition to Russian aggression,” the White Home stated in a press release, including that Zelenskiy “will handle a joint session of Congress, demonstrating the robust, bipartisan help for Ukraine.”

Zelenskiy’s adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, informed Reuters that the go to is “extraordinarily vital” and that it invalidates Moscow’s makes an attempt to drive a wedge between Washington and Kyiv by alleging bilateral relations have gotten cooler.

“Firstly, each the go to itself and the extent of deliberate conferences unequivocally testify to the excessive diploma of belief between the international locations. Secondly, this lastly places an finish to the makes an attempt by the Russian aspect…to show an allegedly rising cooling in our bilateral relations,” Podolyak stated in written feedback.

“This, in fact, shouldn’t be even shut,” Podolyak added. “The US unequivocally helps Ukraine.”

A senior U.S. administration official stated in a name with reporters on December 20 that, throughout Zelenskiy’s go to, the Biden administration will announce $1.8 billion in already authorized army assist to Ukraine that can, for the primary time, embrace a Patriot missile battery and precision guided bombs for his or her fighter jets.

Earlier than addressing Congress, Zelenskiy is predicted to satisfy one-on-one with Biden on the White Home and maintain talks with leaders of the Democratic and Republican events.

“Within the assembly tomorrow, President Biden can have the chance with President Zelenskiy to have an in-depth strategic dialogue, on the best way forward on the battlefield, on the capabilities and coaching the U.S. and our allies proceed to offer to Ukraine,” the official stated.

The journey “is one thing we have needed to do for a while,” he added.

Zelenskiy’s go to comes greater than 300 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine, triggering the most important struggle on European soil for the reason that finish of World Conflict II. It additionally coincides with Congress’s consideration of a $1.7 trillion spending package deal that features large assist to Ukraine.

The omnibus invoice, as it’s recognized, would fund the U.S. authorities via September and is predicted to go the Home and Senate, although there’s discontent amongst some Republicans, who management half of the 100 Senate seats.

Nevertheless, the senior official stated the Biden administration is assured that help will stay bipartisan.

“So, this is not about sending a message to a selected political social gathering. That is about sending a message to Putin and sending a message to the world that America might be there for Ukraine for so long as it takes,” the official stated.

Zelenskiy’s go to “doesn’t harm to get the omnibus invoice over the purpose line 100%,” Andrij Dobriansky, director of communications for the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an influential diaspora group, informed RFE/RL.

Ukraine is very depending on U.S. army assist to defend itself. The failure to go the invoice may result in a U.S. authorities shutdown early subsequent 12 months when Republicans take management of the Home and set off a hold-up of extra assist to Ukraine at a time when many count on Russia to launch a brand new offensive.

“For Ukraine funding proper now, its all in regards to the omnibus,” Dobriansky stated.

Putin earlier this week made his first journey to Minsk in additional than three years to see Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka amid hypothesis the Russian chief might attempt to strain Belarus to hitch the combat in opposition to Ukraine.

Zelenskiy might also be coming to the US now to “make an enormous present” following Putin’s go to to Belarus, Dobriansky stated.

“Zelenskiy can say, ‘I can present up on the White Home anytime I would like.’ It displays on what entry Zelenskiy has and what entry Putin has,” he stated.

The go to could be Zelenskiy’s second to the White Home since taking workplace greater than 3 1/2 years in the past.

Two sources who confirmed plans for Zelenskiy’s journey to the AP cautioned that it may nonetheless be known as off on the final minute as a result of safety considerations.

‘A Very Good Factor’

U.S. officers described particulars of the miltary assist to Ukraine on situation of anonymity as a result of it has not but been introduced, the AP reported. The package deal can have about $1 billion in weapons from Pentagon shares and one other $800 million in funding via the Ukraine Safety Help Initiative, which funds weapons, ammunition, coaching, and different help, officers informed the AP.

Ukraine has additionally been asking for Abrams tanks, ATACMS long-range guided missiles, and F-16s, however the Biden administration has to date refused to present the inexperienced gentle on these highly effective weapons methods, and there was no indication it could approve them throughout Zelenskiy’s go to.

John Herbst, the previous U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2003-06, informed RFE/RL that the administration’s approval of any a kind of weapon methods would justify Zelenskiy taking the chance of touring forwards and backwards to the US amid Russian strikes.

Nonetheless, he stated that if Zelenskiy’s handle to Congress “does, in reality, stymie or cut back the populist Republican opposition to help to Ukraine, that will clearly be an excellent factor.”

The help for Ukraine included within the omnibus spending package deal, which lawmakers are beneath strain to go by midnight on December 23, could be greater than $40 billion and would quantity to the most important American infusion of help but.

It’s a number of billion {dollars} greater than Biden requested. A wing of the Republican Celebration in Congress has come out in opposition to large-scale assist to Ukraine.

Republican Home Takeover

Internet hosting Zelenskiy might be one of many closing acts for Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California), who might be changed by a Republican when the brand new Home session opens early in January. Democrats misplaced management of the Home within the November election however retained the Senate.

Pelosi hinted in a letter to colleagues on December 20 {that a} outstanding customer was anticipated on the Capitol.

“We’re ending a really particular session of the 117th Congress with laws that makes progress for the American individuals in addition to help for our democracy,” Pelosi wrote within the letter, which was quoted by the AP. “Please be current for a really particular give attention to democracy Wednesday evening.”

Zelenskiy’s go to places Pelosi’s anticipated successor, Consultant Kevin McCarthy (Republican-California), on the spot after he stated in an interview previous to the November elections that Individuals are “not going to put in writing a clean test to Ukraine.”

The remark raised concern amongst members of Congress who’ve vowed to proceed supporting Ukraine for so long as it takes to defeat Russia.

As Home speaker, McCarthy would have broad latitude to nominate Ukraine-skeptic lawmakers because the chairs of the budgetary and the overseas affairs committees, in addition to the facility to resolve which payments come up for a vote.

Zelenskiy’s go to to Washington would comply with on the heels of his journey to town of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s contested Donetsk area on December 20 to point out help for the “braveness, resilience, and power” of Ukrainian troops.

Although Russia’s invasion has misplaced momentum, if it have been profitable in capturing Bakhmut, Russian forces would sever Ukraine’s provide traces and open a route for them to press towards key Ukrainian cities within the Donetsk area.

‘Not In An Simple Scenario’

In a video launched by his workplace, Zelenskiy is seen receiving a Ukrainian flag from the troops in Bakhmut, and he alludes to delivering it to U.S. leaders.

“The blokes handed over our lovely Ukrainian flag with their signatures for us to go on,” Zelenskiy stated within the video. “We’re not in a straightforward state of affairs. The enemy is growing its military. Our persons are braver and want extra highly effective weapons. We are going to go it on from the boys to the Congress, to the president of the US. We’re grateful for his or her help, however it isn’t sufficient. It’s a trace — it isn’t sufficient.”

Zelenskiy has addressed the U.S. Congress as soon as earlier than — on March 16 in a dwell video handle through which he known as on lawmakers to go additional sanctions and help a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, requested if Moscow hoped that one thing optimistic may come from Zelenskiy’s journey, stated, “No.”

“The availability of weapons continues and the vary of provided weapons is increasing. All of this, in fact, results in an aggravation of the battle. This doesn’t bode effectively for Ukraine,” Peskov stated.

With reporting by AP, CNN, Reuters, and AFP

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