Members of Biden’s Cabinet Meet with Zelensky
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the weekend.
From The Wall Street Journal. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Sunday, an adviser to the Ukrainian president said, in the highest-level visit by U.S. officials to Ukraine since the start of the war.
Oleksiy Arestovych, a senior adviser to Mr. Zelensky, said in a late-night video the U.S. officials had met with the Ukrainian president. The meeting, which the U.S. hasn’t confirmed, follows similar trips from the leaders of other countries and diplomats, as Washington and its allies step up efforts to help Ukraine defend itself.
Mr. Arestovych didn’t provide additional details about the meeting, but Mr. Zelensky said during a news conference on Saturday that he expected to discuss military assistance with the visiting U.S. officials, as Russian forces build up for an offensive in eastern Ukraine….
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Sunday it had destroyed a gunpowder and explosives factory in Pavlohrad, a city near the eastern Donbas area where Russian troops are focusing their offensive, as well as four weapons depots in the Kharkiv region.
Ukraine’s southern operational command said Sunday its forces had recaptured eight settlements in the southern region of Kherson, most of which is occupied by Moscow. Russian advances on the towns of Oleksandrivka, Tavri and Mykolaivka were also beaten back by Ukrainian artillery, it said in a statement….
Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia is planning to conduct a referendum in May on establishing a “Kherson People’s Republic” along the lines of the Donetsk and Luhansk statelets in the east, which Moscow created in 2014….
Mr. Zelensky said no further negotiations would be held with Moscow if the referendum went ahead, or if Russia killed any more of the unknown number of civilians and fighters who are holed up in a steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol….
A senior Russian military commander said last week that Moscow aimed to control all of southern Ukraine from Mariupol in the east to Moldova’s Transnistria region, where he said Russian-speakers suffer from discrimination.
That would secure a land corridor to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014, and deny Ukraine access to the sea.
On Saturday, two Russian missiles hit an unspecified military asset and two residential buildings in Odessa, killing eight people, including a mother and child, in the deadliest attack inside the city since the war began, according to Odessa Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov….
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(Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal. Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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