Ukraine has rejected an ultimatum to surrender the besieged port city of Mariupol to Russian forces, its deputy prime minister tells the Ukrainian media Monday.
“There can be no talk of surrendering weapons. We have already informed the Russian side of this,” Iryna Vereshchuk told Ukrainska Pravda newspaper. “It’s a deliberate manipulation and it’s a real hostage situation,” she added.
Russia had given the city an ultimatum late Sunday, calling its defenders to surrender before 05:00 am on Monday.
“We call on units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defence battalions, foreign mercenaries to stop hostilities, lay down their arms and, along the humanitarian corridors agreed with the Ukrainian side, enter the territories controlled by Kyiv,” says Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defence Control Centre.
The Russian defence ministry, addressing Mariupol authorities on messaging app Telegram, wrote: “You are the ones who now have the right to make a historic choice — either you are with your people or you are with the criminals.
“Otherwise, the court-martial that awaits you is only a little of what you have already earned because of your despicable attitude toward your own citizens, as well as the horrible crimes and provocations you have committed.”