They have given everything, their strength is at the end – but they are still holding the fort: Actually, Russia had expected a few days ago to win a final victory over the defenders of Mariupol (reported by eXXpress), but the war was difficult drawn port city is still not quite in Putin’s hands. Apparently this is about to change abruptly. The Russian army is once again rebelling before its new major attack in eastern Ukraine and is unleashing ever heavier, more brutal blows.
After a devastating attack on civilians in Kharkiv, the strategically important city of Mariupol is now finally to be brought under Russian control. Before the “last big blow”, Russia now presented the port city’s defenders with an ultimatum: Anyone who lays down their arms between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time on Sunday should get away with their lives, according to the promise from the Kremlin.
This emerges from a statement by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev from the Russian Defense Ministry. According to Russian information, the last Ukrainian resistance is said to have holed up in the Azovtal Steel Works, where the situation is described as “catastrophic”. According to Moscow, the rest of Mariupol is already completely under Russian control – there is no information from the Ukrainian side on this.
Miszinev explained that at this critical time, Russian units should hoist red flags and the Ukrainian side should hoist white flags over the entire area of the steel plant as a sign of compliance with the ceasefire. After confirmation of readiness on previously established communication channels, all Ukrainian units could leave the area without weapons and ammunition from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Moscow time. The Russian Federation will guarantee everyone’s life and compliance with all norms of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, the Russian general promised.
However, it seems questionable whether the Ukrainian fighters will respond to Russia’s ultimatum and trust the promise. On the contrary: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has once again called for support from the West for Mariupol in view of the “inhumane situation” in the port city. Either the “partners will immediately supply Ukraine with all the necessary heavy weapons” or they will support him in negotiations to end the siege, Zelensky said on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Moscow called on the remaining Ukrainian fighters to surrender.
Zelenskyj wants to “reduce the pressure on Mariupol and break the siege” with Western fighter jets. The Ukrainian President acknowledged that finding a “military or diplomatic” solution to the situation was “extremely difficult”.
Earlier, Zelenskyy said that killing the remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol would spell the end of talks with Russia. The talks between the warring parties had not brought any results in the past few weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin had said they had reached a “dead end”.