As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
President Biden named his pick for ambassador to Ukraine. He announced that Bridget Brink, a career diplomat and current ambassador to Slovakia, is the nominee for the post that has been vacant since 2019. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv this weekend, said the U.S. would send millions more dollars’ worth of aid and is beginning to send diplomats back to the country after evacuating embassy personnel to Poland in February.
Russia fired missiles at five rail infrastructure targets in central and western Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s national rail service. At least five people were killed and 18 were injured in strikes at railway stations in the west-central region of Vinnytsia, according to The Associated Press. The strikes cut electricity to several rail lines and delayed passenger service on dozens of trains. The attacks came within hours of a visit by the U.S. secretary of state and defense secretary.
Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. called on the Biden administration to stop shipping weapons to Ukraine. In an interview with state media, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said he had delivered a formal diplomatic note to contest the arms deliveries. Russia has previously warned it views NATO weapons deliveries as legitimate military targets.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said it would allow civilians to evacuate from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, but Ukraine said no humanitarian corridor agreement was reached. The plant is the last remaining Ukrainian-held outpost in the port city, which Russian forces have blockaded for much of the last two months. This weekend, Russia called in airstrikes on the steel factory to dislodge Ukrainian troops holding out there.
Much of Europe welcomed the French election result, in which President Emmanuel Macron won a second term. His far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, campaigned for a strategic shift for France that would have involved pulling it out of NATO’s integrated military command and backing closer NATO ties with Russia once the Ukraine war ends. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Macron on his reelection, according to the Kremlin. Macron has worked toward diplomacy with Russia over Ukraine, including a Moscow visit in February and repeated phone calls with Putin.
Russian forces were driven out of this village outside Kharkiv, Ukraine.
How oil funds Russia’s war in Ukraine.
French zombie comedy ‘Z’ changes its name ahead of Cannes, at Ukrainians’ urging.
The war has many Ukrainians who speak Russian abandoning the language.
Finding joy on Easter Sunday in Ukraine.
You can read more news from Monday here and more daily recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find NPR’s full coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.