Live updates | Zelenskyy: Kyiv meeting set with US officials

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s president says he’ll meet Sunday in Kyiv with the U.S. secretary of state and secretary of protection.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke of the plans Saturday throughout a press convention. He didn’t instantly share extra element concerning the go to from Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin.

The White House declined to touch upon Saturday. The U.S. State Department additionally declined remark.

Zelenskyy has for weeks urged Western allies to ship Ukraine extra weapons to counter the Russian invasion.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

Ukrainian counterattacks slowing Russian offensive within the east

— Ukrainian village faces a churchless Easter

— Sanctions hit Russian economy, although Putin says in any other case

— Refugees within the Czech Republic make protective vests for volunteer fighters

— Possible mass graves close to Mariupol proven in satellite tv for pc pictures

UN rights chief sees ‘horror story’ of violations in Ukraine

— Follow all AP tales on Russia’s warfare on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

BERLIN — Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has rejected criticism of his work as a lobbyist for Russian vitality corporations since leaving workplace in 2005, telling the New York Times: “I don’t do mea culpa.”

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In an interview with the newspaper revealed Saturday, Schroeder additionally claims that his long-time good friend President Vladimir Putin of Russia is all in favour of ending the warfare with Ukraine.

Schroeder reportedly blasted German officials who now criticize his efforts to acquire Russian vitality provides for Germany, saying that “all of them went alongside with it for the final 30 years.”

In the interview, he known as the warfare in Ukraine “a mistake” and mentioned atrocities should be investigated, however added that he didn’t imagine Putin himself ordered killings of civilians reminiscent of these allegedly dedicated by Russian troops in Bucha.

Schroeder, who met with Putin in Moscow final month on a personal mission to dealer peace with Ukraine, claimed the Russian president “is all in favour of ending the warfare.”

“But that’s not really easy. There are just a few factors that should be clarified,” the New York Times quoted him saying, with out elaborating.

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s workplace mentioned he promised extra protection weaponry is on the way in which to Ukraine whereas talking with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by cellphone on Saturday afternoon, the most recent chat between the 2 leaders who discuss to one another frequently.

The British chief informed Zelenskyy that the United Kingdom is sending extra weaponry together with automobiles, drones and anti-tank missiles.

Johnson additionally confirmed to Zelenskyy that the U.Okay. would reopen its embassy in Kyiv subsequent week. He additionally up to date the Ukrainian chief on new U.Okay. sanctions designations in opposition to members of the Russian army and informed him the British authorities was serving to to gather proof of warfare crimes.

The two additionally mentioned the U.Okay.’s work on long run safety options and monetary help with worldwide companions.

“The Prime Minister ended by reiterating the UK’s unwavering help for the folks of Ukraine and dedicated to proceed working with worldwide companions to offer the help vital to assist Ukraine defend itself,” Downing Street mentioned in a press release.

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KYIV, Ukraine — An adviser to Ukraine’s president says 5 folks together with a three-month-old toddler had been killed in a missile assault within the Black Sea port metropolis of Odesa.

Ukraine presidential chief of workers, Andriy Yermak, offered the knowledge Saturday.

An adviser to Ukraine’s inside minister earlier mentioned Russian forces fired at the least six cruise missiles on the metropolis.

Anton Gerashchenko mentioned in a Telegram submit on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had been capable of shoot down a number of missiles, however at the least one landed and exploded.

“Residents of the town heard explosions in several areas,” Gerashchenko wrote. “Residential buildings had been hit.”

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HELSINKI — Hundreds of protesters belonging to Latvia’s sizable Russian-speaking group have taken half in a large-scale demonstration within the Baltic nation’s capital, Riga, condemning the Kremlin regime and Moscow’s aggression on Ukraine.

Participants of Saturday’s rally entitled “The Russian Voice Against War” waved Ukrainian flags and posters with inscriptions reminiscent of “Stop the genocide in Ukraine” and “Complete Russian gasoline and oil embargo” on the central Freedom Monument, Latvia’s public broadcaster LSM reported.

Organizers mentioned the protest aimed to exhibit that lots of Latvia’s Russian-speakers usually are not aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a press release, they known as Moscow’s actions “felony.”

Ethnic Russians make up round 25% of the 1.9 million inhabitants in Latvia, a former Soviet republic. Adding different nationwide teams, like Belarusians and Ukrainians, the share of Russian-speakers is about 30% of the all residents.

Earlier this week, Latvia’s Parliament unanimously declared killings of civilians in areas of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces, together with Bucha, Irpin and Mariupol, to be acts of genocide.

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KYIV, Ukraine — A prime Ukrainian official has introduced a country-wide curfew for the night time of the Orthodox Easter.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential workplace, mentioned in a video handle Saturday that within the areas most affected by the invasion — Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson — the curfew will run from 7 p.m. Saturday till 5 a.m. Sunday.

