Support for Ukraine outside the US Capitol as the Senate approves $60.8 billion in military aid to Kyiv, April 23, 2024 (AP)

Tuesday’s Coverage: Kyiv to Receive Long-Range US Missiles

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Dmitry Safronov, the priest who oversaw a memorial service for the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has been suspended for three years by the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

Safronov held the memorial service at Navalny’s gravesite in Moscow on March 26, marking 40 days since the opposition leader’s death in a Siberian prison.

An order on the website of the Moscow diocese demoted Safronov from priest to psalm-reader, stripping him of the right to give blessings or to wear a cassock for the next three years.

No reason was given for the decision, signed by Kirill.


Russian Defense Minister Timur Ivanov has appeared in a Moscow court to face charges of bribe-taking (see 0611 GMT).

Ivanov, wearing his military uniform, appeared behind a glass cage as he was formally arrested and indicted. He was remanded in custody for two months in the high-security Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. He faces 15 years behind bars if convicted.

Ivanov has been a confidant of Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu across different agencies for more than a decade.

“It is hard to find an official who has done more for Shoigu than Ivanov,” said a former defense official who worked directly with the minister. “This is an attack on Shoygu’s standing. But Shoigu has weathered other storms before.”


Ukraine’s State security service SBU has confirmed that its drone attacks struck two oil depots (see 0632 GMT), owned by Russian oil company Rosneft, in Russia’s Smolensk region, according to a Ukrainian intelligence official.

The official said the depots contained 26,000 cubic meters of fuel. The attack caused large fires and evacuation of personnel.

Ukraine reportedly faced pressure from the US Government to halt operations because of the effect on global oil prices and the possibility of Russian retaliation. An April 2 attack on a refinery in Tatarstan, 1,200 km (744 miles) inside Russia, was the last one until earlier this week.

“The SBU continues to effectively destroy military infrastructure and logistics that provide fuel to the Russian army in Ukraine,” the source said. “These facilities are and will remain our absolutely legitimate targets.”

Citing sources, the Kyiv Independent said Rosneft “lost two storage and pumping bases for fuel and lubricants in Yartsevo and Razdorovo in Smolensk oblast”.

Smolensk Governor Vasily Anokhin insisted, “The fire is localized. There is no threat of its spread beyond the facilities.”


At least six people were injured in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv by Russian missile strikes early Wednesday.

The attack damaged three residential buildings, two offices, three non-residential buildings, a gas pipeline, and 33 cars in the city center.


One of the Kremlin’s leading propagandists, Russia State TV host Vladimor Solovyov, is not taking the news of the $60.8 billion in US aid for Ukraine very well.


A Moscow court has extended the detention of US citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich to the end of June.

Gershkovich was seized by Russian security forces at the end of March 2023 in the city of Yekaterinaburg, as he worked on stories about local reactions to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to the mercenary Wagner Group.

He has been charged with espionage and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Gershkovich responded to Tuesday’s hearing with a thumbs-up in the courtroom.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has emphasized the necessity of getting military aid to the frontline quickly, as well as pursuing political and economic measures to resist Russia’s 26-month invasion.


Russian troops have again attacked the port city of Odesa in southern Ukraine with missiles.

A 43-year-old woman has been hospitalized in moderate condition, The head of the regional military administration, Oleg Kiper, said about 30 buildings were damaged by the blast wave.

Part of the city is without electricity.


Russia State censor Roskomnadzor is blocking 150 virtual private network services.

Rozkomnadzor official Yevgeny Zeitsev announced the bans during a speech in Moscow on Tuesday. He said denial of access to websites and social media posts advertising VPNs began March 1.

The official claimed Roskomnadzor has blocked about 700 sites advertising VPNs and about 200,000 sites accused of spreading false information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Moldova’s authorities have confiscated more than $1 million from Kremlin-linked opposition politicians at the airport in the capital Chisinau.

