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Steel plant under siege; Zelenskyy prepares for US officials


Nepalnews
2022 Apr 24, 11:00, Kyiv
Valentyna Sherba, 68, stands next to a Russian tank in the backyard of her father's home, both destroyed, in the aftermath of a battle. Photo: AP

Russian forces tried to storm a steel plant sheltering soldiers and civilians in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced he would meet Sunday in his nation’s capital with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Zelenskyy in a news conference gave few details about the logistics of his upcoming encounter with Blinken and Austin but said he expected results — “not just presents or some kind of cakes, we are expecting specific things and specific weapons.”

It would be the first high-level U.S. trip to Kyiv since before the war began on Feb. 24. While visiting Poland in March, Blinken stepped briefly onto Ukrainian soil to meet with the country’s foreign minister. Zelenskyy’s last face-to-face meeting with a U.S. leader was Feb. 19 in Munich with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Russia’s effort in Mariupol is aimed at crushing the last pocket of resistance in the city, a place of deep symbolic and strategic value to Moscow. Completing its capture would give Russia its biggest victory yet, after a nearly two-month siege reduced much of the city to a smoking ruin.


Ambulance workers help an injured Ukrainian serviceman to move to a hospital in Donetsk region.
Photo: AP
Ambulance workers help an injured Ukrainian serviceman to move to a hospital in Donetsk region. Photo: AP

In attacks on the eve of Orthodox Easter, Russian forces also pounded cities and towns in southern and eastern Ukraine.

A 3-month-old baby girl was among eight people killed when Russia fired cruise missiles at the Black Sea port city of Odesa, officials said. Zelenskyy said 18 more were wounded. The Ukrainian news agency UNIAN said the baby’s mother, Valeria Glodan, and grandmother also were killed, citing social media posts from the baby’s father and others.

“The war started when this baby was 1 month old. Can you imagine what is happening?” Zelenskyy said. “They are just bastards. ... I don’t have any other words for it, just bastards.”

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

The command post was hit on Friday, killing two generals and critically 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.

The fate of the Ukrainians in the sprawling and besieged seaside steel mill in Mariupol, where Russia says its forces have taken the rest of the city, wasn’t immediately clear.

A Ukrainian military unit on Saturday released a video reportedly taken two days earlier in which women and children holed up underground, some for as long as two months, said they longed to see the sun.

“We want to see peaceful skies, we want to breathe in fresh air,” one woman in the video said. “You have simply no idea what it means for us to simply eat, drink some sweetened tea. For us, it is already happiness.”

READ ALSO:

Russian forces VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY Lloyd Austin Weapons Kyiv Kamala Harris Ukraine Mariupol
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