Ukraine refuses to lay down its arms and hand over the city of Mariupol after an ultimatum from Russia

Ukraine said it will not hand over the city of Mariupol, hours after Russia called on kyiv’s forces on Sunday to lay down their arms in the beleaguered port city.

The Ukrainska Pravda news portal quoted Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying that:

“There can be no surrender, no laying down of arms… We have already informed the Russian side of it.”

Russia had called on Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms in Mariupol, where Moscow said a “terrible humanitarian catastrophe” is unfolding.

“Put down your guns”Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, director of the Russian National Center for Defense Management, said in an article distributed by the Defense Ministry.

“A terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed,” Mizintsev said. “All those who lay down their arms are guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol.”

Mariupol it has suffered one of the most intense bombardments since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Many of his 400,000 inhabitants they remain stuck in the city with little or no food, water and electricity.

Mizintsev said humanitarian corridors for civilians would open to the east and west from Mariupol at 07:00 GMT on Monday.

Ukraine has until 05:00 Moscow time to respond to the offer on humanitarian corridors and arms deposition, he noted.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for not opening such corridors in recent weeks.

Mizintsev, without providing evidence, said that the “bandits”, the “neo-Nazis” and the Ukrainian nationalists had committed a massacre in the city.

Ukraine says it is fighting for its existence and President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that the siege of Mariupol was a terror that will be remembered for centuries.

Mizintsev said that Russia is not using heavy weapons in Mariupol and that its forces had evacuated 59,304 people from the city but that 130,000 civilians remained there as effective hostages. He pointed out that 330,686 people had been evacuated of Ukraine by Moscow since the beginning of the “operation”.

The Mariupol city council said on its Telegram channel on Saturday night that several thousand residents had been “deported” to Russia over the past week.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has left thousands dead, displaced more than 3 million people and raised fears of a broader confrontation between Russia and the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the “special military operation” in Ukraine was necessary to disarm and “denazify” his neighbor.

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