Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 26)
As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to a U.N. statement, Putin "agreed, in principle," to U.N. and International Committee of the Red Cross involvement in evacuating civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. Guterres urged Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to call a cease-fire in Ukraine. Lavrov blamed Western arms shipments to Ukraine for undermining peace talks. On Monday, Lavrov warned the West not to underestimate the elevated risks of nuclear conflict over Ukraine and said he viewed NATO as "in essence" being engaged in a proxy war with Russia by supplying Kyiv with weaponry.
In Germany, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted military officials from 40 countries for talks on how to help Ukraine win the war and "strengthen the arsenal of Ukrainian democracy." Austin said Tuesday's consultative meeting will turn into a monthly "contact group" to ensure continued military support for Ukraine. Germany, which has been reluctant to provide heavy weapons, announced that it would approve the delivery of Gepard anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine.
A Russian-occupied area of Moldova blames Ukrainian militants for attacks. The president of Trans-Dniester, an unrecognized, self-proclaimed independent republic that shares a border with Ukraine, says his government has traced attacks this week to Ukraine, according to Russian state media. President Vadim Krasnoselsky called on Kyiv to investigate what he called infiltration of Ukrainian militant groups. Ukraine's Ministry of Defense described the attacks as Russian "false-flag" operations to spark panic and provide a potential pretext of mobilizing Russian troops to attack Ukraine.
The U.N. projects that more than8 million people will flee Ukraine. The U.N. refugee agency is calling for $1.85 billion in additional financial support for Ukrainians displaced by war, and for their host countries. The number of Ukrainians who've fled their country since February surpassed 5 million last week and is projected to reach 8.3 million. More than 7 million are displaced within Ukraine.
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You can read more news from Tuesday here and more daily recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find NPR's full coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.
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