Russia told Ukrainian forces fighting in Mariupol to lay down their arms on Sunday morning to save their lives, but there were noto Immediate activity reports two hours after the ultimatum takes effect at 3 a.m. GMT in the strategic southeastern port.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that it had virtually taken control of Mariupol, except for a few Ukrainian defenders who remained at a steel mill, but this claim could not be independently verified. It would be the first major city to fall to Russian forces since the invasion which began on February 24
For a complete visual guide to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, look no further than this excellent interactive article prepared by my colleagues earlier this week.
Hello from Delhi and Happy Easter to those celebrating. Hannah Ellis-Petersen here on the live blog for the next few hours following developments in Ukraine. Here is a summary of today’s events so far:
- The 3 a.m. GMT deadline set by Moscow for Ukrainian soldiers in the besieged city of Mariupol to “surrender or die” has passed, with neither the Ukrainian or Russian sides yet to signal whether the city is fully under Russian control. On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had cleared urban areas of Ukrainian forces and the remaining defenders were trapped in a steel mill.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the situation in Mariupol “inhumane” and called on the West to prove more weapons. “The successes of our military on the battlefield are truly significant, historically significant. But they are still not enough to cleanse our land of occupiers,” he said.
- Russian forces have renewed missile strikes on kyiv and stepped up shelling of Kharkiv, in an apparent strategy to hamper Ukraine’s defenses ahead of a planned large-scale Russian assault in the east. Explosions were heard in the early hours of Sunday in Kyiv. Russia had warned that it would intensify its missile bombardments after the sinking of its battleship Moskva.
- Russian air defense units reportedly shot down a military transport plane carrying Western weapons outside Odessa.
- The Ukrainian president has warned that the world “must be prepared” for the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons. On Saturday, the mayor of Trostianets, a town in the Sumy region of northern Ukraine, said authorities had found chemical weapons remnants including Sarin in the village of Bilka, which had been occupied by the Russians. The allegation has not been verified.
- The Russian Foreign Ministry has banned Johnson and other politicians and members of the British government from entering the country in response to “hostile action” by the government, including sanctions. The Kremlin has said it will expand restrictions on British politicians due to what it calls a “surge of anti-Russian hysteria”.