Russia Sets Deadline for Ukrainian Forces in Mariupol to Surrender

Russia on March 20 has set a deadline for Ukrainian forces in the besieged eastern port city of Mariupol to surrender.

The Russian Defense Ministry gave Ukrainian troops in Mariupol until 5 a.m. (Moscow time) to “lay down their arms.”

“All who lay down their arms are guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol,” Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the director of the Russian National Defense Management Center, said, according to Russian state media RIA Novosti.

The humanitarian corridors for civilians would be opened eastwards and westwards out of Mariupol at 10 a.m. (Moscow time), according to Mizintsev.

Mizintsev claimed that “a terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed” in Mariupol and warned that those who do not surrender will face a “military tribunal.”

Mizintsev called on official authorities in Kyiv to “see reason” and to cancel earlier orders that obliged Ukrainian troops “to sacrifice themselves and to become the ‘martyrs of Mariupol.'”

The latest demand came after Ukrainian officials said on March 20 that Russian forces bombed an art school where 400 people were seeking refuge in Mariupol.

City authorities also said that Russian forces forcibly transported some residents, mostly women and children, to Russia and stripped off their Ukrainian passports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Russian attacks on Mariupol would “go down in history” as “war crimes.”

“To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” Zelensky said in a video message.

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