IRPIN, Ukraine — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has paid a surprise visit to Ukraine amid Russia’s war against the country.
Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne and Irpin Mayor Olexander Markushyn announced Trudeau’s visit to Irpin, which had been damaged by the Russian attempt to take Kyiv earlier in the war. Markushyn posted pictures of Trudeau on social media and said the Canadian leader was shocked at the damage he saw to civilian homes.
Trudeau is the latest Western leader to come to Ukraine to offer his support to the country.
His office later confirmed the visit, saying in a statement: “The Prime Minister is in Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.”
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Dozens of Ukrainians feared death after Russian strike at school
– Jill Biden makes a surprise Mother’s Day visit to Ukraine, where he meets the First Lady
— Europe’s farmers are stirring up biogas to offset Russian energy
— With Ukrainian ports blocked, trains in Europe are transporting grain
Follow all AP reports on Russia’s war against Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
UZHHOROD, Ukraine — US First Lady Jill Biden paid an unannounced visit to western Ukraine on Sunday and held a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with the nation’s First Lady Olena Zelenska as Russia presses ahead with its punitive war in the eastern regions.
Traveling under the guise of secrecy, Biden became the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week conflict with Russia.
Her visit follows recent visits to the war-torn country by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, as well as a joint trip by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
The first lady traveled by vehicle to the city of Uzhhorod from a Slovak village bordering Ukraine.
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — Dozens of Ukrainians were feared dead on Sunday after a Russian bomb leveled a school with about 90 people in its basement, while Ukrainian troops refused to surrender at a beleaguered steel mill that Moscow’s invading forces were preparing for Russia’s Victory Day holidays were quickly taking hold.
The governor of Luhansk province, one of two areas that make up the eastern industrial heartland known as Donbass, said the school in the village of Bilohorivka caught fire after Saturday’s bombing. Rescuers found two bodies and rescued 30 people, he said.
“Most likely all 60 people who remained under the rubble are now dead,” Gov. Serhiy Haidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Russian shelling also killed two boys, aged 11 and 14, in the nearby town of Pryvillia, he said.
KIEV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the speaker of the German Bundestag during her visit to Kyiv on Sunday and discussed further defense aid and sanctions against Russia, Zelenskyy’s press office said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Accordingly, Selenskyj told the Bundestag President Bärbel Bas that Ukraine expects “strong and self-confident leadership from Germany” when it comes to helping Kyiv combat Russian aggression.
He referred to the resolution recently passed by the Bundestag calling on the federal government to expand and speed up the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine. He also expressed confidence in Berlin’s official support for granting Ukraine EU candidate status.
“We really appreciate that on the day of remembrance and reconciliation itself and at a time of war that was so difficult for us, the President of the German Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, came to support Ukraine,” one said Post published in Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel on Sunday afternoon.
The Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for the Fallen of World War II, observed on May 8th and 9th, is an annual international day of remembrance established by a 2004 UN resolution.
In an interview with the Rheinische Post, Bas described her meeting with Zelenskyy as “very good and friendly” and added that she came to Ukraine because it was “important for her to personally express Germany’s solidarity with Ukraine”.
She added that Germany will do everything in its power to support Ukraine, including supporting its efforts to join the European Union and providing reconstruction assistance.
MARIUPOL, Ukraine — In a show of success in time for Russia’s most important holiday, Victory Day, on Monday, the Russian military on Sunday worked to complete the takeover of the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which has been under relentless attacks since the war began.
The sprawling seafront steel mill, where an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters put up a last stand, is the only part of the city not under Russian control.
All of the remaining women, children and elderly civilians who took refuge with militants at the Azovstal plant were evacuated on Saturday. Ukrainian troops rejected deadlines set by the Russians, who said the defenders could die if they laid down their arms.
Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, a battalion of Ukraine’s National Guard holding the steelworks, told an online press conference on Sunday that the site was attacked by three sorties of fighter jets, artillery and tanks overnight.
“We’re under constant fire,” he said, adding that Russian infantry had tried to storm the plant — a claim Russian officials have denied in recent days — and to lay landmines. Palamar said there had been a “multiple casualties” at the facility.
Lt. Ilya Samoilenko, another member of the Azov regiment, said there were “a few hundred” wounded soldiers at the plant.
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — Sparks fly as a circular saw cuts into metal while nearby welders work feverishly to the sounds of pounding heavy metal. Above, sewing machines rattle as women mark patterns on fabrics that are formed into bulletproof vests.
An old industrial complex in southeast Ukraine’s riverside town of Zaporizhzhia has become a hive of activity for volunteers who produce everything from body armor and anti-tank obstacles to camouflage nets, portable heaters and rifle slings for Ukrainian soldiers fighting the Russian invasion. One department specializes in vehicles, some armored, others converted into ambulances. Another organizes food and medicine deliveries.
With frontlines across Ukraine, some departments of the operation, such as sewing bulletproof vests, work around the clock in shifts to meet demand. Crowdfunding has raised enough money to buy steel from Sweden, Finland and Belgium, which is lighter than local steel, organizers say, a crucial grade for body armor.
Kyiv, Ukraine – After rescue workers evacuated the last civilians from the besieged Mariupol Steel Plant, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address that work to secure humanitarian corridors for residents of Mariupol and surrounding towns would continue on Sunday .
The Ukrainian government has contacted international organizations to try and ensure safe passage for the fighters who remain in the plant’s underground tunnels and bunkers.
The Ukrainian leader was expected to hold online talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and leaders from other Group of Seven countries on Sunday. The meeting is intended, in part, to demonstrate the unity of the Western allies on Victory Day in Europe, which marks Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.
Kyiv, Ukraine – On Sunday, explosions echoed again over the major Black Sea port of Odessa, which Russia hit with six cruise missiles on Saturday, while rocket fire damaged about 250 homes, according to the city council.
Ukrainian leaders warned that attacks would only worsen ahead of Victory Day, the May 9 holiday when Russia celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 with military parades. Russian President Vladimir Putin probably wants to announce some kind of triumph in Ukraine when he addresses the troops in Red Square on Monday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a video address on Sunday marking the day of Allied Victory in Europe 77 years ago, drawing parallels between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the evils of Nazism.
The black-and-white video posted to social media showed Zelenskyy standing in front of a destroyed apartment block in Borodyanka, one of the Kyiv suburbs vandalized weeks ago before Russian troops withdrew from the capital region.
“Every year, on May 8, along with the entire civilized world, we pay our respects to all who defended the planet against Nazism during World War II,” said Zelenskyy, adding that previous generations of Ukrainians understood the importance of the Words “Never again,” a phrase often used as a vow never to allow the horrors of the Holocaust to be repeated.
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