In others areas, together with Kyiv, Odesa, Chernihiv and Lviv, the curfew will run from 11 p.m. Saturday till 5 a.m. Sunday.

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KYIV, Ukraine — An adviser to Ukraine’s presidential workplace says Russian forces are attacking a metal plant that’s the final protection stronghold of Ukrainian forces within the strategic port metropolis of Mariupol.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the top of Ukraine’s presidential workplace, mentioned throughout a briefing on Saturday that the Russian forces have resumed air strikes on Azovstal and had been making an attempt to storm it.

“The enemy is making an attempt to fully suppress resistance of the defenders of Mariupol within the space of Azovstal,” Arestovich mentioned.

Arestovich’s assertion got here two days after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin that the entire of Mariupol, with the exception of Azovstal, had been “liberated” by the Russians.

Putin ordered the Russian army to to not storm the plant and as a substitute to dam it off in an obvious try and stifle the remaining pocket of resistance there.

Ukrainian officials have estimated that about 2,000 of their troops are contained in the plant alongside with about 1,000 sheltering within the facility’s underground tunnels.

Arestovich says the Ukrainian fighters are nonetheless holding on regardless of the resumed assaults and are even making an attempt to counter them.

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LVIV, Ukraine — Lviv regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy has introduced a curfew beginning on Orthodox Easter night time.

Citing “new intelligence,” Kozytskyy mentioned the curfew would run from 11 p.m. Saturday to five a.m. Sunday, after which each day between these hours till additional discover.

“Unfortunately, the enemy doesn’t have such an idea as a serious non secular vacation,” Kozytskyy wrote. “They are so beastly that they don’t perceive what Easter is.”

Kozytskyy mentioned the church management is in help of the choice and that every one church buildings within the area will probably be suspending their Easter night time providers till the morning hours.

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KYIV, Ukraine — A video launched by the Azov regiment of Ukraine’s National Guard, a part of a gaggle at present holed up within the Azovstal metal plant in Mariupol, exhibits girls and youngsters sheltering underground. Some of them have been hiding within the plant’s tunnels for as much as two months.

“We need to see peaceable skies, we need to breathe in contemporary air,” mentioned one lady within the video that was launched on Saturday. “You have merely no thought what it means for us to easily eat, drink some sweetened tea. For us it’s already happiness.”

Another younger lady within the video says she and her kinfolk left dwelling on Feb. 27. Since then, they’ve seen “neither the sky, nor the solar.” “We actually need to get out of right here safely, in order that nobody will get harm,” the lady pleads.

Azov’s deputy commander Sviatoslav Palamar informed the AP the video was shot on Thursday. Contents of the video couldn’t be independently verified.

According to Ukrainian officials, some 1,000 civilians, together with girls and youngsters, stay trapped at Azovstal collectively with the Ukrainian troops holed up there.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov says two folks had been killed and 19 extra wounded by Russian shelling.

Synehubov mentioned on the messaging app Telegram on Saturday that over the previous day Russian forces fired on the area’s civilian infrastructure 56 instances.

Kharkiv, which is close to the entrance strains, has confronted repeated shelling from Russian forces.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Efforts to evacuate civilians to safer areas will proceed in Ukraine on Saturday, the nation’s officials mentioned.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk mentioned on the Telegram messaging app there will probably be one other try and evacuate girls, kids and the aged from the strategic port metropolis of Mariupol, which has been besieged by Russian forces for weeks and decreased largely to smoking rubble by fixed bombardment.

The Kremlin earlier this week declared that Mariupol has been “liberated,” with the exception of the Azovstal metal mill, the final pocket of resistance the place Ukrainian troops are holed up.

Vereshchuk mentioned that “if every little thing goes in response to plan,” the evacuation in Mariupol will start at noon on Saturday. Many earlier makes an attempt to evacuate civilians from the town have failed.

The governor of the japanese Luhansk area, Serhiy Haidai, mentioned on Telegram that an evacuation practice will depart Saturday from the japanese metropolis of Pokrovsk. Residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, which comprise Ukraine’s industrial heartland often known as Donbas, will be capable to take the practice freed from cost.

It will convey them to the Western metropolis of Chop close to Ukraine’s border with Slovakia and Hungary, in response to Haidai.

Russia has mentioned that establishing full management over the Donbas, a big a part of which has been within the arms of Russia-backed separatists since 2014, is at present one of many fundamental targets of its operation in Ukraine.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai says that two folks had been killed by Russian shelling within the metropolis of Popasna.

Haidai mentioned Saturday on the messaging app Telegram that residential buildings within the area had been shelled 12 instances the day past, and Popasna “bought essentially the most” of it.

