Ukrainian President Denounces Missile Strike On Odessa Port

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky gestures as he speaks during a press conference following his talks with the President of the European Council in Kyiv on April 20, 2022.
Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

 

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced a missile strike on the port of Odessa as “Russian barbarism” just a day after the warring sides struck a deal to resume cereal exports blocked by the conflict.

The Ukrainian military said its air defences had shot down two cruise missiles but two more hit the port Saturday, threatening the landmark agreement hammered out over months of negotiations aimed at relieving a global food crisis.

Zelensky said the strikes on Odessa showed Moscow could not be trusted to keep its promises.

“Today’s Russian missile attack on Odessa, on our port, is a cynical one, and it was also a blow to the political positions of Russia itself,” Zelensky said in his nightly address, adding dialogue with Moscow was becoming increasingly untenable.

“This apparent Russian barbarism brings us even closer to obtaining the very weapons we need for our victory,” Zelensky added.

The strike came a day after Moscow and Kyiv agreed on a deal brokered by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Nations chief Antonio Guterres.

Odessa is one of three export hubs designated in the agreement and Ukrainian officials said grain was being stored in the port at the time of the strike, although the food stocks did not appear to have been hit.

Guterres — who presided over the signing ceremony on Friday — “unequivocally” condemned the attack, his deputy spokesman said and urged all sides to stick to the deal.

“These products are desperately needed to address the global food crisis and ease the suffering of millions of people in need around the globe,” he said.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell directly blamed Russia for the strikes.

“Striking a target crucial for grain export a day after the signature of (the) Istanbul agreements is particularly reprehensible and again demonstrates Russia’s total disregard for international law and commitments,” he said.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the attack was “absolutely appalling” and “completely unwarranted”.

The United States also “strongly condemned” the attack, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying it “casts serious doubt on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to yesterday’s deal”.

There was no official comment from Moscow, but Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Russia had denied carrying out the attack.

“The Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and they were looking into the issue very closely,” Akar said in comments to state news agency Anadolu.

“We will continue to fulfil our responsibilities under the agreement we reached yesterday,” he added.

Regional governor Maksym Marchenko said the strikes left people wounded and damaged port infrastructure in Odessa, without specifying the number or severity of the injuries.

 20 million tonnes of wheat

A farmer stands as he collects wheat near Mykolaiv, on July 21, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

 

The first major accord between the countries since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine aims to ease the “acute hunger” the UN says an additional 47 million people are facing because of the war.

Ukraine at the signing warned it would conduct “an immediate military response” should Russia violate the accord and attack its ships or stage an incursion around its ports.

Zelensky said responsibility for enforcing the deal fell to the UN, which along with Turkey is a co-guarantor of the agreement.

The deal includes points on running Ukrainian grain ships along safe corridors that avoid known mines in the Black Sea.

Huge quantities of wheat and other grain have been blocked in Ukrainian ports by Russian warships and the mines Kyiv laid to avert a feared amphibious assault.

Zelensky said that around 20 million tonnes of produce from last year’s harvest and the current crop would be exported under the agreement, estimating the value of Ukraine’s grain stocks at around $10 billion.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Kremlin state media he expected the deal to start working “in the next few days” although diplomats expect grain to only start fully flowing by mid-August.

 Strikes on central Ukraine

Russia is trying to fight deeper into the eastern Donetsk region after securing full control of neighbouring Lugansk.

The US State Department on Saturday said two Americans had died in the area, without saying whether the pair were in the country for combat purposes.

Russian missile strikes on railway infrastructure and a military airfield in the central area of Kirovograd on Saturday also killed at least three people and wounded 16 more, regional governor Andriy Raikovych said.

At least one of the dead was a serviceman, he said earlier — a rare admission of a military casualty as combat deaths have been closely guarded by both sides.

Russia also pursued an artillery campaign over Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, with attacks wounding one woman, the presidency said. An elderly farmer was killed in further shelling in Sumy, northwest of Kharkiv.

