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Blinken and Austin meet with Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukrainian presidential adviser says: Live Ukraine updates

Written by on April 24, 2022

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Protection Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv Sunday evening, in line with Ukraine’s presidential adviser.

The adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, stated in an interview on Ukrainian TV late Sunday that the talks are happening “proper now.” Blinken and Austin’s assembly with Zelenskyy is the highest-ranking go to to Ukraine by a U.S. delegation since Russia started its invasion.

Zelenskyy stated Saturday stated he had plans to satisfy with Blinken and Austin, however didn’t share any particulars. 

Blinken and Austin met final month with Ukrainian Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Ukrainian Minister of Protection Oleksii Reznikov in Warsaw, Poland, on the margins of President Joe Biden’s journey to Europe. The 2 additionally toured Ukraine’s border with Poland.

Throughout that go to, the 2 Biden cupboard secretaries mentioned follow-ups to the March 24 NATO Summit in Brussels, and america’ “unwavering dedication to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the face of the Russian Federation’s more and more brutal assault on Ukrainian cities and civilian inhabitants,” State Division spokesman Ned Worth stated.

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Newest developments:

►French President Emmanuel Macron cruised to a second time period Sunday, beating again a stronger-than-expected problem from far-right populist Marine Le Pen, who has attacked the European Union and NATO and expressed support for Russia.

►Talking in St. Peter’s Sq., Pope Francis lamented the “barbarity” of the conflict. “It’s unhappy that today, that are the holiest and most solemn for all Christians, we hear the lethal noise of weapons relatively than the sound of bells asserting the Resurrection,” the pope stated. “It’s unhappy that arms are taking the place of phrases.”

►The Group for Safety and Co-operation in Europe stated it’s “extraordinarily involved” that a number of mission members are being held in jap Ukraine. The Vienna-based company stated it’s utilizing “all out there channels to facilitate their launch” however didn’t specify the variety of folks being held or who was holding them.

►Russian missile and artillery troops hit 423 targets in Ukraine in a single day as a part of the particular army operation, Russian Protection Ministry Spokesman Main-Basic Igor Konashenkov stated Sunday. He stated 26 Ukrainian command posts, 367 “locations of the amassment of manpower and army gear” and 25 gun strains have been hit.

Worshippers light candles at the Saint Volodymyr's Cathedral during Orthodox Eastern celebrations in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 24, 2022.

French priest investigates ‘horrific’ Russian conflict crimes

A French priest is investigating alleged, “horrific” Russian conflict crimes within the southern Ukraine metropolis of Mariupol and warns that outcome might present worse brutality than what was found within the city of Bucha.

“Each Ukrainian is now a witness to the horrific crimes of the Russian Federation,” Father Patrick Desbois says on the web site of his group, Yahad-In Unum. “You probably have witnessed Russian troops shelling a peaceable neighborhood or destroying civilian infrastructure, your testimony will probably be very useful within the investigation.”

Desbois, who guarantees anonymity, is thought for his investigations of the mass shootings in Jap European nations – together with Ukraine – occupied by Nazi Germany throughout World Conflict II. He advised The Washington Post he believes Mariupol “will probably be worse than Bucha,” the place lots of of residents have been apparently massacred throughout Russia’s assault on and occupation of town.

Desbois advised the Washington Post he doesn’t consider there may be sufficient proof but to label Russian habits as “genocide,” as President Joe Biden has stated.

“Sadly, it should depend upon what occurs subsequent,” he advised The Publish.

Ukraine celebrates Easter hoping ‘our dawn will come quickly’

Ukrainians marked Orthodox Easter within the capital, Kyiv, on Sunday with prayers for these combating on the entrance strains within the Donbas area and others trapped in cities similar to Mariupol. However President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians to not let anger on the conflict overwhelm them.

“All of us consider our dawn will come quickly,” he stated.

The Jap Orthodox church follows the Julian calendar, first proposed by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, relatively than the Gregorian calendar adopted by Catholic Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. This implies the holiday typically falls later than Easter Sunday in Western Christian custom.The deputy commander of the nationalist Azov Regiment, which has been battling separatists within the Donbas since 2014, recorded a video handle chastising the Russian army for failing to look at the holy day. 

“The enemy continues to drop air bombs, ship artillery fires, weapons are fired,” Captain Sviatoslav Palamar stated.

Mariupol ‘virtually worn out’ however Ukraine army hanging on

The southern Ukraine metropolis of Mariupol is “virtually worn out,” however a prime adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied Sunday that Russia controls the beleaguered metropolis.

Igor Zhovkva advised NBC Information’ “Meet the Press” that weapons delivered by the U.S. and its allies up to now have been what the nation must struggle Russia, but it surely now additionally wants weapons to defend its skies. Noting NATO has declined to imposed a “no-fly” zone over the nation, Zhovkva stated Ukraine wants anti-missile methods and anti-aircraft methods “as a result of each day and nightly Ukraine cities are bombarded by the cruise missiles.”

Zhovkva denied the Russian declare that it controls your complete metropolis, now believed to be dwelling to about 100,000 remaining civilians. However he stated the Russians management a part of it.

“Ukrainian armed forces are nonetheless on the town,” he stated. “They’re concentrated now primarily on the Azovstal metal plant. And they’re concentrated there along with the civilians. And most of the Ukrainian troopers are wounded.”

He criticized the U.N. secretary common’s request to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, saying he was not licensed to talk on behalf of the Ukrainian authorities

“This isn’t a good suggestion to journey to Moscow. We don’t perceive his intention to journey to Moscow and to speak to President Putin.”

Austrian opposition to Ukraine membership in EU ‘shortsighted’

The Austrian overseas minister’s feedback that Ukraine shouldn’t be supplied membership within the European Union is drawing stiff criticism within the besieged nation. Austrian Overseas Minister Alexander Schallenberg stated he helps nearer ties between Europe and Ukraine wanting full membership. One choice can be permitting Ukraine to affix the EU’s financial zone, he stated.

