News Wrap: Ukraine’s first lady appeals directly to Congress for more aid

In our news wrap Wednesday, Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska appealed directly to the Congress for more weapons and financial support, Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied rockets to blast a bridge critical to Russia, the UN says Afghanistan has seen some 700 killings since the Taliban seized power, and Sri Lankan lawmakers chose the prime minister to be president despite calls for his ouster.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied rockets to blast a bridge that's critical to Russian troops in the south.

    The span crosses the Dnipro River connecting to the port at Kherson. That city is controlled by the Russians, and the bridge is key to their supply flow. The attack left the bridge riddled with holes. Cars were still able to cross, but local officials said trucks and heavy military vehicles would have to detour.

    Ukraine's first lady appealed directly to the U.S. Congress today for additional weapons and financial support. Olena Zelenska spoke at the U.S. Capitol, giving graphic accounts of Russian missile strikes. She also welcomed billions of dollars in U.S. military aid so far, but said Ukraine needs even more.

    Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine (through translator): You help us, and your help health is very strong. While Russia kills, America saves. And you should know about it. We thank you for that. But, unfortunately, the war is not over. The terror continues.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Later, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced plans to send more high-tech rocket systems to Ukraine. They can strike targets 50 miles away.

    The United Nations says that Afghanistan has seen some 700 killings since the Taliban seized power nearly a year ago. The report says that most were carried out by the Islamic State group, but it also finds that overall security has improved. At the same time, it highlights a crackdown on press freedoms and on women's right to education. The Taliban today called the findings baseless and propaganda.

    The turmoil in Sri Lanka took a new turn today, as lawmakers chose the prime minister to be president, despite demands for his ouster. The Indian Ocean nation is reeling from economic collapse and severe shortages. Protesters gathered today outside the presidential office in Colombo. They insisted the new leader is no better than the one who fled last week.

  • Kasumi Ranasinghe Arachchige, Activist:

    I think it's a sad day, though. It's a sad day, not just for the people of this country, but for all of the world, I guess, because it seems that the entire world is sort of accepting this most unethical manner of leadership, because this is someone who did not win — win an election.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The new president had already imposed a state of emergency. He appealed today for unity.

    Back in this country, former President Trump's pick for governor of Maryland has won Tuesday's Republican primary. Far right state legislator Dan Cox easily defeated a more moderate rival backed by outgoing Governor Larry Hogan, a longtime Trump critic. The Democratic primary winner won't be known until mail-in ballots are tallied.

    And on Wall Street, stocks advanced for a second day, as another round of upbeat earnings reports came in. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 47 points to close at 31874. The Nasdaq rose 184 points, 1.5 percent. The S&P 500 added 23 points.

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