Mariupol has not surrendered to the Russians, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Sunday.
He spoke on ABC News’ “This Week” hours after a Russian-set deadline for surrender in the besieged city. Shmyhal said only Kherson had fallen to Russian control.
The Russian military said it would spare the lives of Ukrainian troops in the besieged city of Mariupol if they surrendered by 6 a.m. Moscow time on Sunday. Describing the conditions there as “hopeless,” the defense ministry offered the cease-fire “out of purely humane principles,” the Russian news agency Tass reported.
“All those who will continue resistance will be destroyed,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, said. He said intercepted communications indicated there were about 400 foreign mercenaries along with the Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steel mill, a claim that couldn’t be independently verified.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday the situation in Mariupol is “inhuman,” after six weeks of holding out against relentless Russian forces.
Ukrainians defending the port city are facing a shortage of weapons and supplies, and the situation for civilians still remaining has long since become dire. Zelenskyy said Russia “is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there,” and said the fate of the city will be key in whether negotiations can end the fighting.
Zelenskyy said he spoke with leaders of Britain and Sweden on Saturday to discuss how to help forces defending Mariupol.
“Either our partners give Ukraine all of the necessary heavy weapons, the planes, and without exaggeration immediately, so we can reduce the pressure of the occupiers on Mariupol and break the blockade,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “Or we do so through negotiations, in which the role of our partners should be decisive.”
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►Italy is barring all Russian ships from its ports starting Sunday, as part of expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month. Ships already in Italian ports must leave immediately “after completing their commercial activity,″ according to a notice sent to port authorities throughout the country.
►Russian forces shelled an oil refinery in the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on Saturday, and a large fire erupted, a regional governor reported.
► U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and 12 other British officials are banned from entering Russia, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Saturday, citing “unprecedented hostile actions” by Britain’s government.
Anglican archbishop calls for cease-fire as Orthodox Holy Week begins
LONDON — In his Easter sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has called for Russia to declare a cease-fire and withdraw in Ukraine.
The leader of the Anglican church said Easter is a time for peace and not “blood and iron.”
Noting that in the Eastern Orthodox church followed by many in Russia and Ukraine Sunday marks the start of Holy Week — the week leading to Easter — he said ”let this be a time for Russian cease-fire, withdrawal and a commitment to talks.”
Welby said God “hears the cry of the mothers in Ukraine, he sees the fear of boys too young to become soldiers, and he knows the vulnerability of the orphans and refugees.”
– Associated Press
Pope’s Easter message focuses on globe’s armed conflicts
VATICAN CITY — In an Easter Sunday message aimed at the world but heavily focused on Ukraine, Pope Francis raised two worries — the risk of nuclear warfare and that other armed conflicts on the globe will go unnoticed.
In a speech from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope quoted a declaration from scientists in the 1950s in which they posed the question: “Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war?”
The pope has repeatedly made anguished pleas for a cease-fire and negotiations to end the war in Ukraine. In his Easter message, Francis lamented that “so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing.”
He expressed hope that the war in Europe will “also make us more concerned about other situations of conflict, suffering and sorrow” in situations “that we cannot overlook and do not want to forget.” Among the places he cited were Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. He singled out Yemen, suffering from a conflict “forgotten by all, with continuous victims.”
– Associated Press
Austrian leader: Putin ‘thinks he is winning the war’
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, the first EU leader to do so since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Nehammer, who visited Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ahead of the Moscow trip, told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in an interview broadcast on Sunday that it was a “frank and tough” conversation including discussion of “war crimes” Nehammer said he witnessed in Bucha, Ukraine.
The Austrian leader related that Putin said he “would cooperate with an international investigation, on one hand, and on the other hand, he told me that he doesn’t trust the western world.”
“So it was a tough discussion between each other. But I tried to convince him that, for example, the former Yugoslavian war showed us that international investigation is useful to prosecute the war criminals,” Nehammer said.
Nehammer, who said his country is now home to 58,000 Ukrainian refugees, said Putin uses “his own war logic” but understands “what is going on in Ukraine” and “believes he is winning the war.”
– Katie Wadington
Ukrainians attempt to evacuate amid continued Russian shelling
Russian shelling made it difficult for Ukrainians to evacuate along humanitarian corridors Saturday, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
Vereshchuk said 1,449 Ukrainians were able to evacuate Saturday. She said 1,381 people made it to the Zaporizhzhia region using their own transport, including 170 people from the besieged city of Mariupol. But it was impossible for people to evacuate from Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine due to “dense and mass shelling,” Vereshchuk said.
Russian forces continued attacks across numerous regions of Ukraine over the weekend, raising the toll of dead and injured.
For Ukrainians, agreed-upon humanitarian corridors can be a lifeline out of danger zones. They are specific routes where fighting is agreed to be halted to allow for aid to come in and civilian evacuees to go out, but Ukrainian officials have said Russian forces have continued there on numerous occasions since the corridors were established.
– Jeanine Santucci
Russia continued to batter Kyiv, other Ukrainian regions over the weekend
Russia pledged to renew its attacks on military targets in the capital of Kyiv, but Ukrainian officials said attacks were seen in several regions Friday and Saturday, killing at least a half dozen and wounding dozens more.
Russia’s bombardment of cities around Ukraine on Saturday included an explosion in Kharkiv that destroyed a community kitchen set up by celebrity chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen. Associated Press journalists at the scene saw the immediate aftermath of the apparent missile attack. Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said three people were killed and 34 wounded by missile strikes Saturday in that city alone.
One person was killed and several wounded in a missile strike that hit Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, early Saturday. The southern Mykolaiv region was battered Friday and Saturday. According to the presidential office, airstrikes Friday killed five and wounded 15. The head of regional legislature, Hanna Zamazeyeva, said Saturday that 39 people have been wounded in the past 24 hours.
Ukraine’s presidential office reported Saturday that missile strikes and shelling occurred in eight regions: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine and Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south.
– Jeanine Santucci
Ukraine: More than 700 troops, 1K civilians held captive by Russia
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in televised remarks on Saturday that 700 Ukrainian troops and more than 1,000 civilians — more than half women — are currently being held captive by the Russians.
Vereshchuk said Kyiv intends to swap the captive soldiers, since Ukraine holds about the same number of Russian troops but demands to release the civilians “without any conditions.”
– The Associated Press