“We’re disillusioned with the statements of the Austrian Federal Overseas Minister on Ukraine’s European future,”  Ukraine Overseas Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko stated Sunday. “We take into account them strategically short-sighted and never within the pursuits of a united Europe.”

Bipartisan assist for brand spanking new Ukraine support bundle

Lawmakers on each side of the aisle stated they’d stand behind one other $800 million in support to Ukraine unveiled by President Joe Biden final week. The help bundle contains heavy artillery weapons, tactical drones and extra financial assist.

“If President Biden asks for more cash to be able to assist Ukraine, both militarily or for humanitarian reduction, then I’ll assist him in that, and I consider all the Democrats will,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., advised “CNN SOTU” host Dana Bash on Sunday.

Republican Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz additionally expressed enthusiasm for the help bundle whereas talking to Bash from Kyiv. However the Ukrainian-American stated she hasn’t seen how humanitarian support from the Biden administration has helped on the bottom in Ukraine.

“I have not seen them do even humanitarian missions. Nothing is going on right here. So, I believe they do want extra safety help, however we additionally must ask some questions,” she stated. “What’s occurred with one other $10 billion that we supplied? As a result of I have not seen it on the bottom wherever in any respect.”

Kharkiv feels wrath of Russian invasion

Whereas the world mourns the battering taken by Mariuspol, 260 miles to the north town of Kharkiv has quietly been overwhelmed by Russian artillery. The overwhelming majority of Kharkiv’s 1.four million residents have fled. Mayor Ihor Terekhov says Russia is “furiously bombing” his metropolis as shells and rockets proceed to smash Kharkiv’s historic heart and residential areas in probably the most intense assaults outdoors Mariuspol. Mayor Ihor Terekhov says Russia is “furiously bombing” his metropolis, that an estimated 2,000 high-rise buildings have been destroyed.

Oleksandr Zuiev 46, stated he by no means believed Russian forces would goal civilians – and by no means anticipated his personal residence to come back beneath hearth.

“I used to be fallacious,” Zuiev advised the Kyiv Independent. “It’s nonetheless arduous to consider that that is occurring within the 21st century.”

US official: Russia has ‘already misplaced’

Deputy nationwide safety adviser Jon Finer stated Sunday that from the U.S. perspective, Russia “has already misplaced” in Ukraine, noting the various methods Russian President Vladimir Putin has not achieved his targets.

“They’ve supposed to divide the West. They’ve resulted in a West and a NATO alliance that’s far more united than it is ever been,” he stated. “They thought that they’d unsettle and undermine and perhaps even overthrow the Ukrainian authorities. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is firmly entrenched in energy and Ukrainian democracy continues.”

Finer stated Russia is extra remoted on the earth, its financial system is weaker, and its army is “failing at just about each considered one of their preliminary goals. And our goal goes to be to proceed that pattern.”

He additionally wouldn’t affirm that there’s proof of a brand new mass grave within the embattled metropolis of Mariupol however stated such an allegation “is wholly in line with the whole lot that we have seen Russia doing and it ought to cease.”

Zelenskyy, Turkish president converse forward of Erdogan talks with Putin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated he spoke by cellphone Sunday with Turkish President Erdogan, sooner or later earlier than Erdogan was scheduled to satisfy with Putin.

“I confused the necessity for quick evacuation of civilians from Mariupol, together with Azovstal, and quick change of blocked troops,” Zelenskyy stated. He stated the lads additionally mentioned the peace talks course of, methods to ensure safety for Ukraine and international meals provide points broken by the conflict.

On Saturday, Turkish officers stated Ankara will shut Turkish airspace to Russian civilian and army flights between Russia and Syria. However Turkey, a NATO member that has good relations with Russian and Ukraine, has balked at becoming a member of the West in its robust financial sanctions towards Russia.

British intelligence: Ukrainian resistance robust in Donbas

Ukraine repelled quite a few Russian assaults within the Donbas final week, the British Protection Ministry reported Sunday. Russia did make some territorial features, however Ukrainian resistance was robust “throughout all axes” and inflicted vital price on Russian forces, the intelligence report stated.

“Poor Russian morale and restricted time to reconstitute, re-equip and reorganize forces from prior offensives are possible hindering Russian fight effectiveness,” the report stated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has steadfastly maintained that the conflict goes in line with plan.

Russia rejects issues that it’s going to use chemical, nuclear weapons

The US is getting ready to falsely accuse the Russia of utilizing chemical, organic, or tactical nuclear weapons, a prime Russian army chief says. Chief of Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Organic Safety Pressure Igor Kirillov stated the alleged plan is a response to Russia’s success in its “particular operation” in Ukraine – Russia has refused to explain its invasion as a conflict. Western intelligence officers had warned that Russia may resort to internationally banned weaponry if its invasion continues to face setbacks. 

“In March-April of this 12 months alone, the management of Western nations repeatedly made provocative statements about the potential for Russia utilizing weapons of mass destruction,” he stated.

Ukrainian officers: 6 lifeless in Russian strike on Black Sea port metropolis of Odesa

At the very least six folks have been killed, together with a 3-month-old toddler, in a Russian strike within the Black Sea port metropolis of Odesa, Ukrainian officers stated Saturday.

“The conflict began when this child was 1 month previous. Are you able to think about what is going on?” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated. “They’re simply bastards. … I don’t have another phrases for it, simply bastards.”

Russia’s firing of cruise missiles on the area got here on the eve of Orthodox Easter. 

“Nothing sacred,” stated Andriy Yermak of the president’s workplace on Telegram.

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Contributing: The Related Press