Pelosi visits Kyiv; ruble to be used in occupied Kherson from today, UK says. Follow our live updates

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Russia wants to impose ‘strong political and economic influence’ over Kherson, UK says

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Russia is introducing its currency into the Ukrainian city of Kherson from today, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defense,

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In its latest intelligence update on Twitter, the ministry said Russia has been seeking to legitimize its control of the city since seizing it in March and is looking to exert “strong political and economic influence” in the area.

“Recent statements from this administration include declaring a return to Ukrainian control ‘impossible’ and announcing a four-month currency transition from the Ukrainian hryvnia to the Russian rouble. The Russian rouble is due to be used in Kherson from today,” the tweet said .

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Kherson is a strategically important port city for Russia, just over 100 km from Crimea, which the Kremlin annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

“Enduring control over Kherson and its transport links will increase Russia’s ability to sustain its advance to the north and west and improve the security of Russia’s control over Crimea,” the UK added.

Also on Sunday, Russia’s state-controlled media claimed that Ukraine “nationalists” had shelled the villages of Kiselevka and Shiroka Balka in the Kherson region. Those claims cannot be independently verified by NBC.

separately, the Kyiv Independent reported this weekend that mobile and internet services had been shut down in the Kherson oblast (or administrative district).

, Katrina Bishop

Nancy Pelosi visits Kyiv

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Ukraine’s capital.

Posting a Telegram video which shows the pair meeting and shaking hands, Zelenskyy described the United States as a “leader in strong support” for Ukraine.

“Meeting with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in Kyiv. The United States is a leader in strong support of Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. Thank you for helping to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state!” he wrote, according to an NBC translation.

— Katrina Bishop

‘Every Russian soldier can still save his own life’: Zelenskyy urges invading troops not to fight

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy switched into Russian in his nightly video address to urge Russian soldiers not to fight in Ukraine, saying even their generals expected that thousands of them would die.

He said Russia has been recruiting new troops “with little motivation and little combat experience” for the units that were gutted during the early weeks of the war so these units can be thrown back into battle.

He said Russian commanders fully understand that thousands of them will die and thousands more will be wounded in the coming weeks.

“The Russian commanders are lying to their soldiers when they tell them they can expect to be held seriously responsible for refusing to fight and then also don’t tell them, for example, that the Russian army is preparing additional refrigerator trucks for storing the bodies . They don’t tell them about the new losses the generals expect,” Zelenskyy said late Saturday.

“Every Russian soldier can still save his own life. It’s better for you to survive in Russia than to perish on our land,” he said.

— Associated Press

Poland struggles to house 2.9 million refugees; Warsaw rental prices soar

More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled their country since Russia attacked in late February, and the country that has been taken in more than half of them is showing signs of strain.

NBC News reported over the weekend that Poland has given shelter to about 2.9 million Ukrainians, but the NATO country is running low on everything from classrooms to housing.

The population of Warsaw, Poland’s capital, has grown by 15 percent since the war started.

Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski visited the United States this week to ask for more help from the international community, NBC News said. He warned that Warsaw is unable to absorb another wave of refugees.

Thousands of Poles have welcomed Ukrainians into their homes, but many have already filled their spare rooms.

The number of Warsaw apartments available for rent has fallen, NBC News said, with rental prices rising more than 30 percent since the end of February.

Read the full NBC News report here,

— Ted Kemp

Sweden says Russian plane violated its airspace

Sweden says a Russian military plane has violated Swedish airspace.

The incident happened late Friday in the Baltic Sea near the island of Bornholm.

In a statement Saturday, the Swedish Armed Forces said a Russian AN-30 propeller plane flew toward Swedish airspace and briefly entered it before leaving the area.

The Swedish Air Force scrambled fighter jets that photographed the Russian plane.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish public radio that the violation was “unacceptable” and “unprofessional.”

In a similar incident in early March four Russian warplanes violated Swedish airspace over the Baltic Sea.

Sweden and neighboring Finland are both considering NATO membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has warned that such a move would have consequences, without giving specifics.

, Associated Press

Ukraine says 20 civilians evacuated from besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

A Ukrainian commander said 20 civilians were evacuated Saturday from the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol, according to a video posted to Telegram and translated by NBC News.

Earlier in the day, Russian state media had reported that 25 civilians were evacuated from the plant. CNBC could not independently confirm either claim.

In recent weeks, Russian forces had all but surrounded the strategic coastal town of Mariupol making the steel facility the city’s last stronghold.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he personally requested that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov coordinate an evacuation for civilians trapped in the steel facility during in-person talks in Moscow last week. Following discussions in Moscow, Guterres traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

, Amanda Macias


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