Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he will meet top US officials in Kyiv on Sunday, as heavy fighting continues in the east and south of the country over Ukraine’s Easter weekend.
Zelensky said he was "expecting specific things and specific weapons" from world leaders who come to the country, after announcing that he would meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Kyiv on Sunday.
The White House has declined to comment or confirm the potential trip, which would be the first visit to Ukraine by top US officials since the war broke out.
Here are more of the latest headlines on the Russia-Ukraine war:
- Russian forces continuing attack on Mariupol, Ukrainian commander says in Easter message: In an Easter message, Capt. Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of Ukraine's Azov Regiment, said Sunday that Russian forces were continuing to bombard the city of Mariupol, underscoring the need for evacuation of civilians and encircled Ukrainian forces. "Christ is Risen, dear Ukraine," he said. "Today is a big day but even so, the enemy continues to drop aerial bombs, ships fire artillery, cannons fire, enemy tanks continue to hit, infantry tries to assault."
- White House official says to expect more announcements on US assistance to Ukraine: White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said Sunday to expect more announcements on US assistance to Ukraine "in the week ahead," highlighting the billions of dollars in security aid the US has delivered so far. "We've been announcing deliverables, which is a fancy word for things that we are providing to the Ukrainians, to enable their fight just about every day and if not every day, every week, and we will have more to say about that in the week ahead," Finer said on NBC's "Meet the Press," stressing that US assistance has had a "significant" impact.
- Republican congresswoman urges US to restart diplomatic work in Ukraine: Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz of Illinois, who is the first Ukrainian-born member of Congress, on Sunday urged the US to restart diplomatic work in Ukraine, saying the move would send “a strong message for Ukrainian people.”
- More than 370,000 Ukrainian refugees are in Germany: Germany's federal police has recorded 376,124 refugees from Ukraine to date, according to the country's Interior Ministry. These are predominantly children, women and elderly people, they said in a Sunday tweet.
- International Committee for the Red Cross says they urgently need "humanitarian access" to Mariupol: The International Committee of the Red Cross said that "immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access" to the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol is "urgently needed." In a press release Sunday, the ICRC said it is “deeply alarmed by the situation in Mariupol, where the population is in dire need of assistance.” Russian forces continued to attack the city on Sunday, Ukrainian Capt. Sviatoslav Palamar said in an Easter message.
- Melitopol mayor says Putin wants to "kill all of Ukrainian nation": Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov, who was detained by Russian forces for five days in March, told CNN Sunday that his city is in a "very difficult and dangerous situation." Russian forces occupied Melitopol, in southeastern Ukraine, within days of the invasion beginning, but the city has seen sporadic protests since. A new mayor was installed in the city, which is under Russian military control, after Fedorov was kidnapped. Fedorov was later released as part of a prisoner exchange. He told CNN's Boris Sanchez on "New Day" that Russian President Vladimir Putin's goal was to "kill all of Ukrainian nation," starting by occupying its cities.
- Russia is "trying to depopulate the east of Ukraine," says Zelensky administration adviser: An adviser to President Zelensky's administration said Sunday that Russia was "trying to depopulate the east of Ukraine," amid heavy fighting there. "I think the message they're sending is very clear," Tymofiy Mylovanov told CNN's Isa Soares in Lviv. "If you surrender, like Crimea in 2014, nothing is going to happen to you. If you resist, like Donbas, like the east of Ukraine, you'll be destroyed. (It) doesn’t matter if you're military or civilians. So the message Russia is sending is, 'surrender or be erased.'"
- OSCE says several staff have been detained in eastern Ukraine: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is working to "facilitate the release" of several of its Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) members who have been "deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk," it said Sunday. "The OSCE is extremely concerned that a number of SMM national mission members have been deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk," it said in a statement posted to Twitter. "The OSCE is using all available channels to facilitate the release of its staff." The SMM is an unarmed civilian division of the OSCE, which is tasked with observing and reporting on conflict zones.