Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Kyiv, where he visited the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday and is set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The trip, Blinken’s fourth to Ukraine during the war, is meant to demonstrate U.S. support as Ukrainian troops struggle to make strides in their counteroffensive against Russian forces in the south.
Britain is planning to declare Russia’s Wagner Group a terrorist organization because of the nature and scale of the mercenaries’ operations, as well as “the threat they pose to British nationals abroad,” the Home Office said. After Parliament agrees to the draft order, supporting or becoming a member of the Wagner Group would become illegal in the United Kingdom and punishable by up to 14 years in jail, the Home Office said.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
Blinken is expected to announced more than $1 billion in new U.S. funding for Ukraine. He was also scheduled to meet with civil society groups to discuss anti-corruption efforts as Kyiv, facing a series of scandals, pledges a crackdown. “We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs, not only to succeed in the counteroffensive, but has what it needs for the long term, to make sure that it has a strong deterrent,” Blinken said in Kyiv.
Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also arrived in the Ukrainian capital and addressed the parliament in Kyiv on Wednesday. Her visit comes after Denmark, along with the Netherlands, pledged to deliver the F-16 fighter jets Ukraine has long sought from its Western allies.
Fragments that “resemble drone parts” were found on Romanian territory, said Ministry of Defense spokesman Constantin Spanu. An investigation is underway to help determine the exact “nature of these fragments,” which were found Tuesday, he said, adding that he could not “make a direct connection” with any recent attack. Investigators have searched areas in Romania bordering Ukraine for several days after Russian bombardments, Spanu said. Romania’s Defense Ministry had dismissed claims earlier this week that Russian drones entered the country during an attack on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River.
Ukraine’s parliament officially approved Rustem Umerov as the country’s new defense minister following the resignation of Oleksii Reznikov, who took the role in November 2021. Reznikov resigned this week after Zelensky announced plans to replace him, with the ministry embroiled in corruption allegations.
Ukraine had the highest casualty toll from cluster munitions of any country last year, according to the Cluster Munition Coalition watchdog. Nearly 300 people were killed and 600 wounded by cluster bombs in Ukraine in 2022, the group said in a report, which noted that most of the victims were civilians and many were children. The United States faced criticism this year for starting to supply Ukraine with the widely banned weapons, which Russia has used extensively during the war.
Kyiv was targeted by missiles overnight, but air defenses intercepted the attacks, according to Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration. A Washington Post reporter in Kyiv heard explosions overhead on the eve of Blinken’s visit, as the capital was under an air alert for about two hours.
Conditions are “difficult” along the eastern front line, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, said. Russian forces are “completing the training of assault units, shelling our positions daily with artillery and mortars,” near Kupyansk in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, he also said Wednesday.
Zelensky completed a two-day tour of the Donbas and Zaporizhzhia regions, he said Tuesday in his nightly address. The Ukrainian president said he visited with battalion commanders and 13 combat brigades in the regions of eastern and southeastern Ukraine that have been the focus of the fighting.
The Kremlin has “nothing to say” about reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to visit Russia, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after U.S. officials told The Post that Kim plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for possible arms negotiations as Moscow seeks to boost its arsenal for the Ukraine war.
Cuba is working to “neutralize and dismantle” a trafficking ring that it said targeted Cubans in Russia and their homeland to fight on behalf of the Kremlin in Ukraine, according to the Cuban Foreign Ministry. The ministry said it has begun criminal proceedings against those involved. The allegations followed a report by Telemundo about two young Cubans who said they were sent to a Russian military unit in Ukraine after accepting construction jobs in Russia.
Kharkiv’s subways are now classrooms as school starts under Russian attacks: Students in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, returned to school this week, but under a threat of airstrikes, the subway system has turned into a maze of makeshift classrooms, Alex Horton, Serhii Korolchuk and Heidi Levine report.
Many classes are now online in Kharkiv. “So officials here launched a voluntary initiative for parents and students who want to learn in a physical classroom to supplement computer-based learning while offering hardened shelter from the bombs,” they write.
Serhiy Morgunov, David L. Stern and John Hudson contributed to this report.