Two others, including a teenager, were wounded in strikes on Mykolaiv, the largest city under Ukrainian control near Russian-occupied Kherson and the southern front, which has been shelled persistently since the beginning of the invasion.

-AFP

Ukraine Begins Electricity Exports To EU – Zelensky

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during a press conference with Denmark's and Spain's Prime Ministers in Kyiv on April 21, 2022. Genya SAVILOV / AFP
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during a press conference with Denmark’s and Spain’s Prime Ministers in Kyiv on April 21, 2022.
Genya SAVILOV / AFP

 

 

Ukraine has started exporting electricity to the European Union, via Romania, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as Russia reduces gas supplies to the bloc which is supporting Kyiv in resisting Moscow’s invasion.

Several European countries, including Italy and Germany, are highly reliant upon Russian gas for their energy needs but have been forced to look for alternatives as Moscow slashes deliveries.

Speaking Thursday, Zelensky said Ukraine had “launched a significant export of electricity to the territory of the EU, via Romania.

“This is only the first stage. We are preparing to increase supply.”

He said that “a significant part of the Russian gas consumed by Europeans can be replaced.

“It is not just a question of export revenue for us, it is a question of security for the whole of Europe.”

The Ukrainian electricity grid was connected to the European network in mid-March, helping to keep supplies flowing despite the war.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the Ukrainian exports “will provide an additional source of electricity for the EU. And much-needed revenues to Ukraine.

“So we both benefit,” she said.

The EU has strongly backed Ukraine following Russia’s February invasion, slapping Moscow with a barrage of sanctions and granting Kyiv “candidate status”, a first step towards membership of the bloc.

‘You’re My Hero’ Hollywood’s Ben Stiller Tells Zelensky In Kyiv

This handout picture taken and released by Ukrainian President press-service on June 20, 2022 shows Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) meeting with US actor and UN Goodwill Envoy Ben Stiller (R) in Kyiv. (Photo by UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP)

 

Hollywood star Ben Stiller met Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday, hailing the comedian-turned-president as “my hero” for rallying the world’s support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion. 

“It’s a great honour for me.. you’re my hero!” said Stiller, a UN goodwill ambassador who met the Ukrainian leader on World Refugee Day.

“What you’ve done, the way that you’ve rallied the country, the world, it’s really inspiring,” said the 56-year-old American comedian referring to Zelensky’s countless speeches to audiences around the world to rally support for his embattled country.

Footage of their meeting was released by Zelensky’s office.

Earlier on Monday, Stiller visited the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, the scene of fierce battles early on in the invasion and the closest Moscow’s army got to the capital since it sent troops into Ukraine in February.

“I feel it’s hard to understand what’s actually going on here if you haven’t been here,” he told Zelensky.

“I was in Irpin this morning.. and the actual level of destruction, you see it on TV, you see it on social media, but it’s something else to actually see it, feel it and then to talk to the people,” he said.

Speaking in English, Zelensky thanked Stiller for coming and told him it was “very important” for him to keep reminding people what was going on in Ukraine.

“It’s very important for us that people don’t forget. It’s not interesting to speak about the war every day.. but for us it’s very important,” the stocky Ukrainian leader told him.

 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) welcoming to US actor and UN Goodwill Envoy Ben Stiller (L) during their meeting in Kyiv. (Photo by Handout / UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP)

 

The pair also acknowledged their shared interest as comedy actors.

“You quit a great acting career,” said Stiller, who is best known for his comedy roles in “Meet the Parents” and the “Night at the Museum” films, in a nod to Zelensky’s former career as a comedy actor.

“Not as great as yours,” Zelensky retorted, both laughing.

Before being elected in 2019, Zelensky was best known for his role in “Servant of the People”, a comedy satire in which he played a high school teacher who unexpectedly becomes Ukraine’s president.

