John Hewko, a Ukrainian-American, recently returned from a trip to Ukraine. As a lawyer working in Ukraine in the early 1990s, he helped the working group drafting the country’s first post-Soviet constitution.
In conversations behind closed doors at the Mariinsky Palace on Monday, Biden sought to engage President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a detailed and urgent discussion about the next phase of the war, which US officials describe as having arrived at a critical juncture.
Joe Biden spent more than five hours in the Ukrainian capital, consulting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on next steps, honoring the country’s fallen soldiers and seeing U.S. embassy staff in the besieged country.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, is co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus and was appointed to the escort committee for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s joint address to Congress.
In a brief remarks before reporters, President Joe Biden told Zelenskyy that “it’s an honor to be by your side” and he pledged continued financial, military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Biden also warned that Russia is “trying to use winter as a weapon” in the war.
Russia pounded Ukraine’s energy facilities Tuesday with its biggest barrage of missiles yet, striking targets across the country and causing widespread blackouts. A senior U.S. intelligence official said missiles crossed into NATO member Poland and killed two people.
Air raid warnings sounded throughout the country for a second straight morning as Ukrainian officials advised residents to conserve energy and stock up on water. Strikes in the capital and 12 other regions Monday caused power outages and pierced the relative calm that had returned to Kyiv and many other cities far from the war’s front lines.
The news came after days of apparent advances by Ukraine south of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, in what could become the biggest battlefield success for Ukrainian forces since they thwarted a Russian attempt to seize the capital of Kyiv.
Six months later, the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II has turned into a grinding war of attrition. The Russian offensive has largely bogged down as Ukrainian forces increasingly target key facilities far behind the front lines, including in Russia-occupied Crimea.
The new package includes $800 million in military aid for much-needed heavy artillery, 144,000 rounds of ammunition and drones for the escalating battle in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It builds on roughly $2.6 billion in military assistance that Biden previously approved.
Russia bombarded the western city of Lviv and numerous other targets across Ukraine on Monday in what appeared to be an intensified bid to grind down the country’s defenses while building up its own forces for a major ground offensive in the east.
Zelenskyy, appearing via video from Ukraine, told council members that civilians had been shot in the back of the head after being tortured, blown up with grenades in their apartments and crushed to death by tanks while in cars.
President Joe Biden’s comments to reporters came after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Bucha, one of the towns surrounding Kyiv where Ukrainian officials say the bodies of civilians have been found. Zelenskyy called the Russian actions “genocide” and called for the West to apply tougher sanctions against Russia.
While hinting at possible concessions, President Zelenskyy also stressed that Ukraine’s priority is ensuring its sovereignty and its “territorial integrity” — preventing Russia from carving up the country, something Ukraine and the West say could now be Moscow’s goal.
A senior NATO military official said the alliance’s estimate was based on information from Ukrainian authorities, what Russia has released — intentionally or not — and intelligence gathered from open sources. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO.
Civilians fleeing Mariupol said the city was under relentless bombardment, with block after block of destroyed buildings and corpses in the streets. But the Kremlin’s ground offensive in other parts of the country advanced slowly or not at all, knocked back by lethal Ukrainian hit-and-run attacks.