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Ukraine war: Russia’s deadline passes with Ukraine refusing to lay down arms and surrender Mariupol | World News

Ukraine has refused to surrender the besieged city of Mariupol, as Russian forces targeted the strategic port city of Odesa for the first time and intensified attacks on the capital Kyiv.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko announced a 40-hour curfew from 8pm local time tonight until 7am on Wednesday and ordered people to “stay at home – or in shelters when the alarm sounds” following the spike in indiscriminate attacks.

Meanwhile, the Russian advance on Kyiv appeared to have stalled, with Ukrainian forces also holding on to the eastern city of Kharkiv, as residents on the outskirts of Odesa who have been braced for an attack for weeks cleared debris from a Russian strike from the Black Sea.

Ukraine war live updates: Bodies laid out on pavement as Kyiv shopping centre hit

It came as residents refused Russia’s offer of “safe passage” out of Mariupol – with Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and an adviser to the southern port city’s mayor both saying there would be “no talk of any surrender” or the “laying down of arms”.

Few details were given of what would happen if the deal was rejected, although the Russian ministry of defence said the city’s authorities could face a military tribunal if they sided with “bandits”, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

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Ukraine map 21 March 2022

Key developments:

• The Kremlin says there needs to be significant progress on peace talks for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy face-to-face – as negotiators held a 90-minute video call
• US President Joe Biden will travel to Poland this week to discuss “humanitarian and human rights crisis”, the White House says
• Ukraine’s nuclear regulatory agency says the radiation monitors around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the world’s worst meltdown in 1986, have stopped working
• An ammonia leak at a chemical plant on the outskirts of the eastern city of Sumy, which spread about 1.5 miles (2.5km) in all directions, is now contained, say emergency officials – but the cause is still unknown
10,200 visas have been issued under the Ukraine Family Scheme, says the Home Office, with 31,500 applications submitted so far

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Massive explosion hits Kyiv shopping centre

Eight killed by Russian shelling in Kyiv as bodies laid out on pavement

At least eight people have been killed by Russian shelling in the capital, with a shopping centre, residential buildings offices and a gym among the places hit in the Podil district, police said.

“We saw a number of bodies laid out on the pavement outside the mall,” said Sky’s Alex Crawford.

One woman told her: “We heard a really loud explosion. We were in our apartment nearby and there was a terrible big noise. We don’t feel safe anywhere in Ukraine right now.”

Crawford added: “This is what life is like for those living in the city right now. An attack can come out of nowhere, any time, any place… they’re using long-range rocket strikes instead to terrorise and kill.”

Chris Cunningham Pictures to go with Alex Crawford's report from the scene of the shopping centre shelling in Ukraine
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The site of a destroyed shopping centre in the Podil district of Kyiv. Pics: Chris Cunningham, Sky News producer
Chris Cunningham Pictures to go with Alex Crawford's report from the scene of the shopping centre shelling in Ukraine

Putin’s forces ‘repulsed’ on outskirts of capital

However, Russian forces advancing from the north-east have stalled and the bulk remain more than 15 miles (25km) from the centre of the capital, according to British military intelligence.

“Heavy fighting continues north of Kyiv,” the UK’s Ministry of Defence said in its latest update.

“Russian forces advancing on the city from the north-east have stalled. Forces advancing from the direction of Hostomel to the north-west have been repulsed by fierce Ukrainian resistance. The bulk of Russian forces remain more than 25 kilometres from the centre of the city.

“Despite the continued lack of progress, Kyiv remains Russia’s primary military objective and they are likely to prioritise attempting to encircle the city over the coming weeks.”

First Russian assault on Odesa

Authorities in Odesa accused Russian forces of targeting civilians after carrying out a strike on homes in the outskirts of the city – the first such attack on the Black Sea port city.

“These are residential buildings where peaceful people live,” Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov was quoted as saying. “We will not leave Odesa and we will fight for our city.”

The city council said there were no casualties although the shelling caused a fire.

In the early hours residents heard “large bangs” coming from the Black Sea, where there has been a Russian naval build-up for the past week, said Sky correspondent Nick Martin.

Shrapnel from the shelling peppered holes into buildings, including apartments, and smashed windows – sending shards of glass cascading down on to the streets of the city and so-called jewel of the Black Sea.

A view of a building damaged by shelling in Odesa, Ukraine. Pic: AP
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Homes damaged by shelling in Odesa, Ukraine. Pic: AP
A man clears a broken window in the aftermath of a military strike in Odesa, Ukraine
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A man clears a broken window in the aftermath of a military strike in Odesa, Ukraine

Russia docks landing support ship near Mariupol

Russia says it has docked a large, landing support ship, the Orsk, in the occupied Ukrainian port of Berdyansk, 45 miles (70km) southwest of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.

