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  • Writer's pictureThomas Cole

US gives Ukraine $800m in military assistance

NATO to also step up support, on day Zelensky pleads US congress for a no-fly zone

The US President, Joe Biden, announced a further $800m worth of military assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday, following a powerful plea to Congress by Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military assistance includes 9000 anti-armour systems, 800 anti-aircraft systems, machine guns, shotguns, grenade launchers and ammunition. Mr Biden stated that this week alone the US had already provided Ukraine with $1bn in military aid.

In making this latest commitment, Mr Biden said that this was "a struggle that pits the appetite of an autocrat against humankind's desire to be free."

He added that "Let there be no doubt, no uncertainty, no question: America stands with the forces of freedom."

"This is a struggle that pits the appetite of an autocrat against humankind's desire to be free" US President Joe Biden

Watch: US President, Joe Biden, announces additional military assistance for Ukraine.

Zelensky once again calls for a "no-fly" zone over Ukraine

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Zelensky, in a video address to both Houses of US Congress, had once again asked for a no-fly zone to be imposed in Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky made a powerful call for help, which referenced Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. He ended in English with a direct plea to Joe Biden, "Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace", Mr Zelensky said.

Watch: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky plea for peace to Joe Biden

Mr Zelensky's address included a 2 minute long video highlighting the horrors of the war in his country, ending with the message of "Close the skies above Ukraine."

As with recent addresses to the European, UK and Canadian Parliaments, Mr Zelensky was greeted with a standing ovation.

Republicans call for MiG fighter jets to be given to Ukraine

Following his address, members of the Republican party in particular called for further US military assistance.

In a reference to the recent failed attempt to supply the Ukrainians with planes from the Polish airforce, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said "Put an end to this. Give them the MiGs".

NATO to provide Ukraine further military & humanitarian support

Separately on Wednesday, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to increase military and humanitarian support to Ukraine.

They also called for a bolstering of their own defences on land, air, sea, cyber and in space.

Addressing reporters at the end of the meeting, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, stated "We face a new reality for our security: We must re-set our collective defence and deterrence for the longer term."

Watch: NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, announces further support for Ukraine

"We face a new reality for our security: We must re-set our collective defence and deterrence for the longer term." NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg

International Court of Justice orders Russia to cease military operations

Also on Wednesday, the International Court of Justice ruled against Russia in a case brought by Ukraine over Russia's allegation that the invasion was a pretext to prevent a genocide against Russian speakers in the east of the country.

In a preliminary ruling, the Court voted by 13-2 for Russia to suspend its military operations. The dissenting judges were from Russia and China.

Russia had claimed that the Court did not have jurisdiction on this issue but the Court's verdict is binding on both Russia and Ukraine. However, it is unlikely that Russia will follow today's ruling.

After the ruling Ukrainian President Zelensky tweeted "Ukraine gained a complete victory in its case against Russia...Ignoring the order will isolate Russia even further".

Council of Europe expels Russia

Elsewhere, in a busy day of international reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Council of Europe, expelled Russia from its organisation.

The Russian flag was taken down from outside the organisation's headquarters in Strasbourg. Russia had already announced it was leaving yesterday morning, prior to a vote by the organisation's parliamentary body to formally expel the country.

IEA predicts bleak outlook for oil supply as Fed raises interest rates to 0.5%

The war in Ukraine is also continuing to have an impact on western economies. In its latest

Oil Market report, the International Energy Agency stated that western sanctions on Russia could lead to a shortfall of 3m barrels of oil per day in the coming months.

The organisation expected that the accompanying oil price rises would have a "marked impact on inflation and economic growth."

This announcement came prior to the US Federal Reserve raising interest rates by 0.25 percentage points to 0.5% in order to calm high US inflation.

In its announcement, the Fed stated that "In the near term the invasion and related events are likely to create additional upward pressure on inflation and weigh on economic activity."

Ukraine to remain high on western agenda as leaders meet in Brussels next week

The consequences of the war in Ukraine are likely to remain high on the agenda of European and world leaders in the coming days.

On Thursday next week, NATO leaders will be meeting in Brussels. Later the same day, US President, Joe Biden, will meet with his EU counterparts at a European Council summit.

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