Pelosi, other Democrats visit Kyiv as Ukraine’s east comes under heavy new fire

0
136

LVIV, Ukraine — 

Denouncing Russia’s “diabolical invasion” of its smaller neighbor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, both officials said Sunday, as fierce new fighting flared in the country’s east.

In a 10th week of warfare, Russia said Sunday it struck 800 targets overnight and early Sunday with missile and artillery fire, marking an intensified battle tempo along a crescent-shaped front line stretching 300 miles from southeast to northeast.

Moscow, which has signaled wider ambitions to seize the entirety of Ukraine’s southern Black Sea coast and render the country landlocked, confirmed it had taken aim a day earlier at the airport outside the major port city of Odesa. Ukrainian officials said earlier those strikes on Saturday left the airport inoperable.

Russia’s defense ministry routinely describes its targets as military ones, but at least two Ukrainian regional governors depicted the brunt of the latest carnage as falling on civilians.

Oleh Synyehubov, the governor of Kharkiv, where the country’s second-largest city is located, on Sunday took to the Telegram messaging app to urge civilians to stay in shelters because shelling was so intense. Serhiy Gaidai — governor of Luhansk, one of the two provinces making up the Donbas, the industrial heartland Russia covets — begged people to flee while they still could.

The United Nations, meanwhile, was attempting to broker a temporary cease-fire in the besieged port city of Mariupol, after a trickle of evacuees managed to emerge from a giant steel plant where hundreds of civilians are hunkered down amid some 2,000 Ukrainian fighters.

In Kyiv, Pelosi’s visit on Saturday evening marked the highest-level U.S. visit to the embattled country’s capital since the war began. Zelensky placed his hand on his heart as he greeted the speaker, who was accompanied by a congressional delegation that included Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)