New updates on Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine

## Ukraine’s military pushes Russian forces out of Vovchansk

Ukraine’s military reported on Wednesday that it had “partially pushed the enemy forces out of the settlement” of Vovchansk, a town in the Kharkiv region that has been a focal point of recent battles. The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces stated in a Google-translated Telegram post that they repelled attacks from Russia and managed to push them out of parts of the town. There were three combat clashes in the Kharkiv region on Wednesday, along with two strikes from Russian aircraft. However, reports could not be independently verified by CNBC. Vovchansk has been highly contested since Russia’s offensive began earlier in the month, with conflicting updates from both Russia and Ukraine, causing uncertainty about the situation on the ground.

## U.S. pledges additional military funding for Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the U.S. would provide Ukraine with an additional $2 billion in military funding to support its defense efforts against Russia. The funds, part of a first-of-its-kind defense-enterprise fund, aim to provide essential weapons, boost Ukraine’s defense-industrial base, and facilitate the purchase of military equipment. Blinken emphasized the urgency of providing ammunition, armored vehicles, missiles, and air defense systems to bolster Ukraine’s defenses. Additionally, a security agreement between the U.S. and Ukraine is expected to be signed in the coming weeks, marking a significant milestone in their cooperation.

## Portugal supports tougher sanctions against Russia

Portugal’s new government expressed its support for ramping up sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The Environment and Energy Minister stated that the government is aligned with the European Union’s energy policies and is in favor of strengthening sanctions to pressure Russia to end the conflict. The European Commission is expected to propose restrictions on Russian liquefied natural gas, including a ban on trans-shipments in the EU. Portugal’s stance reflects a united front within the EU to impose stricter measures against Russia.

## Russia claims control of three more settlements in Ukraine

The Russian defense ministry announced that its forces had seized control of three additional settlements in Ukraine, including Lukyantski and Hlyboke in the Kharkiv region, and another in Zaporizhzhia. Russian forces reportedly advanced into the enemy’s defense in the Kharkiv region and engaged in combat clashes. The situation in the Kharkiv region has escalated since Russia’s offensive, resulting in territorial gains and heightened tensions in the area. However, developments on the ground could not be independently verified by CNBC.

## President Zelenskyy postpones foreign visits

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy instructed the postponement of all scheduled international events due to the ongoing developments in the Kharkiv region. The decision comes as Russian forces continue their advance and pose a threat to the region. Zelenskyy’s planned visits to Spain and Portugal were put on hold to focus on addressing the situation in Ukraine. The president remains vigilant and responsive to the evolving crisis, ensuring the safety and security of the country’s citizens.

These recent updates highlight the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with both sides actively engaged in military operations and diplomatic efforts to address the crisis. The international community, including the U.S., Portugal, and France, is showing solidarity with Ukraine by providing military support and advocating for tougher sanctions against Russia. The situation in the Kharkiv region remains volatile, with conflicting reports on the ground, underscoring the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

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