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21st Mar 2022

Russia’s deadline passes with Ukraine refusing to surrender Mariupol

Kieran Galpin

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Despite the offer from Russian forces, Ukraine has said there will be ‘no talk of any surrender’

As Zelenskyy warns of World War III, Ukraine has rejected a Russian ultimatum that offered safe passage from Mariupol if soldiers surrendered.

Mariupol has been under siege for weeks, with Russian forces having destroyed an art school over the weekend with over 400 people trapped inside. Russian forces had promised that civilians would be permitted to leave the port city if only they surrender.

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Details of the proposal were released on March 20 by General Mikhail Mizintsev, who said that Ukraine had until 5am (2am GMT) Moscow time to make a decision. Such plans would have seen safe corridors pop up out of Mariupol from 10am Moscow time (7am GMT) so that Ukrainian troops and “foreign mercenaries” could disarm and leave the city.

Just yesterday, Mariupol experienced another onslaught of attacks that led to the destruction of an art school sheltering 400 civilians.

Two hours after the surrender, Russian forces claimed they would allow humanitarian convoys to enter the city.

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Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk was unmoving, citing that: “There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms.”

The time has now passed.

This comes as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of a possible World War III if peace talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin fall short. Speaking to CNN via video link on March 20, the former comic said: “Unfortunately, our dignity is not going to preserve lives. So I think that we have to use any format…[to reach] the possibility of talking to Putin.”

“If these attempts fail, that would mean … a third World War.”

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Similarly, in a Telegram update posted by the city’s council via The Guardian, officials said that “several thousand Mariupol residents” were deported to Russian territories over the last week.

They continued: “The occupiers illegally took people from the Livoberezhniy district and from the shelter in the sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from the constant bombing.”

Such claims are yet to be confirmed by Russian forces but the council’s statement is one of several similar reports. The Kyiv Independent added that “Russians checked their phones and documents.”

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