Ukraine Ex-President Says He Was Blocked From Leaving The Country

In this file photo, ex-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivers his speech from Parliament tribune during an emergency session in Kyiv on November 26, 2018, ahead of a parliamentary vote at the request of the Ukrainian President to impose martial law in the country. Genya SAVILOV / AFP

 

The former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, said Saturday he was barred from leaving the country, accusing the government of breaking a so-called political ceasefire in place since Russia invaded. 

Poroshenko, in power from 2014 to 2019, has made frequent public appearances since the war started, appearing on international television to offer commentary.

His European Solidarity party is the second biggest party in Ukraine’s parliament after President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ruling party.

After Russia invaded, Ukraine’s parliament banned several pro-Russian parties and allowed others to still operate under a so-called political ceasefire — a tacit understanding that all parties would put aside domestic political disagreements to unite against the war.

READ ALSO: Court Imposes Travel Ban On Tunisian Party Leader

But on Saturday, Poroshenko’s office said he “was refused to cross the border of Ukraine,” accusing the government of violating the agreement.

“There is a risk that by this decision, the authorities have broken the ‘political ceasefire’ in place during the war… which one of the pillars of national unity in the face of to Russian aggression,” his office said.

Poroshenko was due to travel to a NATO parliamentary assembly meeting in Lithuania as part of the Ukrainian delegation and had received official permission to travel.

He was due to meet in Vilnius with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and a group of European parliamentarians.

He was then to travel to Rotterdam in the Netherlands for a summit bringing together European political parties.

AFP

Ukraine Leader Sends Condolences Over ‘Awful’ Texas School Shooting

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement by videolink during an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 25, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

 

 

The president of war-torn Ukraine weighed in Wednesday on the Texas school shooting that left at least 19 children dead, saying it was “terrible to have victims of shooters in peaceful times.”

“I would like to express my condolences to all of the relatives and family members of the children who were killed in an awful shooting in Texas in a school,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

“This is terrible to have victims of shooters in peaceful times,” he said by video link at a conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss Russia’s invasion of his country.

An 18-year-gunman killed at least 19 young children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday.

The attack in Uvalde — a small community about an hour from the Mexican border — was the deadliest US school shooting in years, and the latest in a spree of bloody gun violence across America.

“I feel it is my personal tragedy when children are killed in Texas, and now in my country Russian military is killing our children,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky Tells Davos: Send Us Weapons, Stop Russia Trade

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seen on a giant screen by video link delivering remarks at the Congress centre during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 23, 2022. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seen on a giant screen by video link delivering remarks at the Congress centre during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 23, 2022. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used the Davos summit Monday to appeal for more weapons and “maximum” sanctions against Russia, lamenting that tens of thousands of lives would have been saved had countries acted faster.

Appearing by video-link, Zelensky delivered the headline speech to the first World Economic Forum to be held in the Swiss Alps in more than two years after the Covid pandemic derailed the event.

The conflict shows “that support to the country under attack is more valuable the sooner it is provided: weapons, funding, political support and sanctions against Russia,” said Zelensky, who received a standing ovation.

READ ALSO: Russian Diplomat Quits Over Ukraine War

Flanked by Ukrainian flags and wearing an olive-green T-shirt, he said through an interpreter that if Kyiv had received “100 percent of our needs at once back in February, the result would have been tens of thousands of lives saved”.

“This is why Ukraine needs all the weapons that we ask for, not just the ones that have been provided,” he said, adding that 87 people were killed in a May 17 strike by Russia on a military base in northern Ukraine.

Anastasia Radina, a Ukrainian lawmaker, told AFP that her country needs “NATO-style” weapons, including tanks and ground-based air defence systems.

“What we are looking for most importantly are fighter jets and this has been the most difficult discussion,” she said.

“Three months into the war, and tens of thousands lives lost, we are still at the point of discussing if we need fighter jets. Frankly speaking this is outrageous.”

