ROME – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with the Italian president and prime minister in Rome on Saturday before visiting Pope Francis at the Vatican. It was the first time Zelensky met the pontiff since the Russian invasion, though ultimately Francis’ influence on the conflict may be limited.
Ukrainian officials declared an airstrike across the country early Saturday morning and reported casualties. They noted that the cities of Nikopol, Khmelnytskyi and Nikolayev were subjected to Russian strikes. Air sirens were also sounded in the capital city of Kyiv and the port city of Odessa. Meanwhile, pro-Russian officials in Luhansk, a breakaway Ukrainian region backed and occupied by the Kremlin, reported explosions they blamed on Ukrainian forces.