Ukraine latest: Zelenskyy urges U.S. to keep aid flowing

The war in Ukraine, which broke out in February 2022 with Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, shows no sign of ending as both sides intensify attacks to gain control of contested regions.

Read our latest updates here. For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

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Note: Nikkei Asia decided in March 2022 to suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code. Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Here are the latest developments:

Friday, Sept. 22 (Tokyo time)

4:15 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged U.S. congressional leaders to keep aid flowing to his war-torn nation as some Republican lawmakers call for limiting further assistance.

Zelenskyy is in Washington, where he talked with Senate and House leaders ahead of a meeting with President Joe Biden.

In the meeting with House members, “we discussed the battlefield situation and priority defense needs, including air defense,” Zelenkyy writes on X, formerly Twitter. “I emphasized that a Ukrainian victory will ensure that neither Russia nor any other dictatorship destabilizes the free world again. To win, we must all stand together and work together.”

In a separate post about his meeting with senators, Zelenskyy gives a nod to congressional concerns about how American aid money is spent.

“I hope that the U.S. Congress will continue to take important decisions to provide financial assistance to Ukraine,” he writes. “Oversight, transparency, and accountability for all the aid is absolutely important and imperative.”

In August, the Biden administration asked Congress for an additional $24 billion in aid for Ukraine. This funding proposal is caught up in a broader fight over the federal budget.

American support for Ukraine “is not charity,” says Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the upper chamber’s Republican minority, in a news release after meeting with Zelenskyy. “It’s an investment in our own direct interests — not least because degrading Russia’s military power helps to deter our primary strategic adversary, China.”

Russia is one of the biggest exporters of diesel.

  © Reuters

1:30 a.m. Russia has imposed restrictions on exports of diesel and gasoline to support the domestic market.

Moscow describes the export curbs as “temporary” but does not say how long they will last. Diesel prices in Europe climbed after the announcement on Thursday, the day the ban took effect.

Russia is one of the world’s biggest exporters of diesel. Global crude oil prices were already rising on supply cuts by the OPEC+ group, which includes Russia.

Tass had reported that Moscow was considering such a move to increase supply and reduce fuel prices in the Russian market. This would benefit drivers as well as farmers who rely on diesel to fuel their machinery.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the amount of fuel used by the military, and Russian oil companies have prioritized exports to secure profits, leading to shortages on the domestic market, independent Russian media report.

The export restrictions will not apply to members of the Eurasian Economic Union, a post-Soviet bloc that includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia.

1:00 p.m. The prime minister of Poland has said his country is no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine and is instead arming itself.

Mateusz Morawiecki’s comments on Polish television come amid tensions between the neighbors over Ukrainian grain, which Poland and other Eastern European countries have tried to shut out to protect their own farmers.

Poland has already supplied Ukraine with 320 Soviet-era tanks and 14 MiG-29 fighter jets and has little more to offer, the BBC reports.

12:25 a.m. Japan is planning its first summit meeting with the five countries of Central Asia in 2024, seeking to boost ties with the resource-rich region that China has also been courting.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa confirmed the plans when she met with Kazakh Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan make up Central Asia, a region that is rich in oil, natural gas and gold. Read more.

A worker inspects a residential area damaged after a Russian missile strike on Kyiv, Ukraine on Sept. 21.

  © Reuters

Thursday, Sept. 21

3:00 p.m. Russia launched a massive air attack on the capital Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities on Thursday, injuring at least 18 people and damaging infrastructure facilities across the country, Ukrainian officials say. Blasts were heard in Kyiv and the surrounding region after an air raid alert, according to Reuters. Authorities reported sending rescue teams to several locations in the capital. Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said people were injured in Kyiv, the Cherkasy regions and in the city of Kharkiv in the east during the attack that came early in the morning. “It is a restless morning. Explosions were heard in different regions of Ukraine,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

9:00 a.m. Russian anti-aircraft units destroyed 19 Ukrainian drones over the Black Sea and the annexed Crimean peninsula and three more over other parts of Russia, the Defense Ministry says. “In the night from 20th to 21st September, an attempt by the Kyiv regime to commit a terrorist attack with lethal drones on sites in the Russian Federation was intercepted,” the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app. The ministry report said the three other drones were downed over Kursk, Belgorod and Orlov regions in central and southern Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the United Nations Security Council during a ministerial meeting of the Security Council on the crisis in Ukraine on Sept. 20.

  © Reuters

12:55 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges United Nations reform to stop what he calls Russia’s abuse of the veto power it holds as permanent member of the Security Council.

“The U.N. General Assembly should be given a real power to overcome the veto,” Zelenskyy tells the Security Council, the U.N.’s most powerful body. “This will be the first necessary step.”

“It is impossible to stop the war because all efforts are vetoed by the aggressor,” Zelenskyy says, referring to Russia.

Zelenskyy also says the Security Council’s permanent members needs to be broadened from the current five — the U.S., China, France, Russia and the U.K.

“The composition of the permanent members of the Security Council should reflect the current realities,” he says.

“The African Union must be here permanently. Asia deserves broader permanent representation. It cannot be considered normal when nations like Japan, India, or the Islamic world, remain outside the permanent membership of the Security Council.”

