Weekly roundup. Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion. Days 698-702

Ukraine has been resisting Russia’s aggression for more than 700 days. The most intense fighting is now taking place around Avdiyivka, in Donetsk region. Early this week it emerged that Russian forces had entered the city and advanced along some streets. The Russians were pushed out of the city, and fighting continues to rage, later reports said. 

Russia continues to target areas behind the front lines. This week, it unleashed massive missile strikes on Kyiv and Kharkiv, and sent a swarm of drones at Odesa. Several waves of Russian missile attacks on Kharkiv on Tuesday killed 10, including a child. 

This week, Ukraine has engaged in intensive diplomacy. A virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group focused on Ukraine support for long haul. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visited Kyiv. Ukrainian Prime Minister Shmyhal said that his meeting with Slovakia’s PM Fico in the border city of Uzhhorod had yielded positive results.

In an address on Ukraine’s Unity Day on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said he had signed a decree on Russia’s territories historically inhabited by Ukrainians. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe unanimously passed a resolution, urging national parliaments to recognize Russia’s deportations of Ukrainian children as genocide.

U.S. Congress nears border deal that would unlock Ukraine aid. Congressional negotiators said a border deal was within reach on Thursday, despite efforts by Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill to derail the talks, according to a piece by The Guardian. The below paragraphs are quoted from the article. 

The outlook for border compromise had appeared grim following reports on Wednesday night that the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, was walking away from a compromise that he suggested could “undermine” Trump’s chances in a November general election against Joe Biden. According to a report in Punchbowl News, McConnell told Republicans in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday night that the “politics on this have changed”.

With Trump as their likely standard bearer, McConnell reportedly indicated that it would be unwise to move forward with a bipartisan immigration deal that could possibly neutralize an issue that has become one of Biden’s biggest potential vulnerabilities.

At the Capitol on Thursday, McConnell told Bloomberg News that the immigration talks were “ongoing”. Later McConnell reportedly assured his confused conference that he was “fully onboard” with the negotiations, and brushed aside reports that suggested otherwise.

The proposal under discussion in Congress would significantly change immigration policy with the aim of discouraging migration, amid a record flow of people arriving at the U.S. southern border. It would include major concessions from Democrats on immigration in exchange for Republican support on passing military assistance to Israel and Ukraine, a country whose cause the party’s far right has turned against.