Amid Russian attacks, Zelenskyy says Ukrainian forces still holding on

Russian forces continued their attacks on the port city of Mariupol, focusing their attention on a steel plant housing both soldiers and civilians. In an appearance Saturday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces are still holding on amid the attacks and that a high level U.S. delegation would visit the next day. Ali Rogin reports.

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  • Geoff Bennett:

    Russian forces continued to batter the port city of Mariupol today, focusing their attention on a steel plant housing, both soldiers and civilians. But in a rare press conference today President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces are still holding on. He also broke some news about what would be the highest level American delegation to Ukraine since the war started. Correspondent Ali Rogin has our report.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Live from a subway station platform and Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a rare two our press conference. He announced a Sunday visit by the Secretaries of State and Defense Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin. U.S. officials would not confirm it. Zelenskyy said they should not come empty handed.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President (through translator):

    We're waiting not for just presents or cakes. We're expecting specific things and specific weapons.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Zelenskyy said that in besieged Mariupol, Russia quickly reversed its decision not to storm a steel plant were fighters and civilians sheltered.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy:

    And when the President of the Russian Federation was talking and he said there is a citadel there but we will not be advancing. And two hours later after that, there are air strikes happened.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Zelenskyy said Ukraine is still fighting back. But Russia insists they have control falsely claiming they've liberated Mariupol residents.

  • Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesperson (through translator):

    The situation in Mariupol is normal. City residents can freely move on the streets without hiding from shelling from Ukrainian Nazis.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Beyond the Mariupol standoff Russian attacks continue throughout the country. Today, they struck the southern port city of Odessa. Firefighters saved who they could, but Ukrainian officials say at least six people were killed, including a three month old baby.

    In the southern Donbass region where Moscow has concentrated its onslaught, a hospital caught fire following Russian shelling, but fire crews were able to extinguish the flames.

    In northeastern Kharkiv Ukrainian officials said a Russian barrage on Friday pounded a civilian neighborhood. Police mounted rescue missions and paramedics treated the wounded. Resident Nadezhda says she is desperate to leave but there are no good options.

  • Nadezhda, Kharkiv Resident (through translator):

    Terrible life. I need to leave but where? I have animals here. I was hoping it would be OK. Hope dies last.

  • Ali Rogin:

    So too does ingenuity, seamstresses in Kharkiv have traded fashion for flak jackets.

  • Natalia Leonova, Kharkiv Volunteer (through translator):

    Today we equipped 44 soldiers and tomorrow we will equip 44 soldiers and let God keep them all safe and sound.

  • Ali Rogin:

    A prayer that these volunteers hope make it from the sewing table to the battlefield. For "PBS News Weekend," I'm Ali Rogin.

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