Kyiv. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk told Ukrainian media on Monday that Ukraine had rejected an ultimatum to hand over the besieged port city of Mariupol to Russian forces.
“It is not possible to talk about the delivery of weapons. We have already informed the Russian side about this,” Vereshuk told the daily Okranska Pravda.
“It is a deliberate manipulation and a real hostage situation,” he added of the Russian request.
Russia gave the city an ultimatum on Sunday evening for its defenders to surrender before 05:00 (0300 GMT) on Monday.
“We call on units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, regional defense battalions and foreign mercenaries to stop hostilities, lay down their arms and (…) enter the territory controlled by Kyiv . . from Russia.
“Now you have the right to make a historic decision: either you are with your people or with the criminals,” the Russian Ministry of Defense wrote, addressing the Mariupol authorities, on the Telegram network.
He threatened them with “a court-martial” if they refused the ultimatum, to prosecute them for “their despicable attitude towards their fellow citizens and the appalling crimes and provocations they committed.”
The strategic port of Mariupol in the southeast was one of the main targets of Russian attacks.
The city suffered days of Russian bombardment that left it almost completely cut off from food, water, and other goods.
Russian authorities said they would open humanitarian corridors on Monday to allow villagers to leave if they agreed to surrender.
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