Zelenskyy back in Ukraine after US trip
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in Ukraine after addressing the United States Congress in Washington, DC and meeting President Joe Biden.
Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov says the Ukraine frontline is “stable” as the Kremlin’s forces focus on “liberating” the eastern Donetsk region.
Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu visits his armed forces in Ukraine.
The Kremlin says the US sending a Patriot missile system to Ukraine and lack of discussions on peace talks are evidence Washington is fighting a “proxy war” with Russia.
What are Patriot missile defences and why does Ukraine want them?
The Patriot air defence systems are the most powerful such weapons to be delivered to Ukraine yet.
The US announced it will supply Kyiv with the advanced long-range air defence system that can intercept ballistic and cruise missiles as well as drones.
US Congress clears spending deal that includes Ukraine aid
US senators approved a sweeping annual spending package that includes almost $44.9bn in aid to Ukraine.
The $1.7 trillion blueprint passed by a vote of 68-29 and now goes to the House of Representatives for a final vote before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
Lawmakers were racing to get the bill approved before a partial government shutdown would occur at midnight Friday, and many were anxious to complete the task before a deep freeze and wintry conditions left them stranded in Washington, DC for the holidays.
Sergii Nykyforov, a presidential press secretary, confirmed that the Ukrainian leader had crossed the country’s borders after a brief stop in Poland to meet with ally President Andrzej Duda.
Zelenskyy discussed bilateral relations and strategic cooperation between Kyiv and Warsaw with the Polish president.
“On the way home [from the US], I had a meeting with a friend of Ukraine – President of Poland Andrzej Duda. We summed up the year, which brought historic challenges due to a full-scale war.
“Also we discussed strategic plans for the future, bilateral relations and interactions at the international level in 2023,” Zelenskyy said in a message on Telegram.
Zelenskyy thanked Duda for his country’s “unwavering and powerful support” for Ukraine but no information was given on where the two presidents met.
Putin: Russia wants to end the war with diplomacy
President Vladimir Putin says Russia wants to end the war in Ukraine and all armed conflicts with diplomatic negotiations.
“Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but on the contrary, to end this war,” he told reporters. “We are striving for this and will continue to strive.”
“We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course.”