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KYIV/BEZIMENNE — Round 50 Ukrainian civilians reached the relative security of a short lived camp in Russian-held territory on Sunday after being evacuated from a ruined steelworks in Mariupol, the place the United Nations mentioned a “secure passage operation” was in progress.

With preventing stretching alongside a broad entrance in southern and japanese Ukraine, U.S. Home of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged continued U.S. assist for Ukraine when she met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in an unannounced go to to Kyiv.

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Russia mentioned it had destroyed a inventory of Western-supplied weapons at an airfield close to Odesa, in southern Ukraine.

Mariupol, a strategic port metropolis on the Azov Sea, has endured probably the most damaging siege of the conflict, with Pope Francis, in an implicit criticism of Russia, telling 1000’s of individuals in St Peter’s Sq. on Sunday it had been “barbarously bombarded.”

Moscow has turned its focus to Ukraine’s south and east after failing to seize Kyiv within the early weeks of a conflict that has flattened cities, killed 1000’s of civilians and compelled greater than 5 million to flee the nation.

In Mariupol, Russia declared victory on April 21 at the same time as lots of of holdout Ukrainian troops and civilians took shelter within the metropolis’s Azovstal metal works, an unlimited Soviet-era advanced with a community of bunkers and tunnels, the place they’ve been trapped with little meals, water or medication.

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Negotiations to evacuate the civilians had repeatedly damaged down in current weeks, with Russia and Ukraine blaming one another.

However on Sunday, greater than 50 civilians arrived at a short lived lodging middle after escaping from Mariupol, a Reuters photographer mentioned.

The civilians arrived on buses on the village of Bezimenne, round 30 km (18 miles) east of Mariupol, the place a row of sunshine blue tents had been arrange, in a convoy with U.N. and Russian navy autos.

A spokesperson for the U.N. Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs mentioned a “secure passage operation” had began on Saturday and was being coordinated with the Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross, Russia and Ukraine.

He mentioned no additional particulars might be launched in order to not jeopardize the security of evacuees and the convoy.

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U.S. ‘STANDS WITH UKRAINE’

Footage posted by Zelenskiy on Twitter on Sunday confirmed him, flanked by an armed escort and wearing navy fatigues, greeting a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Pelosi exterior his presidential workplace yesterday.

“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to ship an unmistakable and resounding message to the complete world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” Pelosi, the very best rating U.S. official to go to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, mentioned in an announcement.

Moscow calls its actions a “particular navy operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked conflict of aggression.

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Western nations have imposed broad financial sanctions on Russia and have been transport growing portions of weapons to assist Ukraine defend itself.

Russia’s protection ministry mentioned on Sunday it had carried out a missile strike on a navy airfield close to the port metropolis of Odesa, destroying a runway and a hangar containing weapons and ammunition equipped to Ukraine by america and European nations.

On Saturday, Ukraine mentioned Russian missiles had knocked out a newly constructed runway at Odesa’s fundamental airport.

It was unclear in the event that they had been referring to the identical incident and Reuters couldn’t instantly confirm the stories.

EASTERN PUSH

Within the east, Moscow is pushing for full management of the Donbas area, the place Russian-backed separatists already managed elements of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces earlier than the invasion.

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On Sunday, Kharkiv area governor Oleh Synehubov warned residents within the north and east of the town of Kharkiv to stay of their shelters because of heavy Russian shelling. Reuters couldn’t instantly confirm stories of shelling within the space.

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk area, in a publish on social media, urged individuals to evacuate whereas it was nonetheless attainable.

Zelenskiy mentioned in a video deal with on Saturday evening that Russia was “gathering extra forces for brand new assaults towards our navy within the east of the nation.”

Russia’s protection ministry accused Ukraine’s forces of shelling a faculty, kindergarten and cemetery in villages within the occupied southern Kherson area, the Russian RIA information company mentioned on Sunday.

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The ministry mentioned civilians had been killed and wounded however gave no additional particulars. There was no rapid response from Ukraine and Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the report.

Russian forces captured the city of Kherson, 100 km (60 miles) north of Russian-annexed Crimea, in March.

Ukraine’s navy mentioned in a bulletin on Sunday that Russian forces had been preventing to push north from Kherson to the cities of Mykolayiv and Kryvyi Rih.

(Reporting by Hamuda Hassan and Jorge Silva in Dobropillia, Ukraine, and Natalia Zinets in Kyiv; Further reporting by Reuters journalists Writing by Rami Ayyub, Clarence Fernandez, Frances Kerry and Alex Richardson; Enhancing by David Goodman and Alexandra Hudson and Angus MacSwan)

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