“In addition to the truth that avenue preventing continues within the metropolis for a number of weeks, the Russian military continually fires at multistory residential buildings and personal homes. Just yesterday, native residents withstood 5 enemy artillery assaults…. Not all survived,” Haidai wrote.

He added that some homes had been additionally destroyed in Lysychansk and Novodruzhesk.

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KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukraine army’s General Staff says that Russian forces proceed their “offensive operations” in japanese Ukraine with the objective of defeating Ukrainian forces, establishing full management over the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, and securing “a land route between these territories and the occupied Crimea.”

Ukrainian forces previously 24 hours repelled eight Russian assaults within the two areas, destroying 9 tanks, 18 armored items and 13 automobiles, a tanker and three artillery programs, the General Staff mentioned on its Facebook web page on Saturday morning.

Russian forces proceed to partially block and shell Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest metropolis, and are lively within the space of Izyum, the replace mentioned.

In the strategic port metropolis of Mariupol, Russian troops “proceed to blockade” Ukrainian items within the space of the Azovstal steelworks, the final remaining stronghold, and “launch air strikes on the town, together with with the usage of long-range plane,” the submit mentioned, including that an engineering unit arrived to Mariupol as a way to demine the port infrastructure.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Another mass grave has been discovered exterior Mariupol, the town council and an adviser to the mayor mentioned Friday.

The metropolis council posted a satellite tv for pc picture offered by Planet Labs displaying what it mentioned was a mass grave 45 meters (147.64 ft) by 25 meters (82.02 ft) that might maintain the our bodies of at the least 1,000 Mariupol residents.

It mentioned the brand new reported mass grave is exterior the village of Vynohradne, which is east of Mariupol.

Earlier this week, satellite tv for pc images from Maxar Technologies revealed what gave the impression to be rows upon rows of greater than 200 freshly dug mass graves within the city of Manhush, positioned to the west of Mariupol.

The discovery of mass graves has led to accusations that the Russians try to hide the slaughter of civilians within the metropolis.

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KYIV, Ukraine — At least three civilians died and 7 extra had been injured in shelling assaults within the Donetsk area in japanese Ukraine on Friday, as Russian forces proceed to roll into the nation’s industrial east, the governor of the area mentioned in a Telegram submit.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko blamed the deaths of “three extra peaceable residents” in a small city and two villages on Russian shelling.

In a separate Telegram submit earlier, Kyrylenko mentioned that as of Friday afternoon, Russians had opened hearth at 20 settlements within the area and destroyed or broken 34 civilian infrastructure amenities.

Also on Friday, the native prosecutor’s workplace within the northeastern area of Kharkiv mentioned in a Telegram submit that charred our bodies of two residents had been found close to the town of Izyum that very same day. The submit accused Russian troopers of torturing the residents and burning their our bodies.

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will convene a meeting subsequent week in Germany of protection officials and army leaders from greater than 20 nations to debate Ukraine’s instant and long-term protection wants.

The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, mentioned Friday that about 40 nations, together with NATO members, had been invited and that responses are nonetheless arriving for the session to be held Tuesday at Ramstein air base. He didn’t determine the nations which have agreed to attend however mentioned extra particulars will probably be offered in coming days.

The meeting comes as Russia gears up for what is predicted to be a serious offensive in japanese Ukraine.

The agenda will embrace an up to date evaluation of the Ukraine battlefield in addition to dialogue of efforts to proceed a gentle movement of weapons and different army assist, Kirby mentioned. It will embrace consultations on Ukraine’s post-war protection wants however will not be anticipated to think about adjustments within the U.S. army posture in Europe, he mentioned.

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The Russian Defense Ministry mentioned Friday that one serviceman died, 27 extra went lacking and 396 had been rescued after a fireplace on the flagship missile cruiser Moskva final week.

The assertion comes every week after the vessel sunk.

Shortly after the incident, the ministry mentioned your complete crew of the ship, which was presumed by the media to be about 500 folks, had been rescued. The ministry didn’t provide an evidence for the contradicting studies.

Ukraine mentioned it hit the cruiser with a missile strike.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s safety chief mentioned Friday that the primary battles within the nation are going down within the Donbas, the commercial heartland within the east, with Russia deploying an increasing number of troops each day.

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, informed The Associated Press that over 100,000 Russian troops are at present preventing in Ukraine, together with mercenaries from Syria and Libya.

Some of Russia’s elite army items have left the strategic Ukrainian port metropolis of Mariupol, which was declared “liberated” by the Kremlin on Thursday, and are actually transferring to the east of the nation to take part within the preventing there, Danilov mentioned.

Danilov mentioned a nighttime helicopter supply introduced weapons to Mariupol’s metal mill, the final stronghold of Ukrainian forces within the metropolis. He urged Ukraine’s Western companions to hurry up the supply of weapons to his nation.

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