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Russia orders Ukraine to surrender Mariupol, Zelensky says it could 'put an end' to negotiations

Picture Courtesy: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Russia has claimed that it has driven almost all Ukrainian troops out of Mariupol. It has asked Ukraine to surrender the southern port city. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a media conference that continuing siege of Mariupol could scuttle any attempts to find a negotiated end to the war.

Zelensky said in an interview, “The destruction of all our guys in Mariupol — what they are doing now — can put an end to any format of negotiations”. The president’s office said that the situation in Mariupol is critical and some civilians might be trapped there and are starving.

On Saturday the Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said that Ukrainian forces have been driven out of most of the city. Russia also said that any Ukrainian forces left could lay down their weapons by 6 a.m. Moscow time Sunday and their lives would be spared.

If Russia gains control of Mariupol, it would be the first big city in Ukraine to fall since the Russian invasion. The strikes on Kyiv continued early Sunday morning, as the mayor, Vitali Klitschko, reported a strike on the city's Darnytskyi district.

As per CNN, an estimated 100,000 people remain in Mariupol and its immediate surroundings, which are reported to be largely under Russian control, with Ukrainian troops confined to pockets of resistance.

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