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Biden signs $40 billion Ukraine aid bill

A damaged school near Kharkiv on Friday. (Bernat Armangue/AP)
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SEOUL — President Biden on Saturday signed a $40 billion package of new military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, further deepening his administration’s commitment amid signs that the United States and its allies are preparing for a longer conflict. The package includes $20 billion in additional military aid to finance the transfer of advanced weapons systems — aid that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said was “needed more than ever.”

Russia is continuing intense shelling of the easternmost city under Ukraine’s control, Severodonetsk, which looks set to be the war’s next major battlefield. With fighting underway on the city’s outskirts, Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said that “the Russians are destroying Severodonetsk, like Mariupol.”

Russia now says it controls the Azovstal steel plant, the sprawling complex that had been the final battleground of Mariupol. Russia’s Defense Ministry said 2,439 Ukrainian fighters there have surrendered in recent days — a figure that drastically exceeds other estimates. Ukraine has not confirmed Moscow’s claims that the entire facility is now in Russian hands.

Here’s what else to know

  • Finland’s gas transmission network operator said Saturday that Russia had stopped shipping natural gas to it, a move widely viewed as retaliation after Helsinki formally applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with the leaders of Finland and Sweden to reiterate his demands that they end support for what he deems “terrorist organizations” as the Nordic nations seek to join NATO.
  • Russia has banned 963 Americans, including Biden and Vice President Harris, from entering the country. The list includes a wide range of people — from political leaders and tech executives, to actor Morgan Freeman.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.
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