Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walks ahead of a press conference in a city subway under a central square in Kyiv on 23 April 2022 —
Russian forces have now shifted their focus to the offensive in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.
Heavy shelling and fighting have continued in the east and south as Russia’s army attempts to establish control over the region.
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Sunday’s key points:
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- Ukraine’s president says he will meet with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin on Sunday.
Russian shelling of urban areas in the east of Ukraine continued over the Easter weekend, with the death toll in the Luhansk region reaching eight by Sunday morning.
Zelenskyy told the journalists gathered at a Kyiv metro station on Saturday that he would meet with Vladimir Putin if it meant the end of the war.
However, Zelenskyy also emphasised that all negotiations would be over if Russian troops end up killing the besieged Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol.
Moldova summoned the Russian ambassador in protest at a Russian general’s comments that Moscow wants to capture southern Ukraine to gain access to the breakaway region of Transnistria.
Ukrainian officials say Russia has attempted to assault the besieged Azovstal steel mill where the country’s fighters are holding out. Putin previously told Russian forces not to storm the industrial site and instead seal it off.
Russia FM blames Ukraine for halted peace talks, saying «they have put up with their destiny».
At least 594 children have been killed or injured so far due to war in Ukraine, the country’s parliament says.
Two Russian generals killed, one wounded in attack on Kherson command post, Ukrainian army claims
The Ukrainian military said it destroyed a Russian command post in Kherson, a southern city that fell to Russian forces early in the war.
The Ukrainian military intelligence agency posted a statement on Saturday saying the command post was hit on Friday and two generals were killed and one was critically wounded.
Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in an online interview that 50 senior Russian officers were in the command centre when it came under attack. He said their fate was unknown.
The Russian military did not comment on the claim, which could not be independently confirmed.
Russia has pressed its attacks in the eastern Donbas region, intensifying offensive and assault operations toward the cities of Popasna and Siverodonetsk in Luhansk, and Kurakhiv in Donetsk.
Luhansk region Governor Serhiy Haidai said Sunday that eight people were killed and two others were wounded in a Russian barrage Saturday.
The shelling comes as the Russians are pressing their offensive in a bid to gain full control over Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland.
Moscow forces also shelled the Dnipro region west of Donbas, where at least one person was killed by a Russian missile, according to Dnipro regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko.
Russian army continues assault on Mariupol plant
Russian forces have continued to pummel the besieged Azovstal plant, hitting it with airstrikes, including by long-range aircraft, Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesman for the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff, said Sunday.
Russia has been trying to take Mariupol for nearly two months, a city whose capture would deprive Ukraine of a vital port, free up Russian troops to fight elsewhere.
It would also establish a land corridor between the Russia-backed separatists-controlled parts of the Donbas and the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow seized in 2014.
Some 2,000 troops have been fighting tenaciously to hold on to the last remaining Ukrainian outpost in the city, the Azovstal steel plant, which also has civilians taking refuge in its labyrinthine tunnel system.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had given an order not to send troops in but instead to blockade the plant last week, but the assault resumed Saturday after the Ukrainian soldiers refused to surrender.