Russia warns Ukraine not to lay down arms in Mariupol “to stop any hostile actions” – National

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Russia Tell Ukrainian Forces fighting in the besieged southern port Mariupol To put their arms on starting at 6 a.m. Moscow Time (0300 GMT) on Sunday to save their lives.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had cleared the urban area of ​​Mariupol and only a small unit of Ukrainian fighters remained inside a steel factory in the city on Saturday.

Moscow’s claim that it took control of Mariupol, which experienced the heaviest fighting of the war and worst humanitarian disaster, could not be independently verified. It will be the first major city to fall to Russian forces since the Feb. 24 invasion.

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“Taking into account the catastrophic situation that has arisen at the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant, as well as being guided by purely humanitarian principles, the Russian Armed Forces advance fighters of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries from 06:00 (Moscow time) on April 17, 2022, to stop any hostilities and lay down the arms,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

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“Everyone who laid down their arms is guaranteed to save their lives,” she added, adding that defenders could leave the factory by 10am without weapons or ammunition.

There was no immediate response from Kyiv.

“The situation is very difficult” in Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelensky Tell the news portal Ukrainska Pravda. Our soldiers are surrounded, the wounded are trapped. There is a humanitarian crisis … However, the men are fending for themselves.”

Moscow also launched long-range missile attacks across the country after it sank black sea Moscow said its warplanes bombed a tank repair factory in Kyiv on Saturday. An explosion was heard and smoke rose over the southeastern Darnitsky district. The mayor said at least one person was killed and that medics were fighting to save others.

The Ukrainian army announced that Russian warplanes took off from Belarus Missiles were fired at the Lviv region near the Polish border and four cruise missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

The western city, which has so far been relatively unharmed, has served as a haven for refugees and international aid agencies.

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Twisted steel and blasted concrete

In Mariupol, Reuters journalists arrived at the giant Ilich Steel Factory, one of the metalworkers where the defenders were holding out in tunnels and underground bunkers. Moscow claimed to have captured it on Friday.

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The factory was reduced to rubble of twisted steel and loose concrete, with no sign of defenders. The bodies of several civilians were scattered in the nearby streets.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had “completely cleared” the urban area of ​​Mariupol from Ukrainian forces and surrounded the “remnants” of the Azovstal steel plants, the RIA news agency reported. As of Saturday, she said, Ukrainian forces in the city had lost more than 4,000 personnel.

Zelensky accused Russia of “deliberately trying to destroy everyone” in Mariupol and said his government was in contact with the defenders. He did not address Moscow’s claim that Ukrainian forces are no longer present in urban areas.

The governor of the eastern province of Kharkiv said at least one person was killed and 18 wounded in the rocket attack. Smoke rose from burning cars and the remains of what appeared to be an office building in the city.

In Mykolaiv, near the southern front, Russia said it had bombed a factory for the repair of military vehicles.

Ukrainian Nikolai, 41, bids farewell to his daughter Elena, 4, and his wife Lolita, on a train to Poland fleeing war at the train station in Lviv, western Ukraine, Friday, April 15, 2022.

(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The attacks came after Russia announced on Friday that it would intensify long-range strikes in response to unspecified acts of “sabotage” and “terror”, hours after it confirmed the sinking of its flagship ship in the Black Sea, the Moskva.

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Washington and Kiev say the ship, whose sinking has become a symbol of Ukraine’s defiance, was hit by Ukrainian missiles. Moscow says it sank after a fire broke out and its 500-strong crew was evacuated.

The Russian Defense Ministry published a video clip of Admiral Nikolai Yevminov, the commander of the Navy, meeting in a military parade with about 100 sailors, which it said were crew members.

If Mariupol falls, it will be Russia’s biggest prize in the war so far. It is the main port of Donbass, A two-province region in the southeast that Moscow demands to cede completely to the separatists.

Ukraine says it has so far hampered the Russian advance elsewhere in the Donbass regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, with at least one person killed in overnight shelling.

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Ukraine gained the upper hand in the initial phase of the war, in part through the successful deployment of mobile units armed with anti-tank missiles provided by the West against Russian armored convoys stranded on roads through muddy terrain.

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But Putin appears determined to seize more Donbass territory to claim victory in a war that has left Russia vulnerable to increasingly chastised Western sanctions and few allies.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that the next EU round of sanctions against Russia will target banks, including Sberbank MM, as well as oil.

(Press reporting by Reuters in Kyiv, Lviv, Mariupol and Reuters offices worldwide; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by William Mallard)

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