Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
Russian news channels report that six people were injured after the missile struck the Black Sea Fleet headquarters — though officials have not confirmed the number of wounded. Earlier Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said a Ukrainian missile and two drones were destroyed off the Crimean coast.
Zelensky will spend Friday in Canada, Trudeau’s office said. After addressing Parliament, Trudeau and Zelensky “will then travel to Toronto, where they will meet with Canadian business leaders to strengthen private sector investment in Ukraine’s future.” Canada has provided more than 8.9 billion Canadian dollars ($6.6 billion) since January 2022, in direct financial aid and military equipment, according to the office.
In his nightly address, Zelensky thanked “both parties, both houses” after his meeting with U.S. congressional leaders. Zelensky said he had “very frank, detailed conversations” with U.S. lawmakers. During his D.C. visit on Thursday, he met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), whose party includes lawmakers who oppose additional aid to Kyiv. He also spoke to a large forum of senators to make his case for why U.S. lawmakers should approve the Biden administration’s request for an additional $24 billion aid package.
The Biden administration announced a $325 million military aid package to Ukraine on Thursday. This tranche will include air defense systems, munitions and .50-caliber machine guns that can be used against Russian drones that have attacked Ukrainian cities and towns in recent months. Meanwhile, Zelensky said that the United States and Ukraine will create an industrial base to jointly produce weapons such as air defense systems.
Both Russia and Ukraine “have experienced unusually intense attacks deep behind their lines” in the past four days, according to the British Defense Ministry, as the ground battle remains “relatively static.” The ministry tweeted Friday that it was “highly likely” that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had been targeted again, while explosions at an air base near Moscow were “likely to be more of a strategic concern” to the Kremlin. Russia in turn has launched repeated long-range strikes against Ukraine, it said.
At least one person has been killed in shelling in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, according to a local official. Governor Oleksandr Prokudin wrote Friday on Telegram that a 25-year-old man died of his injuries, while another person was wounded.
A ship has left the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Chornomorsk carrying Ukrainian wheat toward Egypt, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said Friday, in the second shipment to leave via a temporary corridor for civilian shipping since Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal in July. The Palau-flagged Aroyat has 17,600 metric tons of wheat on board, Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted, days after the much smaller Resilient Africa departed with 3,000 metric tons. Three other vessels are heading to Ukrainian Black Sea ports to transport 127,000 metric tons of “agroproducts and iron ore” to China, Egypt and Spain, he said in a separate message.
The United States says it has made no decision on whether to supply Ukraine with ATACMS tactical missiles. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said that while the missiles weren’t included in the most recent aid package, Biden has not ruled out providing them in the future. The system has a range of 190 miles and would give the Ukrainian military the ability to fire deeper inside Russian-occupied territory.
Poland threatened to stop sending more arms to Ukraine. Warsaw will fulfill only existing contracts, Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller said, citing Ukraine’s “totally unacceptable statements and public gestures.” Polish President Andrzej Duda appeared to backtrack on the threat, saying it would still be possible for Warsaw to transfer weapons from its old army stocks “just as we have done before.” Poland and Ukraine have been engaged in a trade feud over Ukrainian grain exports that have spilled into the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, as Russian warships maintain a blockade of many of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
The European Union has disbursed another 1.5 billion euros to Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted Friday. “Just this year, we paid €13.5 billion to help Ukraine keep hospitals, schools and other services running,” she said.
British police charged five Bulgarians with espionage, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service reported. The individuals, who are between 29 and 45, are accused of conducting surveillance on targets, forging passports and identification cards, and passing information to Russian state security services from August 2020 to February of this year, the BBC reports.
Zelensky blitzes Washington in urgent effort to bolster support: When Zelensky last visited Washington, he received a hero’s welcome at the White House and on Capitol Hill that day in December, evoking comparisons to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s wartime visit to Washington in 1941, report Tyler Pager, Abigail Hauslohner, Alexandra Heal and John Hudson. This time, Zelensky visited under starkly different circumstances, as some U.S. lawmakers are growing more skeptical of providing more aid to Kyiv.
McCarthy, who has spent the week struggling to calm a tumultuous dispute among House Republicans over funding the U.S. government, rejected Zelensky’s request to address a joint meeting of Congress because of “what we’re in the middle of.” Zelensky gave such an address when he visited Washington last year, receiving rapturous applause from both sides of the aisle.