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KYIV/BEZIMENNE — U.S. Home of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged continued U.S. help for Ukraine when she met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv, whereas Moscow mentioned it had struck at weapons provided by Western nations within the nation’s south.

With combating stretching alongside a broad entrance in southern and jap Ukraine, some civilians reached the relative security of a brief camp in Russian-held territory after being evacuated from the bombed-out ruins of a steelworks within the metropolis of Mariupol.

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The strategic jap port metropolis on the Azov Sea has endured probably the most damaging siege of the struggle, with Pope Francis, in an implicit criticism of Russia, telling hundreds of individuals in St Peter’s Sq. on Sunday it had been “barbarously bombarded.” [nL2N2WT05D

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

Footage posted by Zelenskiy on Twitter on Sunday showed him, flanked by an armed escort and dressed in military fatigues, greeting a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Pelosi outside his presidential office the previous day.

“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” Pelosi, the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, said in a statement.

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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.

Pelosi mentioned on Friday she hoped to cross a $33 billion help package deal for Ukraine that President Joe Biden has requested “as quickly as attainable.”

Russia’s protection ministry mentioned on Sunday it had carried out a missile strike on a army airfield close to the port metropolis of Odesa, destroying a runway and a hangar containing weapons and ammunition provided to Ukraine by the USA and European international locations.

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

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

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MARIUPOL EVACUATIONS

Moscow has turned its focus to Ukraine’s south and east after failing to seize Kyiv within the early weeks of a struggle that has flattened cities, killed hundreds 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 tons of of holdout Ukrainian troops and civilians took shelter within the metropolis’s Soviet-era Azovstal metal works, the place they’ve been trapped with little meals, water or medication.

Round 50 civilians arrived at a brief lodging heart east of Mariupol on Sunday, a Reuters photographer mentioned, in a sign {that a} deal had lastly been reached to permit non-combatants to flee.

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 United Nations and Russian army autos.

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Negotiations to evacuate civilians from Mariupol have repeatedly damaged down in current weeks, with Russia and Ukraine blaming one another.

Earlier, Mariupol’s metropolis council and the native governor advised residents who wished to depart for the Ukrainian metropolis of Zaporizhzhia to collect at an evacuation level in Mariupol at 4 p.m. native time (1300 GMT).

Russia’s protection ministry mentioned that 46 civilians had left the world across the metal plant on Saturday.

EASTERN PUSH

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

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

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

Zelenskiy mentioned in a video deal with on Saturday night time that Russia was “gathering extra forces for brand spanking new assaults towards our army 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.

The ministry mentioned civilians had been killed and wounded however gave no additional particulars. There was no quick 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 army mentioned in a bulletin on Sunday that Russian forces had been combating 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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