WAR IN UKRAINE: Russia Launches Airstrike on Steel Plant in Mariupol
Ukraine officials said Sunday Russia has launched an airstrike on the Azovstal steel factory in the besieged Southern port city of Mariupol.
Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a tight blockade of the facility that Russian forces have struggled to take over from perhaps thousands of Ukraine fighters and civilians who have remained in control of the plant.
Meanwhile, The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement Sunday that it is “deeply alarmed by the situation in Mariupol, where the population is in dire need of assistance.” The ICRC said, “Immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access is urgently required to allow for the voluntary safe passage of thousands of civilians and hundreds of wounded out of the city, including from the Azovstal plant area.”
The bombing of the factory comes as Ukraine is observing Orthodox Easter Sunday and as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.
Zelenskyy said Ukraine “is expecting specific things and specific weapons,” as an outcome of the first official visit by U.S. government officials since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
There has been no confirmation of the trip from U.S. officials.
On Thursday, Zelenskyy meets with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Before the U.N. chief’s meeting with Zelenskyy, the secretary general is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Monday and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Tuesday…
Turkey Closes Airspace to Russian Planes Flying to Syria
ISTANBUL, TURKEY — Turkey has closed its airspace to Russian civilian and military planes flying to Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying Saturday by local media.
The announcement marks one of the strongest responses to date by Turkey, which has cultivated close ties with Moscow despite being a member of the NATO defense alliance, to Russia’s two-month military assault on Ukraine.
“We closed the airspace to Russia’s military planes — and even civilian ones — flying to Syria. They had until April, and we asked in March,” Turkish media quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
Cavusoglu said he conveyed the decision to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, who then relayed it to President Vladimir Putin.
“One or two days later, they said: Putin has issued an order, we will not fly anymore,” Cavusoglu was quoted as telling Turkish reporters aboard his plane to Uruguay.
Cavusoglu added that the ban would stay in place for three months.
There was no immediate response to Turkey’s announcement from Russia, which together with Iran has been a crucial supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the war-torn country’s civil war.
Turkey has backed Syrian rebels during the conflict.
Sean Penn joins Sean Hannity to discuss Russian invasion of Ukraine - FOX NEWS
Ukraine leader pushes for more arms; US officials to visit
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed the West for more powerful weapons as he prepared to meet with top U.S. officials in the war-torn country’s capital.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed the West for more powerful weapons as he prepared to meet with top U.S. officials in the war-torn country’s capital Sunday, while Russian forces concentrated their attacks on the east, including trying to dislodge the last Ukrainian troops in the battered port of Mariupol.
Zelenskyy announced the planned visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a news conference Saturday night in a Kyiv subway station. The White House has not commented.
Zelenskyy said he was looking for the Americans to produce results, both in arms and security guarantees. “You can’t come to us empty-handed today, and we are expecting not just presents or some kind of cakes, we are expecting specific things and specific weapons,” he said.
The visit would be the first by senior U.S. officials since Russia invaded Ukraine 60 days ago. Blinken stepped briefly onto Ukrainian soil in March to meet with the country’s foreign minister during a visit to Poland. Zelenskyy’s last face-to-face meeting with a U.S. leader was Feb. 19 in Munich with Vice President Kamala Harris.
While the West has funneled military equipment to Ukraine, Zelenskyy has stressed repeatedly that the country needs more heavy weapons, including long-range air defense systems, as well as warplanes.
His meeting with Austin and Blinken was set to take place as Ukrainians and Russians observed Orthodox Easter, when the faithful celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Speaking from Kyiv’s ancient St. Sophia Cathedral, Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, highlighted the significance of the occasion to a nation wracked by nearly two months of war.
Ukraine War: Heavy weapons heading to Ukraine? - Sky News
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