Zelensky to meet top US officials in Ukraine | CBC News

Russian forces have called for airstrikes on a besieged steel factory in the southern city of Mariupol to try to dislodge the last Ukrainian troops holding out in the strategic port, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday, while President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would meet in kyiv with two senior American officials. officials

Zelensky gave few details on the logistics of his talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on what was the 60th day since Russia invaded Ukraine. . But he told reporters that he expected results: “not just gifts or some kind of cake, we expect specific things and specific weapons.”

The visit would be the first to Kyiv by high-level US officials since the invasion began on February 24. While visiting Poland in March, Blinken briefly set foot on Ukrainian soil to meet with the country’s foreign minister. Zelensky’s last face-to-face meeting with an American leader was on February 19 in Munich with Vice President Kamala Harris.

The meeting took place as Ukrainians and Russians observed Orthodox Easter, an occasion on which Zelensky highlighted the allegorical significance during his late-night address to the people of his country after nearly two months of war.

‘Life will conquer death’

“There will be a Resurrection. Life will defeat death. The truth will defeat any lie. And evil will be punished,” he said. “And Russia will have to learn these truths again, it’s only a matter of time.”

Russia has been trying to take Mariupol for nearly two months, and the city on the Sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčAzov has suffered some of the worst deprivation of the war. Its capture would deprive Ukraine of a vital port, free Russian troops to fight elsewhere and establish a land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow seized in 2014.

Some 2,000 soldiers have been fighting tenaciously to hold the last remaining Ukrainian outpost in the city, the Azovstal steel plant, which also has civilians sheltering in its labyrinthine tunnel system.

Russian forces continued to pummel the plant, hitting it with air strikes, including long-range aircraft, Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesman for the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on Sunday.

Mariupol has been blockaded for most of the war. Ukrainian authorities have said they expect to find thousands of dead civilians and evidence of war crimes there when the fighting ends. Satellite images have shown what appear to be mass graves dug up in towns to the west and east of Mariupol.

In the past day, Russia has also stepped up its attacks elsewhere in the eastern Donbas region, where Moscow-backed separatists controlled some territory before the war and the Russians aim to gain full control of Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland.

Ukraine has repelled numerous attacks: UK

Shtupun said Russian forces have intensified their assault operations towards the cities of Popasna and Siverodonetsk in Luhansk and Kurakhiv in Donetsk. Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said on Sunday that eight people were killed and two others wounded in a Russian shelling on Saturday.

The Russians have also bombed the Dnipro region west of Donbas, where at least one person was killed by a Russian missile, according to regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko.

Russia withdrew forces from Ukraine’s capital kyiv and the country’s north to fuel the Donbas offensive, but Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had repelled numerous attacks in the past week.

A family from Myrne, a town currently occupied by Russian forces, waits to register with police at an evacuation point for people fleeing Mariupol, Melitopol and surrounding Russian-held towns on April 23. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

“Despite Russia making some territorial gains, Ukrainian resistance has been strong on all axes and inflicted a significant cost on Russian forces,” the ministry said in an intelligence update.

“Low Russian morale and limited time to reconstitute, re-equip and reorganize forces from previous offensives are likely to hamper Russian combat effectiveness,” he said.

The Ukrainian military said on Saturday it had destroyed a Russian command post in Kherson, a southern city that fell to Russian forces earlier in the war.

2 more Russian generals killed, says Ukraine

The command post was attacked on Friday, killing two generals and seriously wounding another, the Ukrainian military intelligence agency said in a statement. The Russian military did not comment on the claim, which could not be confirmed.

If true, at least nine Russian generals have been killed since the beginning of the invasion, according to Ukrainian reports.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian National Guard’s Azov Regiment, which has members holed up at the Mariupol steel plant, released a video of some two dozen refugee women and children there. Its contents could not be independently verified, but if authentic, it would be the first video testimony of what life has been like for civilians trapped underground there.

The video shows soldiers giving candy to children who respond by bumping their fists. One girl said that she and her relatives had “seen neither the sky nor the sun” since they left home on February 27.

The deputy commander of the regiment, Sviatoslav Palamar, told the AP that the video was taken on Thursday. The Azov Regiment traces its roots to the Azov Battalion, which was formed by far-right activists in 2014 at the start of the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine and has drawn criticism for some of its tactics.

More than 100,000 people, down from the pre-war population of around 430,000, are believed to remain in Mariupol with little food, water or heating. Ukrainian authorities estimate that more than 20,000 civilians have been killed in the city.

Yet another attempt to evacuate women, children and elderly people from Mariupol failed on Saturday. Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said Russian forces did not allow Ukrainian-organized buses to take residents to Zaporizhzhia, a city 227 kilometers to the northwest.


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