U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with U.S. troops in Poland on Monday, who were sent to the region in March to support NATO forces against Russian aggression in Ukraine. Photo courtesy Nancy Pelosi/Twitter
May 2 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised Polish President Andrzej Duda during a meeting Monday that the United States will keep up support for Ukrainian refugees and repelling Russian aggression.
Pelosi and a delegation of U.S. lawmakers met with Duda a day after the group traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the fighting across Ukraine is not in its third month.
Polish leaders including Duda have expressed serious concern that if Ukraine falls, Poland could be next.
"In our meeting, our members expressed America's deep gratitude to the Polish government and Polish people for opening their hearts and homes to Ukrainian refugees, and we reaffirmed our nation's pledge to continue supporting Poland's humanitarian efforts," Pelosi said in a statement.
"Our members discussed our countries' continued commitment to Ukraine, particularly as the Congress prepares to transform President [Joe] Biden's new request for additional security, economic and humanitarian assistance into legislation."
Pelosi said that Monday's meeting also reaffirmed a U.S. commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Poland partnership and the NATO alliance. She said that both are "vital to ensuring the triumph of our common democratic values and countering Putin's dangerous aggression."
Meanwhile, in the southern port city of Mariupol, commander Denys Shleha said that Russian forces have again started targeting the Azovstal steel plant after some civilians there were evacuated.
For weeks, civilians and some Ukrainian troops have been holed up in the plant, which is believed to be the last Ukrainian stronghold in the city.
"As soon as the evacuation of civilians was completed yesterday, the enemy began using all kinds of weapons," said Shleha, commander of the 12th Operational Brigade of the National Guard, according to CNN. "The [Russian] naval artillery worked on Azovstal from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m."
Moscow's defense ministry said on Sunday that at least 40 civilians, including 14 women and eight children, were evacuated from residential buildings near the plant. Shleha said about 200 people, including 20 children, are left on the premises.
Some of those evacuees from Mariupol and others from Russian-controlled territories arrived at a reception center in Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine's southeast on Monday. Those evacuees arrived in their own vehicles, officials said.
Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, was again attacked on Sunday. The regional government leader said that multiple people were killed and several were injured.
In Russian-held Kherson, Ukrainian officials said that Moscow appears to have instituted an Internet blackout and installed the Russian ruble as its currency.
Lyubov Ivanovna Vlasenko, 70, (L) and her husband Gennady Ivanovich Sergeev, 74, eat lunch in the basement-turned bunker moments after Russian artillery landed approximately 800 meters away in the Pyatikhatki district, of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 1, 2022. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo