Ukraine rejects Russia’s demand – Russia faces bleak future…As US President Biden heads to Poland

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Ukraine has rejected a Russian demand for Mariupol to surrender by 5am Moscow time (2am GMT / 10pm ET) on Monday. Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said there could be “no talk of any surrenders” and that Russia had been informed of the response.

Russian Col Gen Mikhail Mizintsev had told the defenders of the city to “Lay down your arms”. In a briefing on Sunday, he added that if the people of Mariupol surrendered, humanitarian corridors would then be opened in both the eastern and western directions from 10am Moscow time on Monday.

US president Joe Biden will travel to Poland this week to discuss international efforts to support Ukraine and “impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia” for its invasion, the White House has said. The discussions will follow Biden’s meetings in Brussels with Nato allies, G7 leaders, and EU leaders.

Biden will host a call on Monday at 3pmGMT (11am ET) with president Emmanuel Macron of France, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi and British prime minister Boris Johnson.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that he believes a failure to negotiate the end of Russia’s invasion will mean “a third world war”. He told CNN that he is “ready for negotiations” with Russian president Vladimir Putin and that “we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating”.

Zelenskiy earlier called Putin’s strategy a “final solution” for Ukraine. In an uncompromising address to the Israeli parliament, Ukraine’s president challenged Israel over its failure to impose sanctions on Russia.

At least four people have been killed following shelling of homes and a shopping district in Kyiv, according to Reuters, citing the state emergency service. Video showed firefighters rushing to rescue people trapped in the rubble of the Retroville shopping centre in Podilskiy.

Ukraine’s human rights spokesperson, Lyudmyla Denisova, said Russian troops had “kidnapped” residents and taken them to Russia. “Several thousand Mariupol residents have been deported to Russia,” she said on Telegram. After processing at “filtration camps”, some had been transported to the Russian city of Taganrog, about 60 miles (100km) from Mariupol, and from there sent by rail “to various economically depressed cities in Russia”, she said.

Mariupol’s city council said Russia bombed an art school where 400 civilians including children were sheltering. Petro Andrushenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor, said there was no exact number of casualties. “The city continues to be shelled both from the sky and the sea,” Andrushenko said on Telegram.

Ten million people – more than a quarter of the population – have now fled their homes in Ukraine due to Russia’s “devastating” war, the head of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Sunday. And at least 902 civilians have been killed and 1,459 injured in Ukraine as of midnight local time on Saturday, the UN human rights office said. The Ukrainian parliament says 115 Ukrainian children have been killed and at least 140 more have been injured.

China’s ambassador to the US has said his country is not sending weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine. He said China was sending food, sleeping bags and other aid, “not weapons and ammunition to any party”. But pressed on US television on Sunday, he did not definitively rule out the possibility Beijing might do so in the future.

Germany has agreed a contract with Qatar for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that will help the European country wean itself off its dependency on Russian energy. It could take several years for the deal to come into full effect because Germany has no terminals for selivery of LNG. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia said it was increasing oil production to meet global demand.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, has claimed a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine is “close”, despite the scepticism of western governments. But the US ambassador to the United Nations warned on Sunday there was little immediate hope of a negotiated end to the war.

Eleven Ukrainian political parties have been suspended because of their links with Russia, according to Zelenskiy. The country’s national security and defence council took the decision to ban the parties from any political activity. Most of the parties affected were small, but one of them, the Opposition Platform for Life, has 44 seats in the 450-seat Ukrainian parliament.

— Guardian


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