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Ukraine’s Zelensky defies Russia’s ultimatum to lay down weapons


As Russian forces plunder through the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky says the situation there is “inhuman”. Russian troops first encircled Mariupol last month. Yesterday (Saturday), Russia gave Ukrainian forces an ultimatum to lay down their weapons by 6am Moscow time (10am Bangkok time) today.

In response, Zelensky hit back by warning Russia… “the elimination of our troops, of our men in Mariupol, will put an end to any negotiations”.

Zelensky insisted that Ukraine would not negotiate its territories or its people. Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said Mariupol was on “the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe”. Earlier this week, Mariupol’s mayor said 90% of infrustructure was “razed by the Russian Federation”.

The mayor said hospitals were bombed, and Russia’s shelling and bombing has killed 21,000 people in the city. Zelensky said Russian forces had used white phosphorus. Moscow officials now say they are in full control of Mariupol, though Ukrainian fighters remain holed up in the city’s fortress-like steelworks.

Last month, over 3.7 million Ukrainians were reported to have fled their country. There are now almost as many Ukrainian refugees as there were Afghan refugees fleeing the first Taliban regime in 2001, according to figures compiled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Pew Research Centre says this is the sixth-largest refugee outflow over the past 60-plus years.

SOURCE: AFP | Sky News | Pew Research

 





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