Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from right, and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington. Pic: AP

Ukraine war: Zelenskyy to ask for more powerful weapons as US secretary of state and defense secretary set to meet him in Kyiv later | World News

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Ukraine’s capital Kyiv later today, accompanied by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The pair are expected to meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to talk about the country’s request for more weapons to repel the Russian invasion.

Mr. Zelenskyy announced the visit on Saturdaysaying: “I believe that we will be able to get agreements from the United States or part of that package on arming Ukraine which we agreed on earlier.

“Besides, we have strategic questions about security guarantees, which it is time to discuss in detail, because the United States will be one of those leaders of security countries for our state.

“As soon as we have (more weapons), as soon as there are enough of them, believe me, we will immediately retake this or that territory, which is temporarily occupied.”

The White House has not confirmed travel plans for Mr Blinken and Mr Austin, and the State Department and Pentagon have declined to comment.

Russian forces ‘continuously attacking’ Mariupol steel plant as Putin seen ‘grimacing in his chair’ – live Ukraine updates

Key developments:

• Ukraine has said it destroyed a Russian command post in the occupied city of Kherson, killing two generals and critically wounding a third. Russia has not commented on this
• The Russian siege of the southern city of Mariupol continues, with about 2,000 Ukrainian troops and civilians taking refuge at a massive steel plant. An attempt to evacuate civilians failed on Saturday
• Russia said it took control of several villages in the eastern Donbas region and destroyed 11 Ukrainian military targets overnight
• In Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukrainian forces said they repulsed 12 Russian attacks on Saturday, destroying four tanks, 15 units of armored equipment, and five artillery systems
• Shelling reported in residential areas of Kharkiv, with regional governor Oleh Sinehubov saying three people were killed

Picture:
The situation in Ukraine on day 58 of the war (Friday 22 April)

It comes as the war in Ukraine enters its third month with no end in sight, many thousands of people dead, millions having become refugees, and cities reduced to rubble.

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Zelenskyy asks God for support in Easter message

Eight people killed in missile attack on Odesa

Meanwhile, a three-month-old baby girl was among eight people killed after Russia fired cruise missiles at the Black Sea port city of Odesa, according to Ukrainian officials.

Speaking about the casualties, Mr Zelenskyy said: “The war started when this baby was one-month-old. Can you imagine what is happening?

“They are just b********…I don’t have any other word for it – just b********.”

The baby’s mother and grandmother were also killed, and 18 people were injured, according to reports.

Emergency service workers rescue the residents from a damaged building after a missile strike in Odesa Oblast, Ukraine April 23, 2022. Pic: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine in Odesa Oblast
Picture:
This building was damaged after a missile strike in Odesa on Saturday. Pic: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine in Odesa Oblast

Read more:
How the Azovstal steelworks became the final outpost in the brutal battle for Mariupol
What are Russia’s plans for the war’s ‘second phase’ – and why do they include Moldova?

Also, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Mr Zelenskyy on Saturday and confirmed Britain would supply new weapons to support Ukraine.

A read-out of the call published by No 10 said: “The prime minister confirmed that the UK is providing more defensive military aid, including protected mobility vehicles, drones and anti-tank weapons.”

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