Ukraine will not give up the city of Mariupol and lay down arms, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said early on Monday.
The Russian defence ministry said Ukrainian and foreign armed units must drop their weapons “without exception” and leave between 7am and 9am (UK time) on Monday, in exchange for safe passage out of town.
Mariupol residents were given until 5am (local time) to respond to the demand, which included them raising a white flag. Russia did not say what action it would take if the offer were rejected.
“There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms,” the Ukrainska Pravda news portal quoted Ms Vereshchuk as saying.
“We have already informed the Russian side about this.”
Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said Russian forces would allow two corridors out of the coastal city, heading either east towards Russia or west to other parts of Ukraine.
Ms Vereshchuk said: “I wrote: ‘Instead of wasting time on eight pages of letters, just open the corridor.'”
President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN that Ukrainians “have not greeted Russian soldiers with a bunch of flowers”, but with “weapons in their hands”.
Moscow could not hope to rule the country, given Ukrainians’ enmity towards the Russian forces, he said.
Vladimir Putin has been accused of “abducting and deporting” thousands of civilians from Mariupol and transporting them deep inside Russia. Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, said she was “appalled” by the Kremlin’s atrocities in Mariupol.
Speaking in a video address early on Monday, Mr Zelensky said about 400 civilians were taking shelter at an art school in the besieged Azov Sea port city when it was struck by a Russian bomb.
“They are under the rubble, and we don’t know how many of them have survived,” he said. “But we know that we will certainly shoot down the pilot who dropped that bomb, like about 100 other such mass murderers whom we already have downed.”
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