Kiev reports fending off Russian advances after secretive U.S. meeting

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Berlin/Moscow, April 25, 2022 (dpa/NAN) A series of Russian offensives have been blocked in eastern Ukraine, according to reports out of Kiev early on Monday.

The news came after a night of secretive meetings between Ukrainian officials and visiting U.S. envoys.

Few details emerged though it was believed that they were talking about further military aid to Ukraine, now in its third month of fending off a Russian invasion.

According to Ukrainian officials, the overnight attacks were an attempt to make headway toward Kramatorsk, an eastern city of about 150,000.

That meant attacks also affecting places like Izium, Barvinkove and Komyshuvakha, the country’s general staff reported on Monday.

In other parts of Donetsk and the southern theatre, Russian attacks were limited to artillery fire on Ukrainian positions, including on the besieged city of Mariupol.

There was also an attempt to storm the town of Popasna.

Ukrainian forces reported that the Russians lost 13 tanks and other military items.

The reports were impossible to confirm independently.

U.S. media reported after the late-night visit on Sunday by U.S. Defence Secretary Lioyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken that more high-level diplomatic visits were expected this week.

More offers of military aid were apparently expected.

The two men met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as well as other high-ranking Cabinet officials.

Most details about the visit even its planning were kept under tight wraps by the White House.

U.S. President Joe Biden did say that he planned to return the U.S. diplomatic presence to Ukraine.

Like most other countries, U.S. diplomats fled Ukraine at the start of the war, when it looked as if Russian forces could take the capital.

He said he would nominate Bridget Brink, the current U.S. envoy to Slovakia, to be ambassador to Ukraine.

He also reported that he wanted to boost military aid to Ukraine and 15 other Eastern European nations by 713 million dollars, according to the New York Times.

The money was reportedly planned to help Ukrainian forces modernise their weapons systems.