Five key developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Now into its third week, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw one of its deadly attacks this weekend with strikes on a military base just miles from Poland’s border.
And as Ukrainian forces continue to defend their country in the air and on the ground, concerns are mounting that a frustrated Russian President Vladimir Putin could turn to chemical weapons.
Though various diplomatic efforts to end the war have shown little success so far, senior U.S. and Chinese officials are set to meet this week over the war, as Moscow reportedly turns to Beijing for military and economic help.
Here are five weekend developments to know about Moscow’s invasion:
35 people killed in missile strike near Ukraine’s border with Poland
Russian missile strikes killed at least 35 people and injured more than 130 on Sunday near Ukraine’s border with Poland.
Russia forces used over 30 cruise missiles to target a training center in Yavoriv, a city under 15 miles from Poland, which had been a hub for Western militaries training Ukrainian troops.
Poland’s border has served as a crucial route for transporting Western aid to Ukraine amid the attack.
Since the state of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky said that roughly 79 children, 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers and 12,00 Russian troops have been killed.
US, Chinese officials set to meet in Rome on Monday
Chinese and U.S. officials are set to convene in Rome on Monday to discuss Moscow’s ongoing attacks in Ukraine.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will meet with top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi as Russia reportedly reaches out to Beijing for military and economic assistance amid the war. Sullivan on Sunday warned Beijing against providing any such assistance.
In other diplomatic news, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron held a 75-minute call with Putin on Saturday as part of the “ongoing international efforts to end the war in Ukraine.” The leaders pushed for an immediate cease-fire.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced on Saturday that the U.S. authorized $200 million in defensive assistance for Ukraine at the request of President Biden.
Roughly 13,000 evacuated from Ukrainian cities
Roughly 13,000 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities on Saturday in what has become the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
Over 2.5 million people have fled the country since Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine started just two weeks ago.
However, citizens have been unable to escape the besieged city of Mariupol. Last Saturday, evacuations were paused in Mariupol and Volnovakha after Russian forces reportedly violated a cease-fire agreement for civilian evacuation routes.
Earlier in the week, Zelensky said that over 100,000 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities but noted that “Mariupol and Volnovakha remain completely blockaded.”
Two Ukrainian mayors reportedly kidnapped by Russian forces
Yevhen Matveyev, the mayor of the southern town of Dniprorudne, was reportedly abducted by Russian forces, Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Sunday.
His kidnapping comes just days after Russia arrested Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the southern city of Melitopol.
Zelensky called Federov’s arrest a kidnapping.
During talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Zelensky asked for help with the release of Fedorov, adding that “we must stop the aggressor together.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko sounded a defiant note on Sunday as Russian forces surrounded the city.
“I’m ready to fight and ready to defend the interest of citizens which give me the rights to do that,” he said. “But every Ukrainian right now, every Ukrainian right now is actually a target.”
American journalist killed in Irpen
American journalist and documentarian Brent Renaud was shot dead in Irpen, spurring an outpouring of grief from the journalism and media communities.
The 51-year-old’s death prompted condolences from the editorial leadership for Time Magazine, which Renaud was working for around the time of his death, as well as from leadership from the Nieman Foundation and other journalists.
“A filmmaker without parallel who was working on a global film project about refugees. My thoughts are with his brother and his friends and family,” said PBS NewsHour special correspondent Simon Ostrovsky.