Ukraine Says Russia Is Sending Ukrainians In The Besieged City Thousands Of Miles Away To Primorsky Krai, In Russia’s Far East

Ukraine Says Russia Is Sending Ukrainians In The Besieged City Thousands Of Miles Away To Primorsky Krai, In Russia’s Far East

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4 min agoIt’s 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know.Firefighters work to extinguish a fire on a warehouse amid Russian bombardments in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 23. (Felipe Dana/AP)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he will be meeting with top US officials on Sunday in Kyiv, as heavy fighting continues 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 breaks in the capital, here’s what you need to know.

Expected visit: Zelensky said he was “expecting specific things and specific weapons” from world leaders who visit the country, after announcing that he would meet with Blinken and Austin in Kyiv on Sunday. The potential visit would be the first from top US officials since the war broke out. The White House declined to comment on the potential trip.

Odesa toll: At least eight people are dead, including a three-month-old baby, following Russian missile strikes on the southwestern port city of Odesa, Zelensky said Saturday, condemning the attack which took place a day ahead of when 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 have said more than 100,000 people still remain in the bombarded city, which the Russian government claims to control. Ukrainian fighters continue to hold out in the city’s massive Azovstal steelworks, where civilians have sheltered for weeks and supplies are running low.

Moscow’s plan: Russia revealed the goal of its invasion is to take “full control” of southern Ukraine as well as the eastern Donbas region and to establish a land corridor connecting Russia to Crimea, the peninsula 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: Ukraine officials claimed on Saturday 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, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereschuk estimated some 45,000 Ukrainian citizens had been forcibly deported to Russia since the war began.

Forced conscription: Ukrainian intelligence has also accused Russia of planning to conscript Ukrainian civilians from the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, according to a Saturday UK military intelligence update. This would be in violation of international law, the UK Ministry of Defense statement said.

16 min agoUkrainian military says it hit 17 air targets on SaturdayFrom CNN’s Hira Humayun and Josh Pennington

Ukraine’s military said it hit 17 air targets on Saturday, according to a Telegram statement from the country’s Ministry of Defense (MoD).

The targets included three Russian aircraft, five cruise missiles and nine unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to the statement.

“Air Force and Land Forces anti-aircraft missiles struck nine operational-tactical drones, three aircraft and five cruise missiles,” the MoD statement read.Earlier on Saturday, the MoD said on Telegram that at 10pm local time, soldiers in the Odesa region shot down two Russian cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea by a Russian ship heading towards the South Port.

7 min agoZelensky decries Russian attack during Easter holiday for Ukraine’s ChristiansA Ukrainian priest blesses traditional cakes and painted eggs prepared for an Easter celebration in the in Lviv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 23. (Mykola Tys/AP)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of being a “sponsor of terrorism” in his nightly address Saturday, decrying a deadly attack on the southern port of Odesa that coincided with the observance of Holy Saturday before the Easter holiday celebrated on April 24 by many Christians in Ukraine.

“Today was Holy Saturday for Christians of the Eastern Rite. The day between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. It seems that Russia is stuck on such a day,” Zelensky said. “But there will be a Resurrection. Life will defeat death. The truth will defeat any lies, and evil will be punished.”At least eight people, including a three-month-old baby, were killed in Russian missile strikes in Odesa on Saturday, Zelensky said. A Ukrainian official earlier said at least six cruise missiles were launched at the port city, as Russia continues its brutal offensive in south and east of the country.

In his remarks Saturday evening, Zelensky thanked the country’s defenders “who ensure our security this night before Easter and every day,” and vowed justice for Ukraine.

“It is only a matter of time before all Russian murderers feel what a fair response to their crimes is. It is only a matter of time before we can bring all the deported Ukrainians home. It is only a matter of time before all our people all over Ukraine feel what a strong peace is,” he said. Many Ukrainians celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar, with Easter Sunday falling this year on April 24.

5 min agoZelensky says Blinken and Austin will visit Ukraine on Sunday, as diplomacy returns to KyivSecretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pose for a photograph at the State Department in Washington, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/AP)US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Kyiv on Sunday, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in what would be the first visit of high-level US officials to the embattled country since the war broke out. 

The potential visit, which has not been confirmed by Washington, would come on the heels of several high-profile visits from European leaders to the capital and moves to reopen evacuated embassies.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Jo

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