The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

U.S. wants Russia ‘weakened,' sees critical phase in east

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on April 24. (Video: AP)

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American officials say they are rushing equipment to Ukraine for a potentially critical battle over the country’s east and seeking to weaken Russia long term as Moscow’s invasion enters its third month.

Speaking Monday after a trip to Kyiv, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States wants to see Russia “weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who also traveled to Ukraine this weekend, expressed confidence the Kremlin has “failed” in its original goal to “totally subjugate” its neighbor.

But Ukrainian leaders continue to report fierce fighting in the eastern Donbas region — home to pro-Russian separatists — where Moscow’s forces have spent weeks refocusing. Central and western Ukraine remain targets for bombing, they say, with rail officials reporting that five train stations came under fire Monday.

Here’s what else to know

  • United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday before traveling to Kyiv.
  • A top Ukrainian official says the country is asking the Biden administration to provide at least $2 billion per month in emergency economic aid.
  • Biden will nominate career diplomat Bridget Brink to become ambassador to Ukraine, the White House said.
  • Blinken confirmed the United States will reopen its embassy in Ukraine, with diplomats first operating in the western city of Lviv.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia fired at least 85 missiles on at least six major cities in Ukraine on November 15, in one of the most widespread attacks of the war so far. The strikes came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking by video link, presented a 10-point peace plan to G-20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia. As in previous Russian missile attacks, critical civilian infrastructure appeared to be primary targets. Parts of several cities that were hit were left without electrical power on Tuesday afternoon.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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