The city of Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, is the focus of the war with Russia, in a siege that has been going on for days and is likely to last longer.
Some 400,000 people have been trapped in Mariupol for more than two weeks amid heavy shelling that has cut off central electricity, heating and water supplies, according to local sources.
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said Monday that the takeover of the port city of Mariupol “is not a matter of two or three days, or even a week.”
“I am not so optimistic as to say that the matter will be resolved in two or three days or in a week. Unfortunately, it is not. It is a big city»said Denis Pushilin, leader of the separatists of the Donetsk Republicwhose independence Moscow recognized at the end of February.
pushilinwhose words are picked up by Russian public television, said that within Mariupohe remain “several thousand Ukrainian nationalist battalions”.
Ukraine rejects Russian ultimatum
Russia called on the Ukrainian forces this Sunday to surrender and leave Mariupol “without arms”, something that kyiv described as “delirium”.
the minister ukraDefense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that the Mariuopol resistance, heavily bombed by the Russians for days, is “saving” other cities, such as Dnipro, kyiv and Odessa, from the intensification of an offensive against them.
“The heroic defenders of Mariupol have played a very important role in destroying the enemy’s plans and improving our defense”said the minister, for whom, thanks to the “courage” of the inhabitants of that city,tens of thousands of lives have been saved across Ukraine”.
«Today Mariupol is saving kyiv, Dnipro and Odessa. Everyone must understand this”said the minister in a war report posted on social networks.
Dead in kyiv, the sides exchange blows
The death toll in a bombing last night by Russian forces against a shopping center in kyiv now amounts to eight, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office via Telegram.
The shopping center was destroyed as a result of the fire triggered by the attack by the Russian forces and the windows of nearby houses and cars parked nearby were also damaged.
Meanwhile, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, since the invasion began – on February 24 – Ukrainian troops have shot down a hundred planes and 120 helicopters, in addition to destroying 500 tanks and 1,500 armored vehicles.
Russia reported today, on the twenty-sixth day of its “special military operation” in Ukraine, that its air forces destroyed 44 Ukrainian military targets last night.
The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashénkov, in a video posted on Telegram, specified that among the targets hit were four command posts, two missile launchers, six Buk anti-aircraft missile systems and other heavy weapons.
“In total since the beginning of the special military operation, 216 drones, 180 anti-aircraft missile systems, 1,506 tanks and other armored vehicles, 152 missile launchers, 592 artillery pieces and mortars, as well as 1,284 military vehicles have been destroyed,” he said. Konashénkov summing up the progress of the campaign.
No prospect of a meeting of leaders
The progress in the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are still not enough for a meeting between the leaders of both countries, Vladimir Putin, and Volodymyr Zelensky, declared the Kremlin.
«The degree of progress in the negotiations is probably not as desired as one would like, nor as required by the dynamics of the development of the situation for the Ukrainian side»said the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskovin his daily telephone press conference.
Zelensky He stated this Sunday that he is «prepared” to negotiate with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putinto end hostilities in the country, but ruled out recognizing the independence of the donbas and Russian sovereignty over crimea.
In an interview with CNN, the Ukrainian president bluntly stated that he will not assume “any commitment that affects the territorial integrity and sovereignty” of Ukraine.
According to him Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusogluthe talks to find a way out of the conflict have progressed to the point almost to an agreement» in most of the issues raised at the negotiation table.
The minister assured that a long road has already been traveled in the talks between the delegations of both parties, but that peace will require a meeting at the highest level.