Ukraine has rejected a Russian offer to allow two safe corridors out of the besieged city of Mariupol in exchange for Ukrainian fighters laying down their arms.
The Russian news agency TASS reported the offer, citing Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, and said residents of the southern port city were given until 5 a.m. Monday to respond.Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk rejected the idea outright.
“There can be no talk of any surrender, laying down of arms. We have already informed the Russian side about this,” she told the news outlet Ukrainian Pravda. “I wrote: ‘Instead of wasting time on eight pages of letters, just open the corridor.'”
The city, crucial for its port access, has been pounded by Russian artillery since the war began more than three weeks ago.Russian forces have been accused of bombing civilian shelters, and hundreds of thousands have recently fled the city. Other cities also have felt Russia’s wrath, and about a quarter of Ukraine’s population has been displaced less than a month into Russia’s invasion, according to the United Nations.
Ukraine’s population has already been declining for years, dropping from over 50 million in the 1990s to 43 million in 2022.
Now, 10 million more Ukrainians – or roughly 25% – have either been displaced inside their country or have fled as refugees to other countries as Russian forces continue their besiegement of residential communities.
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► Russian shelling destroyed a shopping center near the city center of the Kyiv, killing eight people, according to emergency officials. A nearby high-rise building also was damaged.
► E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine after the “indiscriminate” killings in Mariupol, according to the Associated Press.
► At least six people were killed by overnight shelling near a city center in Kyiv late Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
► President Joe Biden will host a call Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “discuss their coordinated responses to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” the White House said.
►After nearly a month straight of working at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant since Russian forces seized it on Feb. 24, 50 staff members who had been working have been rotated out, the plant’s management said.
►China’s ambassador to the U.S. told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that China’s condemnation of the Russian invasion would not help or have any effect on Russia.
President Biden to travel to Poland on Friday but won’t visit Ukraine
President Joe Biden will travel to Poland this week after Thursday meetings with NATO, G7, and E.U. leaders in Brussels. On Friday, Biden will travel to Warsaw, where he will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda to discuss how the U.S. and its allies are “responding to the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created,” a White House statement read.
Over 2 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring Poland as refugees, according to the United Nations.
Biden’s trip to Europe will not include a stop in Ukraine, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted Sunday.
– Celina Tebor
Israel balancing ‘complex considerations’ with Ukraine, Russia
After Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded for help and a stronger stance against Russia’s attack from Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the country is managing its involvement with Ukraine and Russia “in a sensitive, generous and responsible way while balancing various and complex considerations.”
Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion but has refrained from taking action that would anger Moscow out of concern of jeopardizing its military coordination in neighboring Syria, according to the Associated Press.
In a video address to the Israeli parliament Sunday, Zelenskyy urged the lawmakers to take action against Russia and accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to carry out a “final solution” against Ukraine. The term was used by Nazi Germany for its genocide of some 6 million Jews during World War II.
“Our people are now wandering in the world, seeking security as you once did,” said Zelenskyy, who is Jewish.
– Bailey Schulz
Despite a ”continued lack of progress,” Kyiv remains Russia’s primary military objective, according to British military officials. Heavy fighting continues north of the city in north-central Ukraine, but “the bulk” of Russian forces remain more than 15 miles from the center of the city, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update.
“Russian forces advancing on the city from the north-east have stalled,” the update reads. “Forces advancing from the direction of Hostomel to the north-west have been repulsed by fierce Ukrainian resistance.”
The ministry says Russia will likely prioritize attempts to encircle the city in the coming weeks.
– Bailey Schulz
New Zealand offers non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine
New Zealand plans to provide $5 million New Zealand dollars ($3.5 million) in non-lethal military assistance to support Ukraine. Funds will primarily go toward the NATO Trust Fund, which provides fuel, military rations, first aid kits and more to Ukraine.
“This is the first time New Zealand has provided direct funding to a third party organizzation for non-lethal military assistance of this kind,” Prime Minister Jacinda said in a statement. “By contributing directly to the NATO Trust Fund, Ukrainian forces on the ground can benefit from the additional assistance immediately.”
New Zealand will also make a variety of surplus defense equipment available to share with Ukraine, including body armor, helmets and vests.
– Bailey Schulz
Deputy National Security Adviser: US can broaden sanctions against Russia
Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh said Sunday that the U.S. has the ability to broaden its sanctions against Russia.
“(We can) take the measures, take the sanctions we’ve already applied, apply them in more targets. Apply them to more sectors,” Singh told CBS’ 60 Minutes. “More banks, more sectors that we haven’t touched.”
“It’s mostly about oil and gas, but there are other sectors too,” he added. “I don’t want to specify them, but I think Putin would know what those are.”
When asked what Putin would need to do to have sanctions lifted, Singh said “we’re nowhere near that point.”
“The first thing (Putin) has to do is to stop a reckless and barbaric attack on the civilians of Ukraine,” he said. “That’s not happening.”
– Bailey Schulz
What is a war of attrition?
Following weeks of Russian forces besieging residential cities and the Ukrainian military attempting to sever supply lines, Western governments and analysts say Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is beginning to become a war of attrition. But what does that mean?
Attrition warfare refers to wearing down an opponent to the point of exhaustion. One of the most famous examples of a war of attrition was World War I, which consisted of lengthy and prolonged battles, largely fought in trenches.
Britain’s defense intelligence chief said last week Russia was shifting to a ”strategy of attrition” after unexpected pushback from Ukrainian forces and failure to capture its largest cities. Chief of Defense Intelligence Lt. Gen. Jim Hockenhull said Russian forces’ new strategy “will involve the reckless and indiscriminate use of firepower. This will result in increased civilian casualties, destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure and intensify the humanitarian crisis.”
Mariupol’s city council accused the Russian military of bombing an art school Sunday where about 400 people had taken shelter. Days earlier, Russian forces bombed a theater in the strategic port city where civilians took shelter.
– Celina Tebor
More coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Contributing: Associated Press