Zelenskyy: senior US officials visit kyiv

Top U.S. defense and diplomatic officials are scheduled to meet with Ukraine’s president on Sunday in the capital Kyiv. The meeting comes two months into the invasion as Russian forces step up their attacks in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the meeting on Saturday while standing at a subway station. He said he would meet with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the Secretary of Defense to discuss the type of weapons Ukraine needs and the timeline for delivery. US officials declined to comment. Zelenskyy also stressed that he was ready to continue negotiations with Russia.

A senior Russian commander said the second phase of the military operation had begun. Russian military troops are on the move, apparently in preparation for massive attacks. The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that its high-precision missiles hit nine Ukrainian military targets, including some weapons depots in the Kharkiv region where artillery weapons were stored. Russia said its forces also destroyed an arms depot in the Dnipropetrovsk region that produces explosives for the Ukrainian military.

The Ukrainian military said Russian missiles hit a military installation and two residential buildings in the southern city of Odessa. Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov said the death toll from the missile attack had risen to at least eight, including a 3-month-old girl.

Ukraine appears ready to put up fierce resistance to the east and south, relying on military aid from the United States and European countries.
The Russian invasion also damages the cultural heritage of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said on Sunday they had documented at least 242 cases of Russian war crimes against cultural property. Damaged facilities include historic churches and other religious sites, libraries and theaters.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that as of Friday, more than 5.16 million people had fled Ukraine. More than half of them were evacuated to Poland.