At the end of the day on Sunday, Russia served an ultimatum to Ukrainian soldiers defending the city of Mariupol, a port city in the east of the country. By 5 a.m. Monday morning, they were to have surrendered and raised a white flag. If they agree, they will have a clear way to evacuate the city safely. And if not? Russia did not specify what the consequences would be.
And it was no.
What Russia called a “humanitarian offer” was relayed on Sunday by Colonel Mikhail Mizintsev. The reply came from Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine. “There can be no question of capitulation or lowering our arms. This is “manipulation”, she added.
What remains of Mariupol? It is a city “which no longer exists”, launched the Associated Press Marina Galla, who has just fled it.
Mariupol is a city that will be added to Guernica, Stalingrad, Grozny and Aleppo on the list of those “which have been completely destroyed by the war”, estimates Manolis Androulakis, Consul General of Greece, who has just left. after having evacuated the nationals of his country.
More than one in four Ukrainians have now fled their country, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. Ten million Ukrainians have left everything behind.
On Sunday, a school in Mariupol which would have housed some 400 people was bombed, “an act of terror” denounced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Pounded for weeks and suffering from shortages of water, gas and electricity, Mariupol saw its Azovstal steel and metallurgical plant, one of the largest in Europe, be badly damaged on Sunday.
“The economic losses for Ukraine are immense,” commented MP Lesia Vasylenko on Twitter.
Rare good news, a group of 19 children, mostly orphans aged 4 to 17, were evacuated to pro-Russian regions in the east of the country, Agence France-Presse reported. For about two weeks, they would have lived in the frozen basements of a sanatorium.
“Absolute humanitarian catastrophe”
In the north of the country, the mayor of Chernihiv, Vladislav Atroshenko, portrayed an “absolute humanitarian disaster” in his city. “The indiscriminate artillery fire in residential areas continues, dozens of civilians are killed, children and women,” he told television.
In Kyiv, a shell exploded just outside a ten-storey apartment building on Sunday, injuring at least five people, two of whom were hospitalized, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
About fifteen kilometers from the capital, in Hostomel, journalists from the New York Times obtained video of a Russian assault on a residential building where around 200 people were taken hostage by Russian soldiers. “I wrote to my daughter. I said goodbye to him,” said Lesya Borodyuk, a 49-year-old local resident who did not believe she would make it out alive.
Despite all this, the Ukrainian authorities however reported a certain lull on Sunday.
“The front is practically frozen”, there has been “virtually no missile fire on the cities”, and “the Russian air force is hardly active”, there are just “tactical actions” of two camps, said during a briefing at midday Oleksiy Arestovitch, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency.
How many victims since the beginning of the war? Impossible to establish, but the reports of war correspondents and the images of remains in the streets of Ukrainian cities raise fears of a very heavy toll.
On the Internet, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, ventured to estimate Russian human losses, claiming that 14,000 soldiers had already died since the start of the invasion, that their corpses litter the fields of battle and they are not picked up. “I want to ask the citizens of Russia: what have you been doing for years to make you stop noticing your losses? »
In an interview broadcast on CNN on Sunday, Volodymyr Zelensky said he was ready to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, while setting his limits in the same breath.
I’ve been ready for the past two years. If there is only a 1% chance of stopping this war, we must seize it.
Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine
But it’s only between Putin and him that it can be settled, in his opinion. “No matter what discussions our negotiating teams have, I think only the two of us, me and Putin, can come to an agreement. »
Mais pas question pour lui de reconnaître des territoires séparatistes de l’est du pays comme républiques indépendantes.
« Je ne peux pas [les] recognize, first as president, then as a citizen, and thirdly because you can’t force people to love their enemies. It is impossible,” President Zelensky insisted.
Sunday, by Zoom, the Ukrainian president challenged Israel. Highlighting his own Jewish heritage and evoking the Holocaust, Volodymyr Zelensky urged Israel to choose sides, reminding it that Ukraine made its choice 80 years ago. “We have Righteous who have hidden Jews, it is time for Israel to make its choice […] Indifference kills, calculations kill,” Zelensky said in a speech in Ukrainian translated into Hebrew.
“One may wonder why we cannot receive weapons from you and why Israel has not imposed serious sanctions against Russia,” he added.
On the Beijing side, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, firmly denied to CBS that his country was helping Russia in its offensive in Ukraine.
“There is misinformation that China is providing military assistance to Russia. We reject it,” Qin Gang said in an interview with CBS.
“China sends food, medicine, sleeping bags and powdered milk, not weapons or ammunition to the parties [au conflit], he continued. We will do everything possible for a de-escalation. »
With the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse