Sixty feared dead in bombing of Ukraine school; G7 condemns Putin

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said on Telegram that he visited Mariupol on Sunday, the country’s most senior government figure to set foot in the city after weeks of Russian bombardment.

Khusnullin, who is in charge of construction and urban development, visited the commercial port there and said it should serve to bring in building materials to restore the city, according to the Russian defence ministry’s Zvezda TV channel.

A number of Western officials, including US first lady Jill Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a German parliament head and the Norwegian foreign minister arrived in Ukraine on Sunday in a show of support. A team of US diplomats also arrived in Kyiv for the first time since the invasion.

Putin sent Victory Day messages to separatist leaders in Luhansk and Donetsk, saying Russia was fighting shoulder to shoulder with them and likening their joint efforts to the war against Nazi Germany. “Victory will be ours,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin press release on Sunday.

Russia’s efforts have been stymied by logistical and equipment problems and high casualties in the face of fierce resistance.

Putin will preside on Monday over a parade in Moscow’s Red Square of troops, tanks, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles, making a speech that could offer clues on the future of the war.

The Russians “have nothing to celebrate tomorrow,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on CNN. “They have not succeeded in defeating the Ukrainians. They have not succeeded in dividing the world or dividing NATO.”