U.S. Officials Reported to Make Top-Secret Visit to Ukraine | latest news from nigerian newspapers today

U.S. Officials Reported to Make Top-Secret Visit to Ukraine

Russia-Ukraine War War World

Two top U.S. officials, on a confidential visit, made a wartime trip to Kiev on Sunday, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky planned to request more assistance in his country’s war against Russian invaders, a top Ukrainian official said.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was in unusual pain to keep everything about the trip a secret until the men came out of Ukraine safely, even refusing to confirm that he was receiving it. Place

But it was an open secret.

A day earlier, Mr Zelensky had announced plans for a high-level US delegation to visit Ukraine since the Russian invasion two months ago. In an interview aired Sunday, Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Mr. Zelensky, said on Ukrainian television that the men were there because the US government had remained silent.

“They are in Kiev now, talking to the president,” Mr Arestovich said. “Maybe some decision will be made about how they can help.”

The agenda of the meeting was less secret: a call for more military assistance from Ukraine’s Western allies as it seeks to repel an attack that has ravaged cities and killed thousands. A Ukrainian lawmaker says it has “sent a strong signal to Russia that Ukraine will not be left alone in this war.”

Meanwhile, there is Congress Approved 313.6 billion emergency expenses Related to attacks, including the largest infusion of arms, military supplies and US foreign aid to any country in the last decade. The fund also covers US military deployments in Europe. A few days before the Americans’ visit, President Biden Announced an additional 800 800 million in military aidIncluding equipment designed to help Ukraine repel former Russian attacks.But high-ranking U.S. officials have not visited the country since the attack, and even European leaders have visited the suburbs of Kiev to see direct evidence of atrocities committed by Russian troops.

As Ukrainians celebrate Orthodox Easter, the head of Ukraine’s independent Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphany, met with Republicans on Sunday in Kiev, two visiting U.S. members of Congress, Tim Walberg of Michigan, and Victoria Spartz of Indiana.

“Now, we’re celebrating Easter, which is about the resurrection of Christ,” Metropolitan said. “We are sure that with his victory we will also win.

But condemning the Russians, he also advocated for the just use of force in self-defense.

“In this tough fight,” he said, “the soul is not enough. You need weapons too.”

On Sunday, the fighting was in the eastern port city of Mariupol when Russia doubled its attack after withdrawing its forces from the capital, where they faced stiff resistance. There is a steel plant where Ukrainian forces have stalled in the face of a deadly attack, but it is under Ukrainian control – at least for now.

“We are ready to leave the city because there is nothing to protect,” a Ukrainian unit commander said by phone from inside the plant on Sunday. “We consider that we have fulfilled our mission.”

Military analysts say Russia’s occupation of eastern Ukraine requires a new focus, a vast expanse of flat land, more long-range weapons for Ukrainian forces and the ability to quickly deploy troops on the ground and in the air.

With long-range artillery cannons, helicopters, armored vehicles, tanks, radar defense systems and deadly drones now flying over the country, Ukrainian leaders say they have the opportunity not only to defend their territory but also to repel the Russians.

Mr Blinken was the last high-ranking US official to visit Ukraine when he stopped in mid-January. The United States closed its embassy in Kiev on 14 February, and its diplomats soon left the country.The Russian aggression began 10 days later, and while it was trying to capture the capital in an initial attack, parts of Kiev were shelled and hit by Ukrainian and Russian forces. Fought on the streets Kyiv’s suburbs. But Russia’s retreat from the vicinity of Kiev has made the city much less dangerous than it was a few weeks ago, and Western leaders are taking the opportunity to show solidarity with Mr Zelensky.

Exactly how Mr Austin and Mr Blinken got to Kiev, where Mr Zelensky has remained since the Russian invasion, remained unclear on Sunday.

The distance makes air travel an obvious choice, but the Ukrainian government closed its airspace to civilian flights when the attack began.

Other visiting leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, traveled by train. But due to security concerns, his visit was also shrouded in secrecy. Rumors of Johnson’s impending trip had been circulating for days, but no news of the trip had been made public until he was seen in Kiev.

In March, Vice President Kamala Harris said Travel to Poland, Where he expressed American support for Ukraine and its allies in NATO and the European Union. Before Mr. Blinken Went to the Polish border with UkraineMeeting with Ukrainian diplomats at a crossing used by hundreds of refugees within an hour.

Mr Biden also visited a town near the border on March 25 during a state visit to Poland, but did not enter Ukraine. He met with refugees and Gave a speech in Warsaw The next day.

Previous visits by senior American officials to other war zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, are usually not announced until the official arrives in the country – and sometimes not even after they leave.

The White House has denied sending Mr Biden to Ukraine, citing not only the risks but also Mr Biden’s huge security needs. Senior cabinet officials, such as Mr. Blinken and Mr. Austin, traveled in small groups.

On Sunday, as Ukrainians gathered for a silent celebration of Easter, Russia’s aggression gave more lives.

Just before dawn, two young women, aged 5 and 14, were killed when their house was destroyed in the Donetsk region, near the eastern border with Russia, according to the Donetsk regional military administration.

About 100 miles west, three Russian missiles hit the town of Pavlograd. According to local authorities, the strike damaged railway infrastructure and eight buildings, killing a 48-year-old man.

According to Ukrainian authorities, in the eastern part of Luhansk, at least eight people were killed by Russian artillery fire at seven houses and a police station.

Statements from state and local officials provide a partial account of the rising toll as fighting intensifies along the 300-mile front line in eastern and southern Ukraine. The fierce fighting has so far brought little benefit to Russian forces, but the situation of civilians detained in crossfire is becoming increasingly dire.

The war again hampered the eviction efforts.

Igor Jovkova, an adviser to President Zelensky, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Russia’s claim that they controlled the port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian forces and civilians remained in the city. He said many soldiers were injured.

“Today, we return to the Russian authorities to open humanitarian corridors for civilians,” he said.

As the city was reduced to rubble, an estimated 120,000 people survived what eyewitnesses described as a barbaric situation. Ukrainian officials said Sunday that Russian forces had continued bombing large steel mills where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians were trapped.

Capt. Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Battalion, said that if Ukrainian forces were willing to leave the factory and evacuate the city, a safe passage was guaranteed for themselves and hundreds of civilians, whose fighters had been stranded at the plant since March 1.

“We will continue to defend it until we receive a retreat from our military leadership,” he said. “And if we leave, we’ll leave with our weapons.”

Andrew E. Kramer Report from Kiev, and Natalie Kitroyev From Mexico City. Was contributed by reporting Mark Santora And Jane Araf Lviv, from Ukraine; Michael Schwartz from Mariupol; Matthew Empoke Big From London; And Eduardo Medina From New York.

Do you want to invest in real estate but don’t know how visit Estate Alert today http://estatealert.net/