Selenskyi’s visit to the US began with a standing ovation in the US Congress. The US is supplying a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. Two people have died in a Ukrainian artillery attack on Donetsk, Russia says. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.

2:27 a.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has asked for more heavy weapons from the United States before the US Congress in Washington. “Ukraine has never asked American soldiers to fight in our place on our land. I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers are perfectly capable of operating American tanks and planes themselves,” said Zelenskyy in a historic speech on Wednesday (local time) before the two chambers of parliament, referring to Russia’s invasion of his country. The artillery delivered so far is not sufficient.

“Your money is not charity, it is an investment in global security and democracy, which we will handle in the most responsible way,” the 44-year-old continued. Zelenskyj had already given a video address to the US Congress in March. At that time he had called for the establishment of a no-fly zone to protect Ukraine.

2:22 a.m .: The US Congress in Washington welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with standing applause on Wednesday. The head of state then assured the deputies and senators of the two chambers of parliament that his country would “never surrender” in the face of the Russian war of aggression.

1:41 a.m.: In the midst of the Ukraine conflict, the Russian lower house has passed tougher penalties for “saboteurs”. A corresponding law had been passed by the deputies, the Duma announced on Wednesday in Moscow. The law provides for up to life imprisonment for domestic and foreign “saboteurs”.

The new law should “protect our country and our citizens from threats of terrorism and sabotage,” the Duma said. Its chairman Vyacheslav Volodin also referred to the ongoing “military special operation” in Ukraine. The penalties for “saboteurs” should be “as severe as possible,” he demanded. The new law now has to be passed by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine in February. In recent months, there have been a number of incidents, including explosions at key military bases and infrastructure facilities, for which Moscow blamed Ukraine.

1:35 a.m .: After the Ukrainian President’s visit to the USA, the chairwoman of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, once again spoke out in favor of the delivery of Western battle tanks to Ukraine. “Strategically, we finally have to get in front of the wave and not only react when the situation worsens,” said the FDP politician to the news portal t-online. “Germany must finally deliver the Marder infantry fighting vehicle and, ideally, the Leopard 2 together with its European partners.”

In view of the new threats from Vladimir Putin and the dramatic situation in Ukraine, she welcomes the fact that the USA wanted to deliver Patriots, said Strack-Zimmermann. Germany’s task is to supply “sufficient ammunition for the existing weapon systems”. “But Ukraine finally needs more western tanks.”

Thursday, December 22, 2022, 12:47 a.m.: US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi received Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the US Congress. “Thank you, Mr. President, for honoring us with your presence,” Pelosi said on Wednesday evening (local time). “The entire Congress, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, looks forward to your message of unity, courage and determination.”

Selenskyj wanted to give a speech before the US Congress that evening. This should be addressed to the Americans, he emphasized. “It’s a great honor for me.” The Ukrainian had previously met US President Joe Biden in the White House. The visit to the US capital Washington is his first trip abroad since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Zelenskyj had already given a video address to the US Congress in March. At that time he called – in vain – for the establishment of a no-fly zone to protect Ukraine.

10:05 p.m .: At least two people were killed in an artillery attack by Ukrainian forces on the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday evening, according to information from the region.

“The number of injured is still being determined,” the Tass agency quoted a representative of the administration deployed by Russia as saying. Several parts of the city were shelled by Ukrainian rocket artillery. Considerable damage was caused. The information could not initially be independently verified. The center of Donetsk is less than ten kilometers from the front line.

6:05 p.m .: The US government will deliver the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine for the first time. It is part of a new $1.85 billion military aid pact for the country attacked by Russia, the US State Department said on Wednesday. This brings total U.S. military aid to Ukraine to $21.9 billion since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

The White House previously announced that the US government would officially announce the Patriot delivery and additional military aid during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Washington. “We will support Ukraine for as long as necessary so that Kyiv can continue to defend itself and, when the time comes, takes the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” the foreign ministry said.

In addition to the Patriot anti-aircraft system, the new package includes additional air defense support, additional ammunition and essential equipment. The Patriot air defense system can repel aircraft, cruise missiles, drones and missiles even at a greater distance. It is likely to complicate Russia’s missile and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

2.40 p.m .: Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has announced that the country’s armed forces will be significantly increased in number. He proposes raising the number of soldiers to 1.5 million, Shoigu said Wednesday at a televised expanded Defense Ministry meeting chaired by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. This corresponds to an increase of 350,000 soldiers. The Kremlin chief agreed to the proposals.