12:40 a.m. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says he has accepted an invitation from his Chinese counterpart to visit China in October during the Belt and Road summit. Read more.

Wednesday, Sept. 20

2:30 p.m. Relations between Russia and Iran have reached a new level despite opposition from much of the Western world, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during his visit to Tehran on Wednesday. “We are aiming at an entire range of planned activities, despite opposition from the United States and its Western allies,” the Interfax news agency cited Shoigu as saying. “Sanctions pressure on Russia and Iran shows its futility, while Russian-Iranian interaction is reaching a new level.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 19.

  © Reuters

3:50 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy implores world leaders gathered at the U.N. General Assembly to stand united against Russia’s invasion and says Moscow has to be pushed back so the world could turn to solving pressing global challenges.

“Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after the Russian aggression, no one in the world would dare to attack any nation,” he says. “The occupier must return to his own land.”

12:49 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden appeals to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly to stand with Ukraine against Russia.

“Russia alone bears responsibility for this war,” he says. “Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately.”

Tuesday, Sept. 19

9:30 p.m. Ukraine appeals to three neighboring European Union countries to engage in “constructive dialogue” to end a dispute over agricultural trade, and approves a “compromise scenario.” Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced restrictions on imports from Ukraine on Friday after the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on sales into Ukraine’s five EU neighbors, which also include Romania and Bulgaria. A World Trade Organization spokesperson confirms that Ukraine has taken the first step in a trade dispute by filing a complaint to the global body.

9:25 p.m. Ukraine tells the United Nations’ highest court in The Hague that Russia justified its war against the country by invoking “a terrible lie” that Moscow’s invasion was to stop an alleged genocide. “The international community adopted the Genocide Convention to protect. Russia invokes the Genocide Convention to destroy,” Ukraine’s representative Anton Korynevych tells judges. He calls on the International Court of Justice to decide that it has jurisdiction to hear the case fully and eventually rule that Russia must pay reparations.

A Ukrainian serviceman operates a drone during a training session in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region in August.

  © Reuters

2:48 p.m. Ukraine’s air defense systems destroyed 27 out of 30 drones and one Iskander ballistic missile that Russia launched on Ukraine’s territory in the early hours of Tuesday, Ukraine’s air force said on the messaging platform Telegram. The Iranian-made Shahed drones were destroyed in Ukraine’s southern, central and western regions, while the missile was launched in the direction of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, it said.

6:21 a.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has completed his visit to Russia and passed through the North’s border station of the Tumangang Railway Station early on Monday, state media reported on Tuesday. The rare weeklong trip included talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on closer military and other cooperation. The visit “further deepened the comradely fellowship and friendly ties” with Putin and “opened a new chapter of the development” of relations between North Korea and Russia, KCNA news agency said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly this week. (Handout photo from the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service)

  © Reuters

4:06 a.m. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will meet Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Brazil’s presidential office says.

Zelenskyy is scheduled to visit Washington afterward as well. Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he will meet the Ukrainian leader this week.

2:40 a.m. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has met with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow to discuss a possible visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin for October’s Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

This would be the first meeting between the two leaders since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Russia in March and would mark Putin’s first visit to China since the Beijing Olympics in February 2022.

Wang is visiting Russia until Thursday at the invitation of Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s National Security Council and a close ally of Putin’s. Read more.

12:24 a.m. The commander of Ukrainian ground forces says the recent recapture of the eastern villages of Andriivka and Klishchiivka has enabled Kyiv’s troops to breach Russian lines near the devastated city of Bakhmut.

“These settlements, at first glance small, were important elements in the enemy’s defensive line which stretched from Bakhmut to Horlivka,” Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi says on the Telegram messaging app, referring to a town about 40 kilometers from Bakhmut. “As a result of our troops’ successful actions, the enemy’s defensive line — which it tried to close by throwing all available reserves into battle — was breached.”

Sunday, Sept. 17

10:16 p.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heads for home by train, Russian news agencies report, after a weeklong visit to Russia that included talks with President Vladimir Putin on closer military and other cooperation.

The trip by Kim, who seldom leaves his country, signifies that “a fresh heyday of friendship and solidarity and cooperation is being opened up in the history of the development of the relations between the DPRK and Russia,” North Korean state news agency KCNA says, using the initials for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol calls any such military partnership “illegal and unjust,” saying the international community would “unite more tightly” to cope with deepening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, in written responses to The Associated Press.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves as he boards his train outside Vladivostok in Russia’s Primorsky region on Sept. 17. (Government of Russia’s Primorsky Krai/via Reuters)

  © Reuters

8:00 p.m. Canada will contribute 33 million Canadian dollars ($24.5 million) to a British-led partnership that is buying air defense equipment for Ukraine to help the country fend off Russian missile and drone attacks, Defence Minister Bill Blair says. The partnership aims to buy hundreds of short- and medium-range air defense missiles and associated systems.

Canada, home to one of the world’s largest Ukrainian diasporas, is a vocal supporter of Kyiv. Since Russia invaded in February 2022, Ottawa has committed over CA$8 billion in aid, including around CA$1.8 billion in military assistance.

For earlier updates, click here.


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