(Bloomberg) -- Six million consumers in Ukraine are without electricity after Russia's intensive attacks on the country's energy infrastructure, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address.
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The nation needs high-voltage equipment that can be repaired quickly -- transformers as well as generators -- to get through the winter, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told Bloomberg TV earlier in the day.
NATO allies must send main battle tanks to Ukraine as soon as possible, as Ukrainian forces could use them to "revert the situation" on the ground now, while the ground is frozen, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Bloomberg TV at a ministerial meeting in Bucharest.
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On the Ground
The threat of new missile attacks against critical infrastructure all across Ukraine remains, the country's General Staff said in its regular update. Russian forces continue an offensive near Bakhmut in Donetsk region, according to the statement. Each town along the front line in the region has suffered from shelling over the past 24 hours even as Russians failed to push Ukrainian troops away, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said during a video briefing.
(All times CET)
Zelenskiy Presses Germany for Long-Range Patriot System (10:20 p.m.)
Zelenskiy pressed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for the long-range Patriot missile defense system, saying that if his nation provides it "all generations of Ukrainians will thank Chancellor Scholz, as well as the entire generation of modern German politicians."
A Pentagon official said this week that there are no immediate plans for the US to provide the American-made system.
Netanyahu Sees Risk of a Tactical Nuclear Strike in Ukraine (9:57 p.m.)
Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he no longer rules out the possible use of a tactical nuclear weapon as Russia presses its invasion of Ukraine, something he considered unthinkable a year ago.
In the past, Netanyahu told the New York Times Dealbook Summit, "people asked me is it possible that it would deteriorate to tactical nuclear weapons," and his answer was no. "And I can honestly tell you about a year later on, that I think the probability is still low, but I wouldn't rule it out completely."
Ukraine Finding Solutions to Adapt Donated Power Equipment (6:45 p.m.)
Ukraine's power engineers are finding "some technical solutions" to adapt transformers donated by European Union countries to the different specifications used in eastern Europe, Halushchenko, the energy minister, said in his Bloomberg TV interview.
He also said that Ukraine has stored sufficient fuel for portable generators that are in wide use by Ukrainians amid blackouts all over the country from Russian attacks, and he urged the west to provide more such equipment.
Zelenskiy Invites Musk to Ukraine to See Russia's Devastation (6:18 p.m.)
Zelenskiy invited Elon Musk to visit his war-ravaged nation and see for himself the damage wrought by Russia, after the world's richest man floated the idea of a peace deal that would give major concessions to President Vladimir Putin.
Musk played a key role restoring Internet service in Ukraine after the invasion, Zelenskiy told the New York Times Dealbook conference Wednesday, saying "life was maintained" thanks to the deployment of his Starlink satellite communications system.
But sometime later, "it seems that Elon began to change his opinion and we began to hear all kinds of appeals," Zelenskiy said.
Read the full story.
US Says It Fears Russia May Use Biological Weapons (6:04 p.m.)
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has elevated US concern that Putin's government could use biological weapons, according to a top US State Department official who's in Geneva for a review of the global treaty addressing such threats.
"We've always been concerned about their own biological program," Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins said, speaking from the US Mission in Geneva. But those concerns have increased as Russia has continued to make unsupported allegations about US development of biological weapons in Ukraine. Such disinformation could mask Russia's own weaponization of infectious diseases, she said.
"As long as they continue the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine -- staying there and doing what they're doing and making these allegations -- there's always a possibility that they've been using" disinformation as a cover, she said.
Finland Sends Power Grid Components to Ukraine (5:11 p.m.)
Finland's delivery included current transformers, circuit breakers and relays, the government in Helsinki said in an emailed statement. It follows an earlier shipment of 28 current transformers, and officials are putting together a further package including large generators and heating equipment.
Ukraine Embassy in Spain Reports Injury (1:40 p.m.)
A worker at the embassy in Madrid was slightly injured by a letter bomb, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said in a statement. He was able to reach a hospital on his own, according to the statement. Further details weren't immediately available.
Petraeus Expects Negotiated End to War (1:00 p.m.)
Former Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus said he expects the war to end with a negotiated settlement rather than victory for Ukraine.
