Ukraine accuses the Russians of wanting to destroy the Donbass, which will continue to be defended

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday accused Russia of wanting to “destroy” the entire eastern region of Donbass and vowed to do everything in its defense, starting with the strategic port of Mariupol, where the surrounded soldiers are called to fight, ” until the end”.

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“Russian soldiers are preparing for an offensive in the east of our country in the near future. They want to literally finish off and destroy Donbass,” Mr. Zelensky pounded in a video message.

“Just as the Russian military is destroying Mariupol, they want to destroy other cities and other communities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” he continued, before launching: “We are doing everything to ensure defense.”

“Sabotage the occupiers’ orders. Don’t cooperate with them (…) You have to stand your ground,” he said, adding to westerners that “the need for an embargo on oil supplies from Russia is growing every day”.

In the east, the Russian Defense Ministry assured on Sunday that “high-precision missiles destroyed fuel and ammunition depots” in Barvinkove (Izium region) and Dobropillia (not far from Donetsk).

“The constant bombing of the region (of Lugansk) continues,” said Ukrainian governor Serguiï Gaïdaï at the same time. The village of “Zolote” was hit hard today. They deliberately aimed at a five-story building… Two people were killed and five injured.”




AFP

In this regard, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine announced the suspension of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from the eastern part of Ukraine, due to the failure to reach a ceasefire agreement with the Russian army.

Further north, in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, at least five people died and 20 others were injured in a series of Russian strikes on Sunday, regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov said.

“In the last four days alone, 18 people have been killed and 106 injured” in the bombing of that city, Mr. Zelensky noted for his part, chastising “premeditated terror”.

AFP journalists at the scene heard two shells and saw five fires spreading through residential areas in central Kharkiv.

Stunned, Svitlana Pelelyguina wandered down a street watching smoke rise from the ruins of her home after she was struck by one of the strikes. “The whole apartment started to sway and shake,” the 71-year-old told the AFP news agency. “And everything started to catch fire.”

Despite Russia’s ultimatum on Sunday ordering the last Ukrainian soldiers present in Mariupol to lay down their arms, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Khmygal gave assurances that the resistance would continue.

“No, the city didn’t fall. Our soldiers are still there. You will fight to the end. As I speak to you, you are still in Mariupol,” he told ABC.

Moscow had asked the last Ukrainian militants holed up in the Azovstal metallurgical complex to cease fire in the morning and evacuate the site by noon.

“Everyone who surrendered their weapons will have their life saved,” the Russian Defense Ministry promised in a telegram. “It’s her only chance.”

Early on Sunday morning, the Ukrainian General Staff reported Russian air raids on Mariupol without further details, mentioning “assault operations near the port”.

The capture of this city would be an important victory for the Russians, as it would allow them to consolidate their territorial gains on the coast along the Sea of ​​Azov, linking the Donbass region, partially controlled by their supporters, with Moscow-annexed Crimea in 2014.

For Volodymyr Zelenskyy, “the situation in Mariupol remains as serious as it can be. Simply inhuman”.

He believes there are only “two options”: either the Westerners immediately deliver heavy weapons to help him lift the siege on the city of 441,000 before the start of the Russian offensive on February 24, or they help him launch a To gain attitude by negotiating to fight.

“There is no food, no water, no medicine” in Mariupol, he got carