Russia issued a chilling “surrender or die” ultimatum to the last Ukrainian troops defending the besieged city of Mariupol on Sunday.
Russia’s Defence Ministry claimed its troops cleared the city with only a small unit of “militants of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries” remaining. Read the statement:
The Russian Armed Forces offer the militants of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries from 6 AM (Moscow time) on April 17, 2022, to stop any hostilities and lay down their arms.
All who lay down their arms are guaranteed that their lives will be spared.
The ultimatum has since expired with Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol refusing to surrender and accept Russia’s demand.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Kremlin of “deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there”.
He appealed to the West to immediately send more heavy weapons for Kiyv to have any chance of saving the port city on the Sea of Azov as Russian airstrikes continue on Mariupol. Said Zelensky:
Either our partners give Ukraine all of the necessary heavy weapons, the planes, and without exaggeration immediately, so we can reduce the pressure of the occupiers on Mariupol and break the blockade… or we do so through negotiations, in which the role of our partners should be decisive.
If Mariupol falls, it will become the first major city to be taken by Russian forces since the invasion began on 24 February.