Ukraine is receiving howitzers “but that is not yet enough”, she said.

End all Russia trade

Zelensky called for an oil embargo on Russia, punitive measures against all its banks and the shunning of its IT sector, adding that all foreign companies should leave the country.

“There should not be any trade with Russia,” he told the gathering.

“I believe there are still no such sanctions against Russia — and there should be.”

WEF founder Klaus Schwab praised Zelensky for his “courageous leadership” and said Davos participants were eager to hear how they could assist Ukraine “because everybody is affected by what’s happening in your country”.

Western powers have imposed a slew of sanctions on Russia.

But while the United States, Britain and Canada have moved to ban Russian oil and gas, the European Union has been divided over imposing similar measures.

The war is dominating the four-day meeting of the world’s business and political elites, with Ukraine sending a strong contingent of officials, including the foreign minister, to plead for more aid.

Russian business and political leaders, who used to participate in debates and mingle with other A-listers at champagne parties, were excluded from this year’s gathering.

The Ukrainians have transformed the “Russia House” in Davos –- normally used by the Russian delegation — into the “Russia War Crimes House” to promote their cause.

More than 50 heads of state or government are among the 2,500 delegates at the WEF under the title “History at a Turning Point”.

‘Bonanza’ for billionaires

When the WEF last took place in Davos in January 2020, the coronavirus was just brewing in China before morphing into a devastating pandemic.

A Davos forum took place virtually last year, with Russian President Vladimir Putin among the speakers.

While the summit is back, it lacks its usual snowy backdrop after the Omicron variant forced this year’s January meeting to be postponed until now. Instead, rain is forecast all week.

Climate change and concerns about the economic recovery from the pandemic are also at the forefront of the Davos talks.

Inflation has become a major concern as energy and food prices have soared further since Russia invaded major grain-exporter Ukraine, raising fears of hunger in countries dependent on wheat from the region.

A Russian blockade is preventing Ukraine from using its ports to export its agricultural goods, and Zelensky accused Russia of stealing grains on a daily basis.

He said he has talked with European Union, UK, Turkish and UN officials to look into establishing a “corridor which would allow exports of our wheat, sunflowers and other grains”.

Qatar’s emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, meanwhile, stepped up his offers at Davos to act as a mediator.

“We are in touch with all parties concerned in the Ukrainian crisis, and I am ready to contribute to every international and regional effort, to find an immediate, peaceful solution to the conflict,” he said.

 

AFP

Zelensky Says Only ‘Diplomacy’ Can End Ukraine War

In this handout video grab taken from a footage released by the Ukrainian Presidency early on March 19, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address in Ukraine. Handout / UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP
In this handout video grab taken from a footage released by the Ukrainian Presidency early on March 19, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address in Ukraine. Handout / UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP

 

 

 

The Ukraine war can only be resolved through “diplomacy”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday amid a deadlock in negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow.

“The end will be through diplomacy,” he told a Ukrainian television channel. The war “will be bloody, there will be fighting but will only definitively end through diplomacy”.

“Discussions between Ukraine and Russia will decidedly take place. Under what format I don’t know — with intermediaries, without them, in a broader group, at presidential level,” he said.

“There are things that can only be reached at the negotiating table,” he said.” We want everything to return (to as it was before)” but “Russia does not want that”, he said, without elaborating.

The results of negotiations, which could have a variety of subjects “according to the timing of the meeting”, would have to be “fair” for Ukraine, Zelensky stressed.

The president spoke of a document about security guarantees for his nation, saying it would be signed by “friends and partners of Ukraine, without Moscow”. A bilateral discussion would be held with Russia at the same time, he added.

He also recalled Kyiv’s absolute precondition for continuing talks that Russia does not kill Ukrainian troops who defended the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

Zelensky noted Russian troops “offered the possibility, found a way for these people to come out alive”, from Azovstal.

