Russia-Ukraine war live: Zelenskiy tells US Congress aid is not charity; Biden announces $1.85bn package including Patriot air defence missiles

Key events

‘Your money is not charity’, Zelenskiy tells US Congress

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the US Congress that aid to Ukraine was an investment in democracy and “not charity” as he invoked American battles against the Nazis in World War Two to press for more assistance for his country’s war effort.

Zelenskiy’s comments on Wednesday come as Republicans – some of whom have voiced increasing scepticism about sending so much aid to Ukraine – are set to take control of the US House of Representatives from Democrats on 3 January.

Some hardline Republicans have even urged an end to aid and an audit to trace how allocated money has been spent.

“Your money is not charity. It is an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way,” Zelenskiy told a joint session of the US Senate and House of Representatives, speaking in English.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. It is currently 7.30am in Kyiv. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be with you for the next hour.

On Wednesday evening in Washington DC, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, addressed members of the US Congress in person, on his first foreign visit since the outbreak of the war.

We’ll bring you the key developments from Zelenskiy’s visit as well as news from the ground in Ukraine.

In the meantime, here is recent news:

  • A former Russian deputy prime minister and a pro-Moscow official were injured when Ukrainian forces shelled the eastern city of Donetsk on Wednesday, Russian news agencies said. Donetsk, controlled by pro-Moscow troops, is in the industrial Donbas region, the centre of recent bitter fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has pledged to give his army anything it asks for, promising no financial limits on what the government would provide in terms of equipment and hardware. Speaking in Moscow after meeting with Russia’s top military officials, Putin said there were no “funding restrictions” for the military.

  • Putin also acknowledged that the call-up of 300,000 reservists he ordered in September had not gone smoothly, the latest in a series of recent comments in which he has admitted the challenges his army is facing. “The partial mobilisation that was carried out revealed certain problems, as everyone well knows, which should be promptly addressed,” he said.

  • The UN will allocate an additional $20m from the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund to support more than 300 civil society organisations and volunteer groups. “These groups have always been the backbone of the humanitarian response in Ukraine and even more since the war started in late February,” said Denise Brown, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine.

  • In an overwhelming vote of 93-2, the US Senate confirmed the appointment of Lynne M Tracy as the new US ambassador to Russia on Wednesday. Tracy, a career diplomat of the US foreign service, “will be tasked with standing up to [Vladimir] Putin”, the Associated Press quoted the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, as saying.

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