Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday that his country was looking for "three victories" from its Western allies, including the passage of two military aid packages — by the United States and the European Union — and the formal start of talks to join the European bloc.
"We need three victories. The first one is the victory with U.S. Congress. It's a challenge, it's not easy, but Ukraine is doing everything," Zelenskyy told a news conference in Kyiv.
President Joe Biden has proposed billions of dollars in new assistance for Ukraine, but the funding was not included in a stopgap measure Congress passed this month.
Some Republican lawmakers oppose approving more aid for Ukraine, but a majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress still support the additional aid.
In a statement Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken appealed to lawmakers to support Biden's latest funding request for Ukraine military aid.
"Helping Ukraine defend itself ... helps prevent larger conflict in the region and deters future aggression, which makes us all safer," Blinken said.
Zelenskyy said the second "victory" needed abroad was that "we need the help from the EU on the 50 billion-euro package," and "the third is to open a dialog about our future membership."
The European Union recently announced a 50 billion-euro package for Ukraine, but it has not yet been approved and is facing opposition by Hungary. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has also said he is opposed to launching EU membership talks with Kyiv.
Zelenskyy made the comments at a joint news conference in Kyiv with Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics, who expressed optimism that the EU aid package for Ukraine would eventually pass.
In Moscow, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Friday that it viewed Moldova's decision to join EU sanctions against it as a hostile step.
"We regard this as yet another hostile step by the Moldovan leadership, which is fully integrated into the anti-Russian campaign of the 'collective West,'" the ministry said in a statement.
"Its aim is the complete destruction of Russian-Moldovan relations," it said.
Moldova's parliament agreed to the sanctions against Russia on Friday, part of the country's bid to eventually join the European Union.
Russia's Justice Ministry said Friday that former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who later became a critic of the Kremlin, had been added to a registry of foreign agents.
Kasyanov served as prime minister for the first four years of Putin's administration but was fired in 2004.
He later became a prominent opposition figure, and after leaving the country in 2022, he criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The foreign agent law has been used against opposition figures and independent news media. It requires those designated as foreign agents who publish information to prominently label that the material comes from a foreign agent.
The Russian Defense Ministry said its missile defenses downed 13 Ukrainian drones over Crimea and three more over the Volgograd region early Friday.
Ukrainian officials did not comment on the Russian report.
Also Friday, officials in Ukraine said Russian forces were escalating their attacks on the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka.
Russia has been trying to capture the city since mid-October, in a brutal battle that has drawn parallels to the fight for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which Russia eventually captured after months of intense fighting.
The city sits on the front line five kilometers from Donetsk, the Russian-controlled capital of the region, one of four regions Moscow said it annexed from Ukraine.
The British Defense Ministry said Friday in its daily intelligence update on the war that Russia continued to face "mass casualties from Ukrainian long-range precision strikes well behind the front line."
The ministry said that on November 10, more than 70 Russian troops were probably killed in a strike on a truck convoy 23 kilometers behind the front line in Hladkivka, a village in Kherson oblast. Then, the ministry said, a November 19 strike on an award ceremony or concert in Kumachove, 60 kilometers behind the lines, probably caused "tens" of casualties.
Ukraine, though, has suffered similar casualties, the update said, adding that a Russian missile killed 19 members of a Ukrainian brigade at a medal ceremony November 3.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.