“The most important thing for me is to save the maximum number of people and soldiers.”

According to Moscow 2,439 Ukrainians have surrendered at the plant since May 16, the final 500 on Friday.

On Tuesday, Kyiv’s lead negotiator Mykhaylo Podolyak said talks with Russia were “on hold” after taking place regularly in the earlier stages of the conflict but without substantial results.

The following day Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Kyiv authorities of not wanting to continue talks to end hostilities.

“Talks are indeed not moving forward and we note the complete lack of will of Ukrainian negotiators to continue this process,” he said.

The last talks took place on April 22, according to Russian news agencies.

After failing to take Kyiv following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops are now concentrating on the east of the country, where fierce clashes are ongoing.

Zelenksy Slams Russian Strikes On Ukraine Culture Centre

This handout picture taken and released by the Ukrainian presidential press-service on March 23, 2022 shows President Volodymyr Zelensky recording a video address in Kyiv.(Photo by Handout / UKRAINE PRESIDENCY / AFP)

 

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday lashed out against Russian strikes that gutted a recently redeveloped cultural centre in eastern Ukraine and wounded seven people, including a child.

In a statement on social media, Zelensky said that Russian strikes had targeted “the newly-renovated House of Culture”, in the town of Lozova, in the eastern region of Kharkiv.

A video of the attack distributed by Zelensky showed black smoke enveloping a large building near residential complexes and passing cars, after a large explosion sent debris flying in all directions.

“The occupiers have identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies. And they do not spare missiles or bombs,” Zelensky wrote on social media, describing the attack as “absolute evil” and “absolute stupidity”.

Viktor Zabashta, a local health official, told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency that seven people had been wounded in the attack. “No-one has died yet,” he added.

Russia has routinely been accused of targeting civilian infrastructure since it launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has devastated several urban centres.

Mariupol in the south has suffered near total destruction. Moscow’s forces were accused of striking a theatre in the southern port city in March, killing hundreds of civilians sheltering there.

100 Civilians Leave Mariupol Plant As Evacuation Begins – Zelensky

This handout video grab taken from a footage released by Mariupol City Council on April 19, 2022 shows clouds of smoke billowing above Azovstal steel plant and the destroyed gates of Azov Shipyard, as Russia continues its push to capture the besieged port city of Mariupol.  AFP

 

The evacuation of the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol has stazelrted, with an initial group of 100 civilians en route to Ukrainian-held territory, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday.

“Evacuation of civilians from Azovstal began. The 1st group of about 100 people is already heading to the controlled area. Tomorrow we’ll meet them in Zaporizhzhia,” he tweeted, referring to a city 220 kilometres (130 miles) to the northwest.

“Now they, together with #UN, are working on the evacuation of other civilians from the plant,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, the United Nations had confirmed that a “safe passage operation is ongoing” at Azovstal which was being coordinated by the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross)and Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Separately, Russian media confirmed that 40 civilians had left the Azovstal steel plant and were being taken to Russian-held territories in the east.

The TASS agency said 18 men, 14 women and eight children were taken to Bezimenne, a village halfway between Mariupol and the Russian border.

In a posting on Telegram, Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s office said it was “only the first stage”.

“The evacuation of civilians from the city of Mariupol, in particular from the Azovstal metallurgical plant, began today,” he wrote, saying the move involved “more than 100 women, children and the elderly”.

“It was a difficult operation and there is still a lot of work ahead, but nothing will stop us.”

The vast Azovstal iron and steelworks is the last hold-out of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol after a weeks-long onslaught by the Russian military.

Mariupol is an important strategic hub connecting the Russian-held southern and eastern parts of Ukraine.

Several hundred Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are sheltering in the maze of Soviet-era underground tunnels underneath the steelworks, many of whom require medical attention.

Their fate has drawn worldwide condemnation.

