With the Ukraine war now in its third month, top US officials – secretary of state Antony Blinken and defence secretary Lloyd Austin – visited the war-battered nation’s capital Kyiv as Washington assured a fresh military support. A $165 million ammunition sale and the return of diplomats in the coming days was also assured. The fight is still raging in key port city Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant where some 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are holding on, according to reports.
Here are ten points on the Ukraine war:
1. “Two months of heroic nationwide resistance to the Russian aggression have passed. I’m grateful to @POTUS and the people of 🇺🇸 for leadership in supporting Ukraine. Today the Ukrainian people are united and strong, and 🇺🇦-🇺🇸 friendship and partnership are stronger than ever! (sic)”, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky said in one of his latest tweets.
2. He was replying to this tweet by US president Joe Biden: “Two months after Putin launched an unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine, Kyiv still stands. President Zelenskyy and his democratically-elected government remain in power. We will continue to support Ukrainians in their fight to defend their homeland. “
3. In the first visit to the war-battered country since the war started, the top US diplomats have promised an aid of 700 million dollars.
4. Zelensky met the US officials Sunday, as the port city of Mariupol’s defences were “on the brink of collapse” and Kyiv was in dire need of offensive weapons, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
5. Russia’s decision to besiege rather than attack Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant means many Russian units remain fixed in the city and cannot be redeployed, according to the UK’s ministry of defence. “Ukraine’s defence of Mariupol has also exhausted many Russian units and reduced their combat effectiveness,” it said, citing intel inputs.
6. According to an AFP report, the United States has sent some $4 billion in military aid since Biden’s term began last year, and already announced Thursday a new $800 million aid package to bolster Ukraine in their fight against Russian troops in the country’s east.
7. Russia has lost over 21,000 troops in the two months of war, according to the Ukraine’s foreign ministry.
8. United Nations chief Antonio Guterres will this week meet the presidents of both Russia and Ukraine. However, Zelensky said he should have come to Kyiv first.
9. Air raid sirens were heard in the war-hit country early Sunday evening, from Lviv in the far west to Odessa on the Black Sea to Kharkiv in the north.
10. Zelensky has said the country would need billions to rebuild as it continues its fight,
(With inputs from AP, AFP, Reuters)