Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Sunday, the two sides reported, in the latest display of support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia by a major Western politician.
Zelensky’s video on Twitter showed him welcoming a congressional delegation led by Pelosi outside his presidential office, flanked by an armed escort and dressed in military fatigues.
“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to give an unequivocal and loud message to the entire world: America stands solidly with Ukraine,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking American politician to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24. She called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursion “diabolic.”
Moscow refers to its efforts as a “special military operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine and removing anti-Russian nationalism instilled by the West. Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of launching an unjustified aggressive campaign.
The West has imposed wide economic sanctions on Russia and has been transferring growing amounts of armaments to Ukraine to assist in its defense.
Pelosi said on Friday that she intended to enact a $33 billion aid package for Ukraine “as quickly as feasible” after President Joe Biden requested it. find out more
After failing to conquer Kyiv in the early weeks of a war that has leveled towns, killed thousands of civilians, and forced more than 5 million people to flee the nation, Moscow has switched its attention to Ukraine’s south and east.
According to the Russian RIA news agency, Russia’s defense ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling a school, kindergarten, and cemetery in the villages of Kyselivka and Shyroka Balka in the occupied southern Kherson region.
The ministry stated that citizens had been killed or injured, but provided no other information. Ukraine did not respond immediately, and Reuters was unable to independently verify the report.
In March, Russian soldiers took control of Kherson, a vital eastern port city on the Azov Sea 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Russian-annexed Crimea. Since then, they have mostly controlled Mariupol, a strategic eastern port city on the Azov Sea.
Russian soldiers were fighting to break beyond Kherson’s administrative borders and prepare for strikes on the cities of Mykolayiv and Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine’s military warned in a dispatch on Sunday.
On April 21, Russia declared victory in Mariupol, despite the fact that hundreds of Ukrainian military and residents hid in the city’s bombed-out Azovstal steel factory.
A Ukrainian fighter inside reported that 20 women and children had escaped the sprawling facility on Saturday.
“We’re using ropes to pull civilians out of the rubble – it’s the elderly, women, and children,” said Sviatoslav Palamar, a combatant.
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Palamar said Russia and Ukraine were abiding by a local ceasefire, and he hoped the evacuated citizens would be transported to the northwest city of Zaporizhzhia.’
On Sunday, Russia’s defense ministry announced that 46 civilians had left the area surrounding the steel mill the day before.
Moscow is gunning for total control of the Donbas region in the east, where Russian-backed separatists had already taken control of sections of the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces before the invasion.
On Saturday, the Russian military launched missile strikes across Ukraine’s south and east, according to Ukrainian officials.
In a social media post on Sunday, Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, advised people to flee while it was still feasible.
Russia was “gathering extra forces for new strikes against our military in the east of the country” and “seeking to escalate pressure in the Donbas,” Zelensky said in a late-night video speech on Saturday.
On Saturday, despite weeks of peace discussions, both sides appeared to be as far away as ever.
Ukraine claims Russian troops of committed crimes in areas around Kyiv, where they have been driven back since early April, a claim Moscow denies. Negotiators last met in person on March 29 and have communicated through video connection since then.