Stretching over 11 square kilometres (4.2 square miles), the Azovstal complex is a sprawling warren of rail lines, warehouses, coal furnaces, factories, chimneys and tunnels seen as ideal for guerrilla warfare.

AFP

Pelosi Backs Zelensky In ‘Fight For Freedom’ On Kyiv Visit

A handout photo released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on May 1, 2022, shows President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (R) presents the Order of Princess Olga to US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. (Photo by STRINGER / UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP)

 

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi voiced support for Ukraine’s “fight for freedom” at a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky on a visit to Kyiv, US and Ukrainian officials said on Sunday.

“We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom… Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” Pelosi told Zelensky, according to a video from the Ukrainian presidency.

Zelensky tweeted: “Thank you to the United States for helping protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state”.

“The US is leading strong support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression,” he said.

The trip by a Congressional delegation had not been previously announced.

“Our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden last week proposed a huge $33-billion (31-billion euro) package for arming and supporting Ukraine.

READ ALSO: Nancy Pelosi Meets Zelensky On Unannounced Visit To Kyiv – Officials

Biden also outlined proposed new laws to allow using luxury assets stripped from Russian oligarchs to compensate Ukraine for the destruction wreaked by the invading Russians.

“When we return to the United States, we will do so further informed, deeply inspired and ready to do what is needed to help the Ukrainian people as they defend democracy for their nation and for the world,” Pelosi’s statement continued.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv last month.

AFP

Nancy Pelosi Meets Zelensky On Unannounced Visit To Kyiv – Officials

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on April 29, 2022, in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi voiced support for Ukraine’s “fight for freedom” at a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky on a visit to Kyiv, US and Ukrainian officials said on Sunday.

“We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom… Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” Pelosi told Zelensky, according to a video from the Ukrainian presidency.

Zelensky tweeted: “Thank you to the United States for helping protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state”.

“The US is leading strong support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression,” he said.

Read Also: Nine Detained In Connection With China Building Collapse

The trip by a Congressional delegation had not been previously announced.

“Our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden last week proposed a huge $33-billion (31-billion euro) package for arming and supporting Ukraine.

Biden also outlined proposed new laws to allow using luxury assets stripped from Russian oligarchs to compensate Ukraine for the destruction wreaked by the invading Russians.

“When we return to the United States, we will do so further informed, deeply inspired and ready to do what is needed to help the Ukrainian people as they defend democracy for their nation and for the world,” Pelosi’s statement continued.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv last month.

Zelensky Slams UN Chief’s Plan To Visit Moscow Before Kyiv

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during a press conference with Denmark's and Spain's Prime Ministers in Kyiv on April 21, 2022. Genya SAVILOV / AFP
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during a press conference with Denmark’s and Spain’s Prime Ministers in Kyiv on April 21, 2022. Genya SAVILOV / AFP

 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday criticised a decision by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to visit Moscow on Tuesday, before heading to Kyiv.

“It is simply wrong to go first to Russia and then to Ukraine,” Zelensky told reporters in the Ukraine capital. “There is no justice and no logic in this order,” he added.

“The war is in Ukraine, there are no bodies in the streets of Moscow. It would be logical to go first to Ukraine, to see the people there, the consequences of the occupation,” he said.

READ ALSO: Russia Slaps Travel Ban On Kamala Harris, Zuckerberg

In the Kyiv region alone, more than a 1,000 civilians had been killed, he added.

Guterres is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, then Zelensky on Thursday.

The UN chief also plans to meet UN staff on staff to discuss stepping up aid for Ukrainians.

Since Guterres accused Russia of violating the UN charter by sending troops into Ukraine, the Russian leader has refused any contact with him.

The UN chief has had little contact with Zelensky either, apart from a telephone conversation on February 26 two days after the Russian attack began.

On Tuesday, Guterres once again denounced the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine, calling on both sides to stop fighting and observe a four-day humanitarian truce over the Orthodox Easter, which is on Sunday.

 

AFP