Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would meet senior US officials in kyiv on Sunday as heavy fighting continued in the east and south of the country over Ukraine’s Easter weekend.
The White House has yet to confirm the visit, which Zelensky said would include US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
As a new day dawns in the capital, here’s what you need to know.
Planned visit: Zelensky said he “expects specific things and specific weapons” from world leaders visiting the country, after announcing he would meet Blinken and Austin in Kyiv on Sunday. The potential visit would be the first by senior US officials since the start of the war. The White House declined to comment on the potential trip.
Odessa toll: At least eight people have died, including a three-month-old baby, following Russian missile strikes on the southwestern port city of Odessa, Zelensky said on Saturday, condemning the attack that took place a day before many Ukrainians celebrate the Easter holiday.
Humanitarian crisis: An evacuation corridor from the besieged southern city of Mariupol was “thwarted” by Russian forces on Saturday, according to a Ukrainian official. Ukrainian officials said more than 100,000 people remained in the bombed city, which the Russian government claims to control. Ukrainian fighters continue to hold their ground in the massive Azovstal steelworks, where civilians have sheltered for weeks and supplies are running out.
The map of Moscow: Russia has revealed that the aim of its invasion was to take “full control” of southern Ukraine as well as the eastern region of Donbass and to establish a land corridor linking Russia to Crimea, the peninsula that it annexed in 2014. A British Ministry of Defense briefing on Saturday said Russian forces had made no major gains in the past 24 hours in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks.
Forced deportations: Ukrainian officials claimed on Saturday that Russia was forcibly deporting some Mariupol citizens to Primorsky Krai in Russia’s Far East region, some 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles) from Ukraine. In early April, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk estimated that some 45,000 Ukrainian citizens had been forcibly deported to Russia since the start of the war.
Civil conscription: Ukrainian intelligence has also accused Russia of planning the conscription of Ukrainian civilians from occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, according to a British military intelligence update on Saturday. It would be in breach of international law, the UK Ministry of Defense said.