Russia calls for Mariupol surrender, citing ‘terrible humanitarian catastrophe’
Russia on Sunday called for Ukrainians to lay down their arms and end what it called a “terrible humanitarian catastrophe” in the besieged city of Mariupol.
“A terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed,” Col.-Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, who leads the Russian National Center for Defense Management, said, calling for Ukrainians to “lay down your arms,” according to Reuters.
“All who lay down their arms are guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol,” he added, noting that humanitarian corridors to allow for safe evacuations would begin at 10 a.m. Moscow time on Monday.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that about 4,000 people were allowed to leave the city on Sunday and that nearly 50 buses would be sent to Mariupol for evacuations on Monday, per Reuters.
Since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, Mariupol has endured some of the heaviest attacks, leaving many of its 400,000 residents trapped without food, water or power.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s siege of Mariupol is a “terror that will be remembered for centuries.”
His remarks came after officials from the Mariupol city government said thousands of residents were being forcibly transported to Russia.
Zelensky has called the Kremlin’s attack on Mariupol “war crimes.”
Last week, Moscow shelled a theater in the city where hundreds of women, families with young children and the elderly were sheltering. And an art school was reportedly struck over the weekend.