“It is hard to overestimate the possibilities of using this port,” said the website of the Russian armed forces news outlet Zvezda (Star). “Now the southern flank of the special operation can receive everything necessary at any time, including equipment and ammunition.”

The website said 10 such ships – each can carry up to 20 tanks or 40 armoured personnel carriers – are part of what Moscow has called its “special military invasion” in Ukraine.

Mariupol, which sits between Russian military bases in Crimea and the disputed Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, has been surrounded from the outset of the invasion because its capture would allow Russian forces to unite.

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‘Terror once again on streets of Kyiv’

‘There can be no talk of any surrender’

Refusing the Kremlin’s offer to allow the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol if it surrendered, Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk told news outlet Ukrainian Pravda: “There can be no talk of any surrender, laying down of arms. We have already informed the Russian side about this.

“I wrote: ‘Instead of wasting time on eight pages of letters, just open the corridor’.”

Service members of pro-Russian troops are seen atop of a tank during Ukraine-Russia conflict on the outskirts of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 20, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
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Pro-Russian troops on the outskirts of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine
A child sits on the shoulders of a man near a building damaged in Mariupol
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It has been difficult for civilians to leave the city which has come under intense bombardment from Russian forces

Piotr Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, wrote in a Facebook post that he did not need to wait until morning to respond, and cursed at the Russians, according to news agency Interfax Ukraine.

The Russians have attacked Mariupol almost relentlessly since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, with the latest strike being at an art school that was sheltering around 400 people.

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Destroyed Mariupol seen from above

Siege of Mariupol ‘a terror that will be remembered for centuries’

Speaking earlier on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “They are under the rubble, and we don’t know how many survived.

“But we know that we will certainly shoot down the pilot who dropped that bomb, like about 100 such mass murderers whom we already have downed.”

He has described the siege of Mariupol a war crime and “a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come”.

Mariupol map

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of bombarding buildings including a maternity hospital, swimming pool and a shopping centre – as well as a theatre where it said people were sheltering last week.

Hundreds of men, women and children were thought to have been in the theatre’s basement after their homes were destroyed during the invasion – and the word “children” had reportedly been displayed in large letters at the site, prior to the attack, warning warplanes of those inside.

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Mariupol blockade is a ‘war crime’

At least 2,300 people in Mariupol are said to have died

Aid groups have said food, water, and electricity are running low in the city, with humanitarian access limited by the fighting.

The city’s authorities have said at least 2,300 people have died, some buried in mass graves.

Mariupol has been subjected to three-and-a-half weeks of Russian siege and shelling which the Red Cross says has caused “apocalyptic” destruction.

It has, at the same time, been one of the most difficult cities for civilians to leave, with humanitarian corridors rarely in operation, and each side blaming the other for the failure.

Thousands of Ukrainians from Mariupol have been “forcibly deported” to Russia, according to the city council.

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Sky’s John Sparks travels with the Ukrainian army

Nine-year-old boy among latest victims in Kharkiv, say police

Another city to have come under an unrelenting Russian assault is Kharkiv – a short drive from the border with Russia.

Authorities in the eastern city said at least five civilians have been killed in the latest Russian shelling.

Regional police in Ukraine’s second-largest city said victims of the artillery attack on Sunday included a nine-year-old boy.

Sky correspondent John Sparks travelled with the Ukrainian military to the front line on the outskirts of the city and described the “air filled with the deep-sounding boom of tank and artillery fire”.

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Signs war headed for ‘stalemate rather than negotiated solution’

The war is headed for “a long, grinding campaign” where the Russians “try and smash one town after another in the hope of breaking the will of the Ukrainian people”, former Foreign Office permanent secretary and national security adviser Lord Ricketts has said.

He told Sky News: “I think it is clear the Russians cannot win an outright victory – the Ukrainian resistance has been far too strong for that. We have seen even in Mariupol, after weeks and weeks of smashing that city to pieces, people are not ready to surrender to Russian forces.

“How much more difficult will that be in a massive city like Kyiv? They are clearly stalled, bogged down, all kinds of problems with their logistics and I don’t think they are ready yet to declare any kind of a ceasefire negotiation. The positions of the two sides are far too far apart for that.

“I think we are in for a stalemate rather than a negotiated solution.”

Ten million people have been displaced by the conflict, including nearly 3.5 million who have fled abroad, according to the UN refugee agency.

The Great Debate airs on Sky News at 9pm on Monday

Russia says it has hit a Ukrainian military facility

Russian air forces hit a Ukrainian army military facility in the Rivne region in the west of the country with cruise missiles, Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Monday.

“High-precision air-launched cruise missiles have struck a training centre for foreign mercenaries and Ukrainian nationalist formations,” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

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