Ukraine Refuses to Surrender in Mariupol, Rejects Russian Demands

Ukrainian officials have defiantly rejected on Monday the Russian military’s demand that their forces raise white flags and lay down arms in the besieged strategic port city Mariupol in exchange for safe passage of civilians out of the southeastern city.

As Russia’s military continued its bombardment of the besieged city to force it to surrender, Russian Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev set the deadline at 5 a.m. on Monday Moscow time guaranteeing that his forces would open two corridors for safe passage out of Mariupol to the east and the west.

However, despite the terrible humanitarian catastrophe that has developed, the deadline came and went with Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk stressing that there can be no talk of any laying down of arms and surrendering, pointing out that Russians could just open a corridor instead of wasting time on writing the 8-pages letter.

Ever since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, Mariupol has been surrounded by Russian forces and has endured heavy shelling, striking a lot of building sheltering civilians, such as the bombing of a theater where hundreds of Ukrainians had sought refuge and the art school, which was attacked twice.

According to the New York Times, Russia’s military attacked Mariupol over Sunday night firing rockets and bombs from the land, air, including – probably for the first time- from warships in the Sea of Azov.

If Mariupol, which is of great strategic importance to Russian forces as the largest city in the Ukrainian-controlled portion of Donetsk, were to fall, it would create a land corridor between Crimea and the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which are backed by Russia.

However, as Western military analysts of the D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War note, even if Mariupol is seized by Russian forces, they might be too depleted to secure Russian breakthroughs on other fronts.

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