Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would meet top US officials in Kyiv on Sunday, as fierce fighting continued in the east and south of the country over Ukraine’s Easter weekend.
The White House has not confirmed the visit, which Mr. Zelensky said on Saturday would include US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Here’s what you need to know.
Planned visit: Zelensky said he was “expecting concrete things and specific weapons” from world leaders to the country, after announcing he would meet Blinken and Austin in Kyiv on Sunday.
The White House declined to comment on the potential trip, which would be the first visit to Ukraine by top US officials since the outbreak of war.
Steel mills attacked: Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Russian forces “repeatedly attacked” the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on Easter Sunday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced earlier this week that Russian forces had “liberated” Mariupol, but ordered his forces to halt their capture of the Azovstal factory, the last major bastion of Ukraine’s defense forces. in the city.
Podolyak said the Russian Federation “should think about the remnants of its reputation”, urging Russia to declare an Easter armistice in Mariupol, open an evacuation corridor and agree on a “round of negotiations” special” to exchange military force in the city.
Ukraine successfully “repels” many Russian attacks in the Donbas: Ukraine has “repulsed multiple Russian attacks along the lines of communication in the Donbas this week”, the British Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence update on Sunday.
“Despite some territorial gains by Russia, Ukrainian resistance remains strong on all axes and poses significant costs to Russian forces.” Review continueswithout clarifying whether the resistance is led by the Ukrainian armed forces or by civilian groups.
Moscow’s plan: Russia disclosure the goal of the invasion was to gain “full control” of southern Ukraine as well as Eastern Donbas region and establish a land corridor connecting Russia with Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014.
Humanitarian crisis: Evacuation corridor from the besieged southern city of Mariupol “obstructed” by Russian forces on Saturday, according to a Ukrainian official. Ukrainian officials say more than 100,000 people remain in the shelled city, which the Russian government claims control. Ukrainian fighters continued to hold out in the city’s huge Azovstal steel mills, where civilians could sheltered for weeks and supplies are running out.
Forced Expulsion: Ukrainian officials announced on Saturday that Russia forced to deport some citizens of Mariupol to Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East, about 8,000 km (4,970 mi) from Ukraine. In early April, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereschuk estimated that about 45,000 Ukrainian nationals have been deported to Russia since the war began.
Civil obligations: Ukrainian intelligence has also accused Russia intends to enlist in the Ukrainian civilian army from the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, according to an update of UK military intelligence on Saturday. A statement from the British Ministry of Defense said this would violate international law.