Ukraine refuses to surrender Mariupol as Russia warns of humanitarian ‘catastrophe’

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Intl desk, Mar 20: Russia says Ukrainian forces have until 5am Moscow time (02:00 GMT) on Monday to surrender in the eastern port city of Mariupol.

Service members of pro-Russian troops are seen atop of tanks during Ukraine-Russia conflict on the outskirts of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 20, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Both the government in Kyiv and the Mariupol city authorities have flatly rejected the Russian terms.

Deadline looms: The Russian Ministry of Defense has called on Mariupol local authoritie to surrender the city to Russian forces by 5 a.m. Moscow Monday (4 a.m. Monday in Mariupol and 10 p.m. ET Sunday), according to Russian state media.

Ukraine rejects deadline: In an interview late Sunday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk rejected Russia’s terms, which were laid out in an eight-page document.

Ceasefire:  The Russian Defense Ministry proposed “to the fighting parties to declare a ceasefire and guarantee its strict observance from 9:30 a.m. Moscow time,” (8:30 a.m. in Mariupol and 2:30 a.m ET).

A child sits on the shoulders of a man near a building damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 20, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

It would then open evacuation corridors to the city half-an-hour later, it said.

Russia blames Ukraine “bandits”: In calling on city officials to surrender, RIA Novosti quoted Mizintsev saying “we appeal to the odious bandits, who are responsible for hundreds of lives of innocent people, and now call themselves representatives of the official local authorities, of this unique city Mariupol.”

Some context: Mariupol has been under siege for several weeks and has seen some of the worst attacks in the war since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February. These have included deadly strikes on a maternity ward, the bombing of a theater and art school, the losses from which are still unknown as the rescue operations continue.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said Sunday that what Russian forces had done to Mariupol was an “act of terror that will be remembered for centuries.”

Source: News Agencies