Zelenskiy Visits Key Ally Poland As Russian Shelling Kills Civilians In Eastern Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on April 5 arrived in Poland, one of Ukraine’s closest Western allies, Warsaw announced, as Ukrainian forces continue to put up a stern resistance in the east, where Russian troops have been attempting for months to capture Bakhmut and several other key cities in the Donetsk region.

“The president has crossed the Polish border, he is on Polish territory,” Polish presidential aide Marcin Przydacz told TVN24 television.

Four civilians were killed and 11 were wounded in the Donetsk region by Russian shelling overnight, the region’s governor, Pavlo Kirylenko, said on April 5.

Three people were wounded by Russian bombardment in the southern region of Kherson, the regional administation said, and one person was wounded in Sumy region, local officials reported.

Ukrainian defenders repelled more than 60 Russian attacks over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s General Staff reported in its daily bulletin on April 5, adding that most attacks continued to focus on Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka.

Russian forces also launched an unsuccessful assault on Bohdanivka in the Donetsk region, the military said. A total of 17 Iranian-made drones were launched by Moscow’s forces overnight, the military reported, without giving details.

In Warsaw, Zelenskiy is due to meet with President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish presidency said, although the visit has not been officially confirmed by Kyiv.

Poland has been instrumental in mobilizing Western military and political support for its eastern neighbor since the start of Russia’s unprovoked invasion more than one year ago.

It also gave Ukraine direct military aid, including MiG-29 fighter jets, some of which arrived in Ukraine on April 4, according to Przydacz.

Zelenskiy’s visit “should be regarded as a sign of trust and of Ukraine thanking Poland and Poles,” Przydacz told Polish television on April 4.

Poland has also been host to some 1 million Ukrainian refugees, and Zelenskiy, accompanied by Duda, is due to meet at Warsaw’s Royal Castle with some of the Ukrainians who have found shelter in the neighboring country.

Zelenskiy on April 4 spoke by phone with the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to discuss fresh EU sanctions on Russia for its war in Ukraine.

“Areas of support for Ukraine was touched upon during the call, in particular, the need to prepare the 11th package of sanctions against Russia, Zelenskiy’s office said an April 4.

On February 24, a day that marked the anniversary of the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU adopted the 10th package of sanctions since the stary of the war that contained “targeted restricted measures against individuals and entities supporting the war, spreading propaganda or delivering drones used by Russia in the war.”

Von der Leyen tweeted after the meeting that Ukraine will be an important topic during her meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron will visit China from April 5-April 7.

On the eve of his departure for Beijing, Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed China on the phone and affirmed their intention to engage the Chinese leadership to speed up the end of the war in Ukraine, the French presidency said.

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