Zelensky insists on Biden visit, ahead of Blinken, Austin's Kyiv arrival
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin will visit Kyiv
He expressed a wish for US President Joe Biden to visit
Kyiv will also host UN chief Antonio Guterres on April 28
Zelensky at a press conference said, "I don't think this is a secret that people from the US are coming to us tomorrow, State Secretary Mr Blinken and the defence secretary (Lloyd Austin) who are coming to us".
The Ukrainian president added, "we will be expecting, when the security will allow, the President of the United States to come and to talk to us."
Zelensky had earlier asked Biden to visit Kyiv as well. Apart from the top US administration officials, the Ukrainian president will also host the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on April 28. The United Nations chief is slated to visit Moscow before heading to Kyiv, and has expressed a desire to urge an end to the war. However, Zelensky is critical of Guterres meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The visits come at a time when Turkey has already expressed a desire for the Ukrainian and Russian presidents to meet in Istanbul and speak directly to end the war. Ankara shares a unique diplomatic relationship with both nations. However, before any possible diplomatic solution can be reached, the issue in Mariupol remains a critical issue. Putin announced the liberation of the Azov Sea port city, despite reports of a last Ukrainian resistance holed up at the Azovstal steel plant.
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Now, Ukraine has announced that Russia has commenced attacking the plant and made it clear that diplomatic talks will not be possible unless those at Mariupol are allowed to leave.
Russia's new approach has been a focused attack from the east and now they are making a push from the south as well. Ukrainian officials confirmed that there have been airstrikes in the Black Sea port city, Odesa, leaving five dead and eighteen injured.
Recently, Zelensky also criticized Russia for rejecting the Easter truce offer extended.