President Biden is headed for NATO’s eastern flank on Friday, when he will meet with his Polish counterpart in Rzeszow, a city some 60 miles from the Ukrainian border. The visit, yet another show of Washington’s solidarity with its transatlantic allies, comes as the United States pledged to open its borders to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and said it would respond “in kind” if Russia uses chemical weapons in its invasion.
While in Brussels on Thursday, Biden and other Western leaders discussed supporting countries neighboring Ukraine — Poland has received more than 2 million displaced Ukrainians — as well as plans to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy. A major initiative that would deliver liquefied natural gas from the United States to the continent is expected to be announced Friday.
The battle for the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, rages on as the war enters its second month, with counterattacks forcing Russian troops into defensive positions, according to U.S.-based military analysts. Ukrainian forces are likely to continue striking logistical assets in territory held by Russia, which would stretch the Kremlin’s supply lines and dampen morale among Russian forces, Britain said in a Thursday intelligence update.
In a video released Friday local time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised his forces for thwarting Russian advances toward major population centers. “If Russia has known it would face that, I’m sure they would have definitely been afraid to come here,” he said, referring to the fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Here’s what to know
- Biden voiced support for expelling Russia from the Group of 20. Several Western nations have suggested barring Russian President Vladimir Putin from a G-20 summit later this year.
- Roughly half the children in Ukraine — numbering some 4.3 million — have fled their homes since the war, the United Nations Children’s Fund stated Thursday. This tally includes refugees as well as those who are internally displaced.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency is negotiating a deal to ensure the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. The U.N. watchdog also said Thursday that Ukraine had informed it that Russian shelling in a city near the Chernobyl plant was preventing personnel from rotating shifts.
- Harrowing images of human suffering have been captured across Ukraine. Here are some of scenes from the front lines.
- The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.
UNDERSTANDING THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT