August 14, 2022

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By DAVID KEYTON

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned Sunday evening that the U.S. secretaries of state and protection secretary have been assembly with the Ukrainian chief within the highest-level go to to Kyiv by an American delegation because the begin of Russia’s invasion.

The adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, mentioned in an interview on Ukrainian TV late Sunday that the talks are happening “proper now.”

Zelenskyy’s assembly with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin got here as Ukraine pressed the West for extra highly effective weapons in its struggle towards the Russian invasion, which started 60 days in the past.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows beneath.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed the West for extra highly effective weapons as he ready to satisfy with high U.S. officers within the war-torn nation’s capital Sunday, whereas Russian forces concentrated their assaults on the east, together with attempting to dislodge the final Ukrainian troops within the battered port of Mariupol.

highest-level go to by an American delegation because the begin of the warfare

Zelenskyy introduced the deliberate go to by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin at a information convention Saturday evening in a Kyiv subway station. The White Home has not commented.

Zelenskyy mentioned he was on the lookout for the Individuals to supply outcomes, each in arms and safety ensures. “You possibly can’t come to us empty-handed right this moment, and we predict not simply presents or some sort of muffins, we predict particular issues and particular weapons,” he mentioned.

The go to can be the primary by senior U.S. officers since Russia invaded Ukraine 60 days in the past. Blinken stepped briefly onto Ukrainian soil in March to satisfy with the nation’s international minister throughout a go to to Poland. Zelenskyy’s final face-to-face assembly with a U.S. chief was Feb. 19 in Munich with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Whereas the West has funneled army gear to Ukraine, Zelenskyy has careworn repeatedly that the nation wants extra heavy weapons, together with long-range air protection programs, in addition to warplanes.

In an obvious increase for Ukraine, polling businesses mentioned French President Emmanuel Macron would win reelection over far proper candidate Marine Le Pen. The outcome was hailed by France’s allies within the European Union as a reassuring signal of stability and continued assist for Ukraine. France has performed a number one position in worldwide efforts to punish Russia with sanctions and is supplying weapons programs to Ukraine.

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Zelenskyy’s assembly with U.S. officers was set to happen as Ukrainians and Russians noticed Orthodox Easter, when the devoted have a good time the resurrection of Jesus. Talking from Kyiv’s historical St. Sophia Cathedral, Zelenskyy, who’s Jewish, highlighted its significance to a nation wracked by practically two months of warfare.

“The nice vacation right this moment provides us nice hope and unwavering religion that gentle will overcome darkness, good will overcome evil, life will overcome demise, and subsequently Ukraine will certainly win!” he mentioned.

Nonetheless, the warfare solid a shadow over celebrations. Within the northern village of Ivanivka, the place Russian tanks nonetheless littered the roads, Olena Koptyl mentioned “the Easter vacation doesn’t carry any pleasure. I’m crying so much. We can not overlook how we lived.”

Victor Lobush of Kyiv mentioned Ukraine wants extra weapons and monetary assist, and for Western nations “to not purchase even a drop of the Russian oil.”

“Actions, not phrases, are wanted,” he mentioned on Independence Sq..

The Russian army reported hitting 423 Ukrainian targets in a single day, together with fortified positions and troop concentrations, whereas its warplanes destroyed 26 Ukrainian army websites, together with an explosives manufacturing facility and a number of other artillery depots.

Most of Sunday’s preventing centered on the Donbas area, the place Ukrainian forces are concentrated and the place Moscow-backed separatists managed some territory earlier than the warfare. Since failing to seize Kyiv, the Russians are aiming to achieve full management over the japanese industrial heartland.

Ukraine’s nationwide police mentioned two women, aged 5 and 14, died in shelling within the city of Ocheretyne, a part of the economic area.

Russian forces launched recent airstrikes on a Mariupol metal plant the place an estimated 1,000 civilians are sheltering together with about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters. The Azovstal metal mill the place the defenders are holed up is the final nook of resistance within the metropolis, which the Russians have in any other case occupied.

Zelenskyy mentioned he careworn the necessity to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, together with from the metal plant, in a Sunday name with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s scheduled to talk later with Russian chief Vladimir Putin.

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Zelenskyy adviser Oleksiy Arestovych mentioned Ukraine has proposed talks with Russia subsequent to the sprawling metal mill. Arestovych mentioned on the Telegram messaging app that Russia has not responded to the proposal that would come with establishing humanitarian corridors and the alternate of Russian warfare prisoners for the fighters nonetheless within the plant.

U.N. Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres Guterres is scheduled to journey to Turkey on Monday after which Moscow and Kyiv. Zelenskyy it was a mistake for Guterres to go to Russia earlier than Ukraine.

“Why? Handy over indicators from Russia? What ought to we search for?” Zelenskyy mentioned Saturday. “There are not any corpses scattered on the Kutuzovsky Prospect,” he mentioned, referring to one in all Moscow’s major avenues.

Mariupol has seen fierce preventing because the begin of the warfare as a consequence of its location on the Sea of Azov. Its seize would deprive Ukraine of an important port, release Russian troops to struggle elsewhere, and permit Moscow to determine a land hall to the Crimean Peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Greater than 100,000 folks — down from a prewar inhabitants of about 430,000 — are believed to stay in Mariupol with scant meals, water or warmth. Ukrainian authorities estimate over 20,000 civilians have been killed. Current satellite tv for pc pictures confirmed what seemed to be mass graves to the west and east of Mariupol.

Mykhailo Podolyak, one other presidential adviser, tweeted that the Russian army was attacking the plant with heavy bombs and artillery whereas accumulating forces and gear for a direct assault.

Throughout a Saturday handle to the nation, Zelenskyy accused Russians of committing warfare crimes by killing civilians, in addition to of establishing “filtration camps” close to Mariupol for these attempting to go away town. He mentioned the Ukrainians — lots of them youngsters — are then despatched to areas underneath Russian occupation or to Russia itself, typically so far as Siberia or the Far East.

The claims couldn’t be independently verified. However they have been repeated by Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniya Kravchuk on ABC’s “This Week.”

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“They’ve pulled these folks from Mariupol — they’re put to filtration camps … it’s kind of one thing that may’t be occurring within the twenty first century,” Kravchuk mentioned.

Zelenskyy claimed that intercepted communications recorded Russian troops discussing “how they conceal the traces of their crimes” in Mariupol. He additionally highlighted the demise of a 3-month previous woman in a Russian missile strike Saturday on the Black Sea port of Odesa.

In assaults Saturday, Russian forces pounded cities and cities in southern and japanese Ukraine. The infant was amongst eight folks killed when Russia fired cruise missiles at Odesa, Ukrainian officers mentioned.

Ukrainian information company UNIAN, citing social media, reported that the toddler’s mom, Valeria Glodan, and grandmother additionally died when a missile hit a residential space. Zelenskyy promised to search out and punish these accountable.

“The warfare began when this child was 1 month previous,” Zelenskyy mentioned. Are you able to think about what is going on? They’re filthy scum, there are not any different phrases for it.”

For the Donbas offensive, Russia has reassembled troops who fought round Kyiv and in northern Ukraine. The British Ministry of Protection mentioned Ukrainian forces had repelled quite a few assaults prior to now week and “inflicted vital price on Russian forces.”

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

The religious leaders of the world’s Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics appealed for reduction for Ukraine’s struggling inhabitants.

From Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I mentioned a “human tragedy” was unfolding. Bartholomew, thought of the primary amongst his Jap Orthodox patriarch equals, cited particularly “the 1000’s of individuals surrounded in Mariupol, civilians, amongst them the wounded, the aged, ladies and lots of youngsters.”

Pope Francis, talking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Sq., renewed his name for an Easter truce, calling it “a minimal and tangible signal of a want for peace.”

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Related Press journalists Yesica Fisch in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Mstyslav Chernov and Felipe Dana in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Cara Anna, Inna Varenytsia and Oleksandr Stashevskyi in Kviv and AP employees all over the world contributed.

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Comply with the AP’s protection of the warfare at