Home World News US diplomats back in kyiv, no truce for Orthodox Easter

US diplomats back in kyiv, no truce for Orthodox Easter

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► US Secretary of State visits kyiv

The heads of diplomacy and defense of the United States, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, met on Sunday April 24 in kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. There, they promised additional military aid to Ukraine to deal with the Russian invasion and the return of American diplomats to the country.

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During this trip, announced on Saturday by Volodymyr Zelensky but confirmed by the United States only on Monday, after their exit from Ukraine, the two ministers expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian leader. They announced the gradual return of an American diplomatic presence in Ukraine and additional direct and indirect military aid of 713 million dollars (662 million euros).

“We want our diplomats to return to our embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible”, commented a senior American official. Antony Blinken has also announced the appointment in the coming days of a new American ambassador to Ukraine. It will be Bridget Brink, current ambassador to Slovakia. The position had been occupied since 2019 by business managers. “The friendship and collaboration between Ukraine and the United States is stronger than ever”welcomed the Ukrainian President.

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► Disagreement over a ceasefire in Mariupol

Despite the announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defense of the establishment of a ceasefire in order to evacuate the civilians taking refuge in the Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol, it would seem that a humanitarian corridor cannot be put in place. spot Monday.

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“I officially and publicly declare that unfortunately there is no agreement regarding a humanitarian corridor from Azovstal today”said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, shortly after Russia announced that it would cease hostilities to allow the evacuation of civilians.

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Ukraine earlier in the day offered Russia talks next to the vast metallurgical complex, where fighters and nearly a thousand Ukrainian civilians are still entrenched in the devastated city largely under Russian control. “We invited the Russians to hold a special session of talks right next to the Azovstal site”an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Oleksiy Arestovitch, told a briefing, indicating “wait for response” of the Russian delegation.

For its part, Moscow accused the Ukrainian authorities on Monday evening of having prevented civilians holed up with Ukrainian fighters in the besieged Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol, in the south-east of Ukraine, from leaving these places, despite the announcement of a ceasefire by the Russian army.

Russian forces and their pro-Russian Ukrainian proxies pledged to “unilaterally cease hostilities at 2:00 p.m. Moscow time (11:00 GMT), withdraw units to a safe distance and ensure departure” civilians “in the direction of their choice”according to a statement issued Monday by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

► Intense bombardments throughout the weekend

The Orthodox Easter was not synonymous with a truce in Ukraine. As the war entered its third month, fighting continued Saturday and Sunday in the east and south of the country. The city of Kharkiv (north-east), the second in Ukraine, remains under fire from Russian bombardments and is “partially blocked”, said the Ukrainian General Staff.

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The Russian army, for its part, said it had carried out missile strikes against nine Ukrainian military targets, including four ammunition depots south of the Kharkiv region. Moscow also said it carried out airstrikes against 26 targets, and 423 artillery strikes.

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In the Donbass basin, Russian troops have “intensified their offensives” in three directions, according to kyiv: Severodonetsk, de facto capital of the Luhansk region under Ukrainian control, Popasna, about fifty kilometers further south, and Kurakhikva, near Donetsk. The Russian army has finally started to redeploy units from Mariupol to the front line.

→ ANALYSIS. In Russia, Orthodox Easter celebrated under the shadow of the war in Ukraine

The religious, institutional and political authorities in Ukraine and around the world had implored a ceasefire for the time of the Easter celebrations which took place on Sunday according to the Julian calendar, observed by the Orthodox. Pope Francis reiterated this request on Sunday on the sidelines of the Regina Caeli prayer.

► Major fire in a fuel depot in Russia

Two fires broke out in the night from Sunday to Monday in Russia, in Bryansk, 150 kilometers from the northeastern border of Ukraine. According to several sources, the fires broke out at a military base and an oil refinery. The causes of these fires have not yet been established. The city has served as a logistics base for Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine for more than two months.

This is not the first time fuel and military facilities have been engulfed in flames. These incidents have multiplied in recent weeks. On April 1, a fuel depot was set on fire in Belgorod, near the Ukrainian border. Russia had accused its neighbor of carrying out helicopter strikes on the site.

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