Russia has urged this Sunday to the Ukrainian forces resisting in Mariupola port city in the east of the country besieged by Russian troops, to cease hostilities and lay down their arms, an ultimatum that has entered into force at 06:00 Moscow time (3:00 GMT, two more hours in mainland Spain) and that has a term of seven hours.
This was announced in a statement by the head of the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, according to the official agency Tass. Strategic Mariupol, by the Sea of Azov, is one of the main goals of the Russians in their effort to gain full control of the Donbas region and form a land corridor in the east of the country from the annexed Crimean peninsula.
“Given the catastrophic situation that has developed in the Azovstal metallurgical plantin addition to being guided by purely human principles, the Russian Armed Forces offer militants of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries from 06:00 Moscow time on April 17, 2022 stop any hostilities and lay down arms. All those who lay down their arms are guaranteed the preservation of life,” said the statement, which has not received a response from kyiv.
Mizintsev has said that the content of the “negotiations between militants of national formations and mercenaries blocked in Mariupol at the Azovstal metallurgical plant testifies to their desperate situation, persistently demand official permission from kyiv to surrenderbut in response they receive execution threats”. He added that the militants are “in a desperate situation, practically without food or water”.
The statement released this Sunday morning, according to the Russian agency, will also be transmitted to the UN, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations.
The Russian Defense Ministry has said that its troops had cleared the urban area of Mariupol and only a small contingent of Ukrainians held out at the Azovstal steelworks, a claim that could not be independently verified.
If Mariupol surrendered, it would be the first major city to fall to Russian forces since the beginning of the invasion, on February 24.
Zelensky: “They want to annihilate all those who remain”
For his part, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said in a video addressed to the nation on Saturday night that “the situation in Mariupol remains as serious as possible, simply inhumane“, and has attributed it to the fact that Russia “deliberately continues to destroy our cities. They are deliberately trying to annihilate all those left in Mariupol“, according to the local agency Ukrinform.
Zelensky has claimed that since being besieged, his government has attempted “a solution, whether military or diplomatic, anything to save our people. But finding this solution is extremely difficult. Until now, there hasn’t been a 100% solid option.”
In a previous statement, Zelensky claimed that the “elimination” of the Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol would put an “end to any negotiation” of peace between Russia and Ukraine, warning that both sides would find themselves at a “dead end”.
The Russian attacks have caused one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes in Mariupol by bomb unarmed residents and block the arrival of humanitarian aidaccording to the Ukrainian agency.
According to the city hall, up to 20,000 civilians have been killed in since the start of the Russian invasion. The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry says that the Russians have deployed up to 13 mobile crematoria in Mariupol to remove the bodies of murdered civilians from the streets. The Ukrainian authorities consider that u120,000 civilians remain in the besieged citydefending the Azov Regiment, the Marines and other forces.
Missile attack on the outskirts of kyiv
The Ukrainian General Staff has reported this Sunday that the advance of Russian troops continues throughout the east of the country, including Mariúpol and the “rest of the Donetsk region”, they have reported through the social network Facebook.
In Kyiv, regional authorities have reported the explosion of a missile in the town of Broward, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, which caused damage to its infrastructure. Throughout the night there had also been several explosions in different parts of the region, although the possible damage caused has not been reported.
According to the deputy mayor of kyiv, Mykola Poworosnykin the city center of the capital there have been no enemy detonations, as Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems repelled Russian attacks, according to the Ukrinform news portal. According to the Ukrainian General Staff, yesterday 13 enemy air strikes were repelled in different parts of the country.
The Ukrainian authorities have reported that this Sunday there will be no humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians, due to a lack of agreement with the Russian side to guarantee the safety of these operations. The decision was announced by the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchukreports the Ukrinform news portal.