"Until then, the US, NATO and western allies should do everything possible to enable Ukraine to liberate its country and defend its people and infrastructure against Russian missiles and Iranian drones," Petraeus, who is also a former US general, was quoted as saying by Germany's Tagesspiegel newspaper. The aim should also be to keep Ukraine's economy running "and accelerate Putin's realization that the Russian mission in Ukraine cannot be sustained," he added.
Ukraine 'Will Win' War Against Russia, Top Czech Envoy Says (12:15 p.m.)
Ukraine will be victorious in fending off an invasion based on Putin's imperialistic ambitions, which has stumbled on his miscalculations, a top European diplomat said. "Ukraine will win this war," Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky told Bloomberg TV on the sidelines of the NATO meeting.
The European Union and NATO are united in their stance against Moscow, even if member states have to "work hard to achieve unity" at times, Lipavsky said.
Ukraine Seeks to Use Part of US Financial Aid for Gas Purchase (10:30 a.m.)
Ukraine is seeking to use part of the $500 million financial assistance provided by the US, via the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to purchase natural gas for the winter, Naftogaz said on website.
Naftogaz CEO Oleksiy Chernyshov discussed Ukraine's needs to buy gas and provide electricity, water and heating to Ukrainians with Brian McCauley, a deputy assistant secretary at the US Treasury. Part of a new $1.1 billion support package proposed by the White House can also be spent onr gas, according to Chernyshov.
Dutch Government Calls for More Military Help to Ukraine (9:45 a.m.)
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra urged NATO allies to boost military help to Ukraine. "The war will continue so we need to step up helping the Ukrainian army," Hoekstra told Bloomberg Television on the sidelines of the NATO meeting in Bucharest.
Hoekstra also said allies must respond to what he called "horrific war crimes in Ukraine." He added: "We have to show that justice will be done, through the International Court of Justice and other measures."
EU Proposes Special Court to Probe Russian Actions in Ukraine (9:15 a.m.)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed creating a special international court to probe Russian actions in Ukraine and using frozen Russian assets to help rebuild the nation. The head of the European Union's executive arm said the bloc would try to gather international support for "specialized court backed by the United Nations to investigate and prosecute Russia's crime of aggression."
In a video address posted on Twitter, von der Leyen also said the bloc would "find legal ways" to use money seized from Russia to help fund Ukraine's reconstruction. The EU has blocked €300 billion ($311 billion) in Russian central bank reserves and frozen some €19 billion in assets held by sanctioned Russian businessmen.
NATO Allies Must Send Main Battle Tanks Soon, Lithuania Says (8 a.m.)
Lithuania's top envoy is urging his NATO allies to send Kyiv main battle tanks as soon as possible, as Ukrainian forces could use them to "revert the situation" on the ground now while the ground is frozen.
"If we talk, delay, do not make up our minds and deliver them later in the spring, then they're less useful," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Bloomberg TV's Maria Tadeo on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest.
Asked about whether counter-attacks by Ukrainian forces in Crimea could prove escalatory, Landsbergis said "this is a theory that Putin wants us to believe." He added he hopes allies have learned lessons from dependencies on Russia to not repeat the same mistake with China.
Chinese Support Is Crucial to Pressure Russia on Peace, Italy Says (7:50 a.m.)
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said it's crucial to get support from China to pressure Russia into a peace deal. "At this moment, China is very important for a peace agreement" between Russia and Ukraine, Tajani told reporters on the sidelines of the NATO meeting. Tajani said both China and Turkey "can play a role in restoring peace" in Ukraine.
Sweden Sees Progress in Talks With Turkey on NATO Bid (7:45 a.m.)
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told reporters at the NATO meeting that progress is being made on convincing Turkey to ratify bids by Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance.
"We had a very good meeting with Turkey, there is progress in line," Billstrom said Wednesday, a day after foreign ministers of the three countries met in Bucharest. "Felt progress, moving forward." Billstrom expressed hope for a "fast ratification" by the Turkish parliament but added that no time frame has been set at this point. He confirmed plans for a trip to Turkey soon to hold further discussions on the process.
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