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Latest on Ukraine: Kim Jong Un to meet with Putin; G20 statement; Blinken visits Kyiv

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prior to their talks in Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. The two leaders are due to meet again in Vladivostok this week.
Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prior to their talks in Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. The two leaders are due to meet again in Vladivostok this week.

Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch

The Kremlin confirms that a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East, "in the coming days." The meeting comes amid U.S. claims that Putin is eager to secure additional North Korean arms for Russia's war in Ukraine — perhaps in exchange for food aid or technological support. The two leaders last met in 2019.

Justice ministers from Council of Europe member statesare meeting to discuss support for the Ukrainian justice system, with a focus on war crimes investigation and Russian abduction of Ukrainian children.

Russia's Central Bank will meet Friday on rates, a month after it hiked them.

What happened last week

Leaders at the G20 summit in New Delhi issued a statementsaying "all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible." The statement took note of "human suffering and negative added impacts of the war in Ukraine," but did not name Russia as the aggressor in the war. Ukraine's foreign ministry spokesman criticizedthe joint statement, calling it "nothing to be proud of."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, to show U.S. support and assess Ukraine's counteroffensive. He announced $1 billion in new assistance. The Pentagon said depleted uranium anti-tank shells would be included in a package that is part of the new aid. Blinken's visit came as Russian missile strikes on a market in eastern Ukraine killed at least 17 and wounded many more.

International volunteers with the Road to Relief aid groupcame under attackby Russian shelling as they were driving from Sloviansk toward Bakhmut, leaving two of the aid workers dead and two severely wounded. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed condolences to the families of the victims and thanked everyone who helps Ukraine survive and save lives.

Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar businessman, was named Ukraine's new defense minister, replacing Oleksii Reznikov, who was seen as instrumental in securing Western weapons — but also tarnished by a series of procurement scandals in his ministry.

A new biography of Elon Musk reveals thatMusk withheld access to his Starlink satellite internet service for the Ukrainian military at a point last year when it intended to conduct a drone attack on a Russian naval fleet. Musk defended his decision in a tweet, saying, "If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation." Meanwhile, The Financial Times, quoting Ukrainian deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov,reportsthat the new biography includes Ukrainian government messages without authorization.

UNESCO announced "enhanced protection" of 20 Ukrainian cultural sites and said it would train Ukrainian security forces and judiciary personnel in protection of heritage.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saidRussian strikes have damaged or destroyed at least 26 civilian port infrastructure facilities, warehouses, silos and grain elevators since July. Sunak's office confirmed that the U.K. is conducting surveillance and reconnaissance flights in the Black Sea to "deter Russia from carrying out illegal strikes against civilian vessels transporting grain."

In-depth

Ukraine strains to safely operate nuclear power plants while under Russian invasion.

Turkey has failed to persuade Russia to rejoin the Ukraine grain deal.

Whatever happened to the Ukrainian refugees who found a haven in Brazil?

Odesa beaches reopen, offering Ukrainians a respite from war.

Love, war and loss: How one soldier in Ukraine hopes to be made whole again.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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NPR Staff