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Ukraine rejects Russian ultimatum on embattled Mariupol

The Ukrainian authorities early Monday rebuffed a Russian demand to give up the embattled port metropolis of Mariupol that got here as Moscow seems to be shifting its battle plan to compel Kyiv to simply accept Moscow’s claims to Ukraine’s southern and jap territory.

Russia made its demand late Sunday as Mikhail Mizintsev, the top of the Protection Ministry’s Nationwide Protection Management Middle, had stated Kyiv should reply to Russia’s provide by 5 a.m. Moscow time on Monday, in keeping with Interfax.

“Ukraine rejects Russia’s demand to give up Mariupol,” the Ukrainian authorities stated through Twitter early Monday. It cited the nation’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying that turning over town wasn’t an possibility and her demanding that Russia give civilians secure passage to exit.

Russia has inflicted a heavy toll on Mariupol, the place combating has reached the streets. Ukrainian officers stated an artwork faculty the place round 400 individuals had been sheltering was bombed by Russia, trapping individuals beneath the rubble. Their situation couldn’t be decided. Days earlier a theater within the metropolis was bombed the place giant numbers of individuals had sheltered.

Mariupol is a strategic goal for Moscow because it makes an attempt to open an overland hall to the Russia-annexed area of Crimea and shift the momentum in its three-week-old invasion. Russia has to this point did not take any large Ukrainian cities for the reason that begin of its invasion.

The Russian ultimatum got here as senior U.S. officers see indicators the Kremlin is adopting a brand new technique after nearly a month of combating with halting progress whereas inflicting a heavy humanitarian toll on the nation. The brand new strategy, they consider, focuses on securing a “land bridge” between western Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, and increasing Russian management of the Donbas area. Moscow seized each Crimea and the area of Donbas in 2014 from Ukraine. The Kremlin additionally seems to be making an attempt to drive the Ukrainian authorities to simply accept neutrality between Russia and the West.

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin stated Sunday that Russia’s navy had been intentionally focusing on inhabitants facilities as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s marketing campaign had stalled within the face of an efficient Ukrainian protection and counterattack.

“He’s not been capable of obtain the objectives that he needs to realize as quickly as he needs to realize them,” Mr. Austin instructed CBS Information. “It’s had the impact of him transferring his forces right into a wooden chipper.”

The seeming tactical shift comes as President Biden is heading to Europe this week for conferences with allies and companions in NATO, the G-7 and European states, together with Poland, the place they’re anticipated to debate deterrence efforts, humanitarian reduction and the marketing campaign of sanctions towards Russia. The White Home stated Sunday that Mr. Biden wouldn’t be visiting Ukraine, a day after former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko invited him as a present of solidarity.

Russia’s assault on Ukraine has pressured greater than 10 million individuals to desert their houses, the United Nations stated, with the dimensions of the humanitarian catastrophe exhibiting little signal of easing as Moscow presses its assault with missile strikes and artillery fireplace. Meaning nearly 1 / 4 of the nation’s prewar inhabitants has been uprooted, with the U.N. estimating roughly 3.4 million individuals have left Ukraine for the reason that Russian offensive started Feb. 24.

The World Well being Group stated the combating is taking an ever better toll on Ukraine’s healthcare system. The United Nations company Monday stated it had registered 14 deaths and 36 accidents in assaults on the healthcare system tied to the combating that started Feb. 24. The character of the assaults on the healthcare system vary from abductions, to heavy weapons, to obstruction of medical professionals, the WHO stated as of early Monday.

Russia claimed on Monday to have seized a Ukrainian navy command headquarters and brought 61 Ukrainian prisoners of struggle, and reported a cruise missile assault on an alleged coaching heart for overseas and Ukrainian fighters within the Rivne area of western Ukraine, which it says killed greater than 80 Ukrainian and overseas fighters.

Ukraine confirmed the missile assault on the coaching floor within the Rivne area, whereas saying the depth of Russian fight air operations had eased. It additionally stated Russia had shelled Odessa.

The 2 sides exchanged accusations for harm at a chemical plant within the metropolis of Sumy in jap Ukraine on Monday morning the place an ammonia fuel leak was detected.

On Sunday, the governor of the Crimean metropolis of Sevastopol reported that the deputy head of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was killed within the assault on Mariupol, the most recent in a variety of high-ranking officers to die within the invasion.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday stated his nation’s navy was imposing heavy losses on Russian troops however added, “We’re effectively conscious that Russia has only a bottomless human useful resource and numerous tools, missiles and bombs.”

The Ukrainian and Russian sides agreed on eight humanitarian corridors for Monday, together with some for Mariupol, Ms. Vereshchuk stated.

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