Zelenskyy to meet with US officials in Kyiv on Sunday

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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
  • Video released by Ukraine’s National Guard shows part of a group holed up in a steel plant in Mariupol. Women and children sheltered underground, with some of them hiding in the plant’s tunnels for up to two months. Ukrainian officials say some 1,000 civilians remain trapped at Azovstal.
  • Kharkiv’s regional governor says two people were killed and 19 more wounded by Russian shelling. Over the past day, he said, Russian forces fired at the region’s civilian infrastructure 56 times. In the city of Popsana, two people were killed.On Friday, three civilians died and seven more were injured in shelling attacks in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
  • Another mass grave was found outside Mariupol that could hold the bodies of at least 1,000 Mariupol residents.
  • Five people, including a three-month-old infant, were killed in a missile attack in the Black Sea port city of Odesa
  • Russian forces are continuing “offensive operations” in eastern Ukraine, with the goal of defeating Ukrainian troops. In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces repelled eight Russian attacks in two regions, according to officials. Russian troops continue to blockade Ukrainian units in the area of the Azovstal steelworks.

(NewsNation) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Saturday that he plans to meet with two top U.S. officials Sunday in Kyiv.

The meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin marks the highest-level meeting between two nations since the war began.

Zelenskyy said that he would discuss the kinds of weapons that Ukraine needs to battle Russia’s invasion.

The White House declined to comment on Saturday.

A video released by Ukraine’s National Guard shows women and children holed up in the Azovstal steel plant, some of whom were hiding in the plant’s tunnel for up to two months.

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

One girl said she and her relatives have not seen the sky, nor the sun, since Feb.27, a few days after Russia’s invasion into Ukraine started.

Ukrainian officials said 1,000 civilians remain trapped at the steel plant in Mariupol, with little food, water or heat, and that Russian forces are attacking it.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said during a briefing that the Russian forces have resumed airstrikes on Azovstal and were trying to storm it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, after declaring victory in Mariupol, a strategic port city reduced to smoking rubble by constant bombardment, ordered his forces to seal off the steel plant in an apparent bid to starve out Ukrainians.

As the war in Ukraine continues, more horrific discoveries are being made, including another mass grave found outside Mariupol. Over 20,000 civilians have been killed in Mariupol during the nearly two-month siege.

Mariupol’s city council posted a satellite photo provided by Planet Labs showing what it said was the mass grave, which is 147.64 feet by 82.02 feet and can hold the bodies of at least 1,000 Mariupol residents.

This comes after satellite photos from Maxar Technologies revealed what appeared to be rows upon rows of more than 200 freshly dug mass graves in the town of Manhush earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Russian shelling continues in Ukrainian cities. Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov says two people were killed and 19 more wounded by Russian shelling, and that the city faced Russian forces firing at the region’s civilian infrastructure 56 times.

Popsana was also hit by shelling that killed two people, and on Friday, three people died and seven more were injured in attacks on the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Five people, including a three-month-old infant, were killed in a missile attack in Odesa on Saturday. Russian forces fired at least six cruise missiles at the city.

Efforts to get civilians to safer areas in light of these attacks continued Saturday. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on the Telegram messaging app there will be another attempt to evacuate women, children and the elderly from Mariupol.

Ukraine’s security chief said the main battles happening in the country right now are taking place in Donbas, and that Russia is deploying more and more troops there every day.

Ukraine has a country-wide curfew in place for the night of the Orthodox Easter. In Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson the curfew is set to run from 7 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Sunday. Other regions, such as  Kyiv, Odesa, Chernihiv and Lviv, will be under a curfew from 11 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Sunday.

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