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KYIV — U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said on February 20 that she is fully confident that Congress will approve additional funding for Ukraine but that it is not possible to predict when it will happen.

“I am 100 percent — 1,000 percent — sure that we will continue to support you in this,” Brink told journalists on February 20 in Kyiv.

Live Briefing: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

RFE/RL’s Live Briefing gives you all of the latest developments on Russia’s full-scale invasion, Kyiv’s counteroffensive, Western military aid, global reaction, and the plight of civilians. For all of RFE/RL’s coverage of the war in Ukraine, click here.

A critical $61 billion aid package has been stalled in Congress for months over political differences, despite warnings from President Joe Biden that failure by the Republican-led House of Representatives to authorize it would play into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands.

“This is a very political issue that I cannot predict. But I can say that we all present the most compelling arguments why it is necessary, why this is not an open-ended request, why it is really important for you to succeed not only on the battlefield but also to have economic security and independence,” Brink said.

She said she has spoken with House Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican-Louisiana) and knows that he supports Ukraine and “understands the importance of Russia losing the war.”

Brink said Biden and all the U.S. diplomats working on the matter are pushing hard to move it forward as quickly as possible.

“My message is this: You can’t waste time, you can’t waste a single day, not a single hour, not a single second. People die here every day,” she said, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s comments over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference about the lack of weapons and the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the city of Avdiyivka.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly video message on February 19 that delays in weapons deliveries had made the fight “very difficult” along parts of the front line and that Russian forces are taking advantage of the delays in weapons deliveries.

Putin on February 20 congratulated his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on capturing Avdiyivka and urged him to press Russia’s advantage.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said he and Oleksandr Syrskiy, commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, discussed the situation at the front and ammunition supplies in a phone call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Syrskiy “gave updates on the current dynamics on the front line,” Umerov said on Facebook. “The common understanding of the situation and the action plan were discussed. The ammunition supply was in focus as well.”

WATCH: In NATO, the United States can boast of an alliance that neither Russia nor China enjoys, says NATO’s secretary-general. In an interview with RFE/RL in Brussels on February 20, Jens Stoltenberg said it is in Washington’s interest to keep it that way, regardless of the outcome of the coming U.S. presidential election. He spoke to Zoriana Stepanenko of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service.

On February 20, Sweden announced its biggest aid package since Russia launched its full-scale invasion two years ago — worth 7.1 billion Swedish kroner ($684 million). Sweden’s 15th aid package to date will provide Ukraine with combat boats, mines, artillery ammunition, and air-defense equipment among other supplies, Defense Minister Pal Jonson said at a press conference in Stockholm.

Canada said a day earlier that it would expedite the delivery of more than 800 drones.

The announcements came as Russian drones killed more Ukrainian citizens and damaged private property.

Two people were killed and one was injured in the Kharkiv region on February 20 when a Russian drone hit a civilian car, said Oleg Synyehubov, head of the regional military administration.

The attack by a “kamikaze” drone occurred around 4:50 p.m. local time in the village of Petropavlivka. There were three passengers in the car — a 38-year-old civilian driver and a 50-year-old civilian man, who died on the spot, and a 48-year-old woman, who was taken to a hospital, Synyehubov said on Telegram. The woman is the wife of the 50-year-old man.

According to Synyehubov, all three were local farm workers returning home after work.

Earlier on February 20 in the northern Ukrainian region of Sumy, a Russian drone struck a house, killing five members of the same family, the regional administration said.

A mother, her two sons, and two other relatives died as a result of the strike in Nova Sloboda, a village about 6 kilometers from the Russian border. The house was completely destroyed, Ukrainian officials said.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office in Kyiv announced a war crimes investigation.

WATCH: After withdrawing from Avdiyivka, Ukrainian units are scrambling to build new defensive positions west of the city.

The Ukrainian military dismissed a statement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Moscow’s forces had secured full control over the village of Krynky on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region.

A statement on Telegram by the Ukrainian military’s southern district said Russian forces had made no headway on the eastern bank.

Russian troops abandoned the western bank of the Dnieper in the Kherson region in late 2022 but remain in areas on the eastern bank. Ukrainian forces captured some districts on the eastern bank last November.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa

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