US to host meeting aimed at providing more military assistance to Ukraine

The United States is to host a meeting of the "Ukraine Contact Group" aimed at providing the country with more military assistance as Russian forces intensify their offensive in eastern Ukraine.

The meeting will take place in the Belgian capital of Brussels on Wednesday. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin plans to meet Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov at the gathering.

Ahead of the meeting, Ukraine's presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on social media that his country needs 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks, 1,000 drones and other heavy weapons.

Russian forces continue fierce attacks with the aim of taking full control of the eastern region of Luhansk.

The region's stronghold of Severodonetsk is at risk of being encircled after the Russians destroyed all three bridges leading to the city center, cutting off possible evacuation routes for civilians.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said in a post on Tuesday that shelling continues, destroying factories and causing deaths and injuries.

The British defense ministry has released its latest assessment of the conflict, saying that Russia's main operational effort remains focused on the assault on Severodonetsk.