Russia’s Defense Ministry issued a new ultimatum for Mariupol’s surrender on Tuesday – the same day that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the new phase of “special operation” in Ukraine was starting. , as the Russian government calls war. “The next phase of this operation is starting, and I think now will be an important moment,” Lavrov said today in an interview with India Today.
In a statement, the Russian ministry cited what would be “the catastrophic situation that has developed at the Azovstal metallurgical plant” and said that all who surrender the weapons will have “guaranteed the preservation of life”. On Sunday (17), a Russian ultimatum had already been ignored by Ukrainians in the port city.
Yesterday, the Mariupol Chamber said that Russian occupiers attacked the azovstal with “heavy bombs”. “There are at least 1,000 civilians in the metal factory’s underground shelters. Mostly women with children and the elderly.” Spokesperson for the Donetsk militias, Edward Basurin said today that the pro-Russian group has started encroaching on the factory’s territory, according to Russian news agencies. “The Russian Federation is helping us a lot in this; that is, aviation and artillery.”
Russia has pointed out that its troops have already occupied the entire urban area of the city, leaving only a group of Ukrainian fighters surrounded at the metallurgical plant. The information could not be verified with independent sources.
Mariupol, near the Sea of Azov, is one of the main goals of the Russians in their effort to gain full control of the breakaway Donbass region and form a land corridor in the east of the country from the annexed Crimean peninsula. The total fall of the city would be Russia’s biggest victory in 55 days of war.
Before the Russian announcement, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said that “the enemy’s main efforts [Rússia] are focused on breaking through the defense of our troops in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions [áreas do Donbass]as well as establishing full control over the city of Mariupol”.
Russia indicated that from 07:00 GMT, “a continuous connection will be established between the Russian and Ukrainian sides for the mutual exchange of information”.
Half an hour later, there should be “the actual start of ‘silence mode’ by both parties”, which will be “indicated by the raising of the flags”. “On the Russian side, [bandeira] red; on the Ukrainian side, white, around the entire perimeter of Azovstal.”
From 8:00 am to 10:00 am, also in Brasília time, “the departure of all, without exception, Ukrainian armed units and foreign mercenaries, without any weapons and ammunition”.
“Once again, we appeal to the official authorities in Kiev to show prudence, give proper instructions to the militants to stop senseless resistance and get out of the center of the resistance,” the Russian ministry said. “But realizing that they will not receive such orders and orders from the Kiev authorities, we urge them to make this decision on their own and lay down their arms.”
Russia also said that it will guarantee to each of those who surrender “the preservation of life and the fulfillment of all the norms of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, as has already happened with the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that previously surrendered in Mariupol”.
hundreds of attacks
Earlier, in a report released today, the 55th day of the Russian war in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said that “rocket and artillery troops attacked 1,260 military targets” in Ukraine. Among the hit points, the Russians cite 25 command posts, depots of weapons and rockets, missile launchers, “as well as 1,214 places of concentration of enemy manpower”.
Ukraine indicated that it perceived the intensification of the Russian offensive. “Air rocket attacks against civilian targets across Ukraine do not stop,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said, noting that there was an increase in actions in the west.
After attacks that left people dead yesterday in Lviv, the city, in western Ukraine, will be visited today by the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki. Lviv it is about 70 kilometers from the Ukrainian border with Polish territory.
No runners again
Today, for the third day in a row, Ukraine will have no humanitarian evacuation corridors. According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, “the intense bombing continues in the Donbass”, a separatist area in the east of the country. She also said that in Mariupol, “the Russians refuse to provide a corridor for civilians”.
Lugansk Governor Serhey Haidai has indicated that he will make evacuation attempts even without the runners. “We cannot leave the inhabitants of the Lugansk region on their own. Volunteers will help us with the evacuation today.” A few weeks ago, he already asked the population of the region to leave their homes to go to safer areas.
Yesterday, he announced that Kreminna, in the Lugansk region, has been taken over by the Russians. “The residents of Kreminna didn’t have time [para fugir] and now they are hostages,” he said. “So save your lives so you don’t become cheap labor.”
(With AFP and DW)