Ukraine says Blinken in Kyiv for talks with Zelenskiy

STORY: An advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had arrived in Kyiv on Sunday and was holding talks with the country's leader.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was also expected in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday, marking the highest-level visit to Ukraine by U.S. officials since the start of the Russian invasion two months ago.

An aide to Zelenskiy told NBC News that Ukrainian officials planned to ask Blinken and Austin for more powerful weapons, such as anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems.

The White House has not confirmed any visit by the two. The State Department and Pentagon declined to comment.

In an emotional address at Kyiv's 1,000-year-old Saint Sophia Cathedral, Zelenskiy vowed his country would overcome “dark times.”

"Don't let rage destroy us from the inside. Turn it into our accomplishments on the outside. Turn it into a kind force to defeat the powers of evil."

Many across Ukraine observed Orthodox Easter on Sunday in bombed out churches, including in Kharkiv, where several residents have also taken shelter in a church basement.

Others braved conditions in the besieged port city Mariupol to celebrate the holiday.

“Thank God we have made it to Easter. I trust in God and I hope for peace, for a better life for my children."

In Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces attempted to storm the Azovstal steel plant, a main Ukrainian stronghold for the last of the city's defenders.

Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video address released by Zelenskiy's office on Sunday that Urkaine was offering Russia a "special" round of negotiations to be held in Mariupol to discuss the fate of the civilians and Ukrainian troops still trapped in the city.

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