Russia has given Ukrainian troops a two hour window to “surrender or die” and to “law down their arms” in the besieged city of Mariupol.
This comes as a “significant part of the entire Russian army” have now started a new “offensive” as the battle for the Donbas has begun as troops are “attacking a 300-mile front.”
Ukrainian troops and foreign fighters who are holed up in the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol have been given the ultimatum and are “guaranteed to remain alive” if they surrender.
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The Russian Defence Ministry called on the Ukrainian troops to withdraw from the steel plant between 14:00 and 16:00 Moscow time (11:00 and 13:00 GMT) “without exception, without any weapons and without ammunition.”
“All who lay down their arms are guaranteed to remain alive,” the defence ministry added.
Ukrainian troops and foreign fighters have been fiercely defending Mariupol since 24 February in eastern Ukraine.
The steel plant is around 4 square miles and has the last major pocket of fighters defending Mariupol which is strategic for Russia because it is a port city on the Sea of Azov.
The steel plant has vast shelters underground and it is believed there are at least 1,000 civilians hiding in the underground tunnels.
Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said Russian troops are trying to find “sensitive spots” in their defences.
The presidential advisor added, “Their offensive will fail – I give you a 99% guarantee – they simply do not have enough strength.
“The battle for Donbas, which was announced and apparently began yesterday, is under way and is going very cautiously.
“The battle will not go in Russia’s favour,” he warned on national television.
Kharkiv region Governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Tuesday, ‘We can now confirm that Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, which they have been preparing for a long time.
“A large part of the Russian army is now dedicated to this offensive,’ Zelensky said in his daily presidential address last night.
“No matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here, we will fight. We will defend ourselves.
“I am grateful to all our fighters, to all our heroic cities in Donbas, Mariupol, as well as to the cities in the region of Kharkiv that are being held.”
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