(Kyiv) At least one person was killed in Kyiv in a strike by the Russian army on a shopping center on Sunday evening, announced the mayor of the Ukrainian capital.
“One dead so far,” mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on Telegram.
A huge explosion shook the city during the attack and fires were visible in the rubble of the Retroville shopping center, according to AFP journalists.
“Enemy fire” caused a fire on several floors of the shopping center located in the Podilsky district, in the northwest of the city, and set fire to several vehicles, for their part specified the emergency services on Facebook .
They released footage from a surveillance camera, showing a huge explosion and a mushroom-shaped cloud, followed by a series of smaller blasts.
Firefighters extracted at least one man from the building’s rubble, covered in dust, according to other video images released by the emergency services.
Soldiers cordoned off the site and ordered journalists to back off, citing a danger posed by unexploded ordnance, without giving further details.
Residents living in a nearby building, whose windows were blown out by the blast, said they had seen a mobile rocket launcher near the mall several days earlier.
Kyiv has been hit by a series of attacks in the past week, including one on an apartment building on Sunday that left five people injured.
Ultimatum rejected in Mariupol
Ukraine will not “lay down its arms and will not leave the besieged city” of Mariupol, its deputy prime minister told Ukrainian media overnight from Sunday to Monday, in response to the ultimatum posed by Russia.
“There is no question of talking about surrender or laying down arms. We have already informed the Russian side about this,” Iryna Vereshchuk told the newspaper. Ukrayinskaya Pravda. “It’s deliberate manipulation and real hostage-taking,” she added of the request.
The Russian Defense Ministry had called on Ukraine to “lay down its arms” and demanded a “written response” to its ultimatum before 5 a.m. Monday, in the name of safeguarding the inhabitants and infrastructure of the city of Mariupol.
“We call on the official authorities in Kyiv to be reasonable and to rescind the instructions given previously, which obliged the militants to sacrifice themselves and to become ‘martyrs of Mariupol’”, had demanded Mikhail Mizintsev, director of the Russian National Center for defense management, in a briefing issued by Russia’s Defense Ministry.
“Lay down your arms,” he said. “A terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed […] All those who lay down their arms are guaranteed to be able to leave Mariupol in complete safety”.
According to Mizintsev, Russia and Ukraine agreed on a route for Mariupol residents to reach Kyiv-controlled territory on March 21. “From 10 a.m. Moscow time […] Russia is opening humanitarian corridors from Mariupol to the East, and in agreement with the Ukrainian side, to the West”, detailed Mr. Mizintsev.
The Russian Ministry of Defense had addressed earlier in the evening to the authorities of Mariupol via the messaging application Telegram: “You are [face à un] historical choice-either you are with your people or you are with the criminals”.
“The occupiers continue to behave like terrorists,” replied Iryna Vereshchuk on Telegram. “They say they agree [pour instaurer un] humanitarian corridor and in the morning, they bomb the place of evacuation. The government is doing everything possible. The most important thing for us is to save the lives and health of our citizens”.
Mariupol, a predominantly Russian-speaking strategic port in the southeast, has been one of the main targets of Moscow’s attacks.
The streets of the city are strewn with corpses, while negotiations between delegations continue, without concrete outcome for the time being.