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Ukraine rejects ‘ultimatum’ from Russia, does not surrender in Mariupol

Ukrainian authorities flatly refused to surrender in Mariupol, after Russia issued an ‘ultimatum’ asking the defense forces of this city to lay down their weapons before 5 am on March 21 (Moscow time).

“There is no such thing as surrendering or laying down weapons. We have informed the Russian side about this,” Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk told Pravda news agency. “Instead of wasting time on eight pages of mail, just open the humanitarian corridor.”

Mariupol city council also rejected Russia’s “ultimatum”. “They gave Ukraine time until morning to respond. But why wait so long?”, the city council’s Facebook statement said.

Ukraine rejects Russia's 'ultimatum' and refuses to surrender in Mariupol
People dig graves to bury victims of the conflict in Mariupol, Ukraine on March 20. Photo: Reuters

The statement of the Ukrainian authorities came after Mikhail Mizintsev, director of the Russian Defense Management Center, on March 20 ordered the Ukrainian defense forces in Mariupol to surrender, and accused the Kiev side of obstructing hinder the establishment of religious corridors in this city.

Mizintsev announced that humanitarian corridors for civilians will be opened east and west out of Mariupol at 10 am (Moscow time, ie 2 pm Hanoi time) today (March 21).

Fighting is still raging inside Mariupol, a strategic port city in southeastern Ukraine. This place has suffered the most intense shelling since the outbreak of hostilities on February 24. The majority of Mariupol’s 400,000 residents are still trapped in the city with food and water shortages, while power systems have been cut off.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the failure to open humanitarian corridors in Mariupol in recent weeks. Over the weekend, Russian troops continued to push deeper into Mariupol, while Ukrainian forces were still trying to resist and hold on to positions in the city.

With full control of Mariupol, Russia will be able to create a land corridor in Ukraine, connecting the breakaway territories in the Donbass region with the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. Besides, Russia will gain power. control of the Sea of ​​Azov, which in turn could lead to control of the coastline of Ukraine.


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