Above all, the regular soldiers should be refilled significantly. Their number is expected to rise to 695,000. At the same time, the age period during which young men can be drafted as conscripts will be extended. Shoigu proposes a maximum of 30 years. Up to now, it has mainly been young men who have been called up after the age of 18 in Russia.

According to Schoigus, all of this serves the necessary expansion of the armed forces because of NATO expansion. The 67-year-old therefore called for new units to be set up, especially in north-west Russia on the border with the potential new NATO countries Sweden and Finland.

1:25 p.m .: Russian President Vladimir Putin met his military leadership on Wednesday for a meeting previously announced as “important”. In his speech, Putin presented Russia’s military goals. 150,000 soldiers are being prepared as “reserves” for the “special military operation” in Ukraine, according to Defense Minister Shoigu Putin, the president said on Wednesday.

Ukrainian officials had previously announced that at least 200,000 troops were expected to be involved in a major Russian offensive early next year. Putin did not mention an offensive. But the troops will do their job, Putin is sure. “The troops are growing every day and that will continue to be the case,” he announced, thanking the soldiers who are deployed. “They are heroes like in World War I and World War II,” Putin said. He began his speech with a minute’s silence for the soldiers killed in the war. However, he rated the war as valuable experience for the further development of his own military.

Putin spoke remarkably often of an “optimization” of the technology, tactics and material supply of the troops. The 70-year-old called for a faster upgrade and modernization of the armed forces. The Kremlin chief cited the use of drones as an example. So far, this has been considered a weak point of the Russian armed forces. Drones must be available at all levels of warfare, Putin said. “Every soldier must have the opportunity to get information from drones.” There are “no financial restrictions” on the further upgrading of the army, the Kremlin chief emphasized.

Russia also wants to maintain the level of nuclear weapons, create special troops and advance hypersonic ballistic complexes. However, Putin did not specifically mention difficulties in the war zone in Ukraine. “We fight with the most modern weapons. I repeat: all military objectives will be met.”

The supply of the troops and their equipment, including clothing and night vision devices, must also be of the highest standard, according to Putin. Russia could afford it, the president claimed. “We have no financial restrictions at all. We can give anything for the army.”

The latest developments would show that NATO is intensifying its position against Russia. One must defend oneself against this, according to the Kremlin boss. Earlier, spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that further US arms deliveries to Ukraine would only exacerbate the conflict, referring to the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Washington.

11:27 a.m .: Russia has criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to the USA and the announced new arms deliveries. “All this is undoubtedly leading to an aggravation of the conflict and in itself does not bode well for Ukraine,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. He doesn’t expect Zelenskyy to be more willing to negotiate with Moscow after his trip.

Zelenskyj is expected in Washington in the evening, where he is to meet with US President Joe Biden and appear before Congress. It was announced in advance that the United States would release the delivery of new “Patriot”-type air defense systems.

Peskow criticized that the arms deliveries would not only be continued, but expanded to include new systems. Ukraine had asked for more air defense systems because of the Russian missile attacks on its cities and the infrastructure for energy supply.

Parallel to Zelenskyj’s flight to the United States, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin will chair an expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry in Moscow. Peskow confirmed that the 70-year-old would give a “quite extensive” speech. The main focus is on the war in Ukraine. However, he did not give details of the content.

10.15 a.m .: According to British estimates, Russian forces have penetrated the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which has been fought over for months. “The Russian infantry is now likely to have gained a foothold in the city’s eastern industrial areas and at times has advanced into the city’s residential areas,” the Defense Ministry in London said on Wednesday, citing intelligence findings. “Street fighting continues.” The Russian troops are regular military as well as mercenaries from the Wagner group.

There has been fighting over Bakhmut in the Donetsk region since June. So far, the front line ran east of the city. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to Bakhmut on Tuesday and distributed medals and gifts to soldiers.

Since the fighting for the cities of Lysychansk and Sievjerodonetsk in July, there have been few battles in urban centers, according to London sources. Such battles required well-trained infantry. “This type of combat is unlikely to favor poorly trained Wagner fighters and the Russian Army’s mobilized reservists,” the ministry said.

The British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses a targeted disinformation campaign.

07:05: The US government wants to deliver the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine to defend against Russian air attacks. US President Joe Biden will officially announce this this Wednesday during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj to Washington, the White House said early Wednesday morning (local time).

7:03 a.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is expected this Wednesday for his first trip abroad since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in the US capital Washington. The US government confirmed reports early Wednesday morning (local time).

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