Ukraine on Monday rejected Russian calls to surrender the port city of Mariupol, where residents are besieged with little resources, including food, water and power and fierce fighting shows little sign of easing, news agency Reuters reported.
“There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms,” Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Monday, adding, “We have already informed the Russian side about this.”
Earlier, Russia called on Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to lay down their arms, saying a “terrible humanitarian catastrophe” was unfolding.
Russia also said defenders who did so were guaranteed safe passage out of the city and humanitarian corridors would be opened from 1000 Moscow time (12.30 pm IST) on Monday.
Since the Russian invasion on 24 February, Mariupol has suffered some of the heaviest bombardments as many of its 400,000 residents remain trapped with little if any food, water and power.
More than 7000 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Sunday, over half from Mariupol, Vereshchuk said, according to Reuters.
The government planned to send nearly 50 buses there on Monday for further evacuations, she added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his latest appeal for help from abroad, addressed the Israeli parliament by video link on Sunday and questioned Israel’s reluctance to sell its Iron Dome missile defense system to Ukraine.
“Everybody knows that your missile defense systems are the best… and that you can definitely help our people, save the lives of Ukrainians, of Ukrainian Jews,” he said.