Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday night that the country's armed forces are preparing a "countermeasure" to Russia's offensive operations.
"We are analyzing the intentions of the occupiers and are preparing a countermeasure - an even more powerful countermeasure than it's been," he said in his nightly address.
Zelenskyy did not elaborate on what the countermeasures would look like. Since September, Ukraine has retaken some parts of the country seized by Russian forces earlier this year, particularly around the regions of Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson in the south.
Russia has seen some slow gains in eastern Ukraine, however, with fierce fighting continuing around Bakhmut in Donetsk. Pro-Russian separatist leader, Denis Pushilin (the head of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic) claimed earlier this week that Bakhmut was close to being encircled, a claim vehemently denied by a Ukrainian official.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry official Yuriy Sak told CNBC on Wednesday that Bakhmut was "undoubtedly one of the key hotspots at the moment" in the war but claimed Russia was experiencing a "colossal" level of losses there.
Member states will have to decide on EU proposal to create a court to investigate Russian war crimes, UN says
The U.N. said it will let member states decide whether to set up a court to investigate possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
Earlier in the day, the European Union proposed to set up a U.N.-backed court to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine. The EU also proposed using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine.
"The decision to establish a tribunal, with or without the involvement of the United Nations, is a decision that will rest with the [U.N.] member states," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said during a daily press briefing.
"The Secretary‑General is definitely aware that there've been discussions in various forums concerning the possibility of the establishment of an international tribunal in regards to what's going on in Ukraine and in particular, on the issue of the crime of aggression," he said, adding that any further comment on the matter would only be speculation.
— Amanda Macias
Ukrainian defense official speaks next to dud warhead
Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Maliar speaks standing next to a dud warhead imitating a nuclear part of a Kh-55SM strategic cruise missile, which was used by Russian troops during a recent missile attacks on Ukraine.
The Kh-55SM strategic cruise missile can carry nuclear warheads, speakers at the briefing said.
— STR | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Biden, Macron vow to continue to support Ukraine against Russia
U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron in a joint press conference at the White House reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Ukraine against Russia.
"Having the U.S. strongly support the Ukrainians at this time is very important not just for the Ukrainians, but for the Europeans, who we are. This is why we do thank you for the solidarity, for the stability of our world today," Macron said. "Because if we consider that we can abandon the country and abandon the full respect of its principles, it means there is no possible stability in this world."
Macron is visiting the U.S. as a visitor for Biden's first state dinner as president.
Biden said he does not intend to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin any time soon, but he would be willing to if Putin is genuinely interested in ending the war.
"I'm prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he's looking for a way to end the war. He hasn't done that yet," Biden said.
"In the meantime, I think it's absolutely critical, what Emmanuel said: we must support the Ukrainian people," Biden said. "The idea that Putin is ever going to defeat Ukraine is beyond comprehension."
- Emma Kinery
More than 7.8 million Ukrainians have become refugees from Russia’s war, U.N. estimates
More than 7.8 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the U.N. Refugee Agency estimates.
Nearly 5 million of those people have applied for temporary resident status in neighboring Western European countries, according to data collected by the agency.
"The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance," the U.N. Refugee Agency wrote.
— Amanda Macias
Backlog of 74 ships waiting to transport crops from Ukraine
The organization overseeing the export of Ukrainian crops said there is a backlog of 74 vessels waiting to be loaded with cargo.
The U.N.-led Joint Coordination Center also said that about 95 loaded vessels are waiting for inspection in Turkish territorial waters.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports.
Since the deal was signed, more than 510 ships carrying 12.6 million metric tons of grain and other food products have left for destinations around the world.
Kyiv has previously blamed Moscow for holding up inspections and delaying vessel movements.
— Amanda Macias