On Sunday morning, Russia warned Ukrainian forces fighting in Mariupol to give up their weapons to save their lives, but three hours after the ultimatum went into effect at 3 pm GMT in the strategic southeastern port, no immediate activity was reported.
Earlier in the day, air strikes were heard across the country, as they do regularly, and an early morning deployment by the Ukrainian army said Russian airstrikes on Mariupol had continued during the “seaport raids.”
Local media have claimed an explosion in Kiev’s capital, but the city’s deputy mayor, Mykola Povoroznik, said there had been no explosions and that the air defense system had thwarted the Russian attack.
On Saturday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said its troops had evacuated the metropolitan area of Mariupol, leaving a small contingent of Ukrainian fighters inside a huge steelwork.
Moscow’s claim that it has gained almost complete control of Mariupol, the bloodiest battlefield of the war and the worst humanitarian catastrophe, could not be independently verified. It will be the first major city to fall to Russian forces since their attack on February 24.
“The catastrophic situation at the Azovostal Metallurgical Plant, as well as driven by a purely humanitarian policy, the Russian Armed Forces offered militants from the Nationalist Battalion and foreign mercenaries from 17 April 06:00 (Moscow time). , 2022, to stop any hostilities and to keep their weapons, “the defense ministry said in a statement.
“Those who keep their weapons are sure their lives will be saved,” it said, adding that defenders could leave the plant by 10 a.m. without weapons or ammunition.
Kiev did not immediately respond.
The Azvestal Complex, described as a city fortress, is located in an industrial area of more than 11 square kilometers, with numerous buildings, blast furnaces and rail tracks.
The Ukrainian Marines, the Motorized Brigade, a National Guard Brigade, and the Azov Regiment, an ultra-right militia that was later incorporated into the National Guard, are among the city’s guards. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
Mariupol’s “situation is very difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukraine’s Pravda news portal. “Our troops are under siege, the wounded are under siege. There has been a humanitarian crisis. . . Still, the boys are defending themselves. “
According to the Ukrainian military, Russian jets fired from Belarus fired missiles into the Lviv region near the Polish border, and four cruise missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.
So far, the western city has remained relatively intact, serving as a safe haven for refugees and international humanitarian groups.
Image Credit: Getty
You read: Surrender or die: Russia offers three-hour window to Ukrainian forces in Mariupol