The authorities said the money, taken overnight on Monday, was probably intended to pay “protesters” and voters. Law enforcement officers conducted more than 150 searches, mostly at the Chisinau airport and in homes, after receiving a tip.

The opposition politicians were returned from a Sunday meeting in Moscow which created the pro-Russian Moldovan Victory electoral bloc.

The bloc is led by Ilan Shor, who reportedly paid demonstrators to protest against Moldovan President Maia Sandu in 2022. His Shor Party is being investigated for bribing voters during a regional gubernatorial election last year.

Shor, sanctioned by the US and European Union over his efforts to “destabilize” the Moldovan Government, now lives in Israel and frequently travels to Moscow.


A Ukrainian drone attack has reportedly set energy and fuel facilities on fire in Russia’s Smolensk region.

Smolensk Governor Vasily Anokhin announced the attacks on the area in western Russia early Wednesday. Footage on social media claimed to show a burning oil terminal in Yartsevo.

No casualties have been reported.


Russia Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov has been detained.

The Russian Investigative Committee reported the detention on Tuesday. It said only that he is suspected of taking an especially large bribe. If convicted, Ivanov faces up to 15 years in prison.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Russian news agencies, said that a report had been presented to Vladimir Putin and that Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu was informed in advance of the detention.

Ivanov, 48, is one of 12 Deputy Defense Ministers. He was sanctioned by both the US and the European Union soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In 2022, Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation reported that Ivanov oversaw and profited from construction projects in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, overrun that spring after 12 weeks of Russian bombing, ground attacks, and siege.

The investigation found Ivanov divorced his wife to allow her to bypass the EU sanctions.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The US Senate has passed a bill including $60.8 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine.

The measure was adopted 79-18 on Tuesday. The total of $95 billion also includes $26.3 billion in military assistance for Israel and humanitarian funds for Palestinians in Gaza, and $8.1 billion in aid to Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region.

The assistance to Ukraine includes includes $23.2 billion to replenish US weapons, stocks and facilities and $11.3 billion for US military operations in the region, including the training of Ukrainian troops.

Officials said on Tuesday that the first $1 billion military aid package is being prepared. It includes vehicles, Stinger air defense munitions, additional ammunition for HIMARS rocket systems, 155-mm artillery ammunition, TOW and Javelin anti-tank munitions, and other weapons for the frontline.

The bill also provides more economic assistance through “forgivable loans”.

“Standing Resolutely for Democracy and Freedom v. Tyranny and Oppression”

Minutes after the vote, US President Joe Biden assured that he would sign the bill into law “and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week”.

Congress has passed my legislation to strengthen our national security and send a message to the world about the power of American leadership: We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.

The Senate had adopted a similar package in February, but a 6 1/2-month blockade by Trumpists and hard right Republicans in the House was only overcome on Saturday.

Ukraine War, Day 788: US House Agrees $60.8 Billion in Military Aid for Kyiv

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer proclaimed “one of the greatest achievements” by the chamber “in years”:

Today the Senate sends a unified message to the entire world: America will always defend democracy in its hour of need.

Make no mistake, America will deliver on its promise to act like a leader on the world stage, to hold the line against autocratic thugs like Vladimir Putin. We are showing Putin that betting against America is always, always a grave mistake.

Schumer said House Speaker Mike Johnson — who shifted his position to stand against the Trumpists and hard-right Republicans who helped put him in his post — “rose to the occasion”. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had worked “hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder to get this bill done”.

“A lot of people inside and outside the Congress wanted this package to fail,” Schumer noted. “But today those in Congress who stand on the side of democracy are winning the day.”

McConnell, who is stepping down as the top Republican in the chamber, said:

Today’s action is overdue, but our work does not end here. Trust in American resolve is not rebuilt overnight. Expanding and restocking the arsenal of democracy doesn’t just happen by magic.

He chided those who had effectively assistaed Russia’s 26-month invasion by blocked the assistance, beginning with former Fox TV polemicist Tucker Carlson.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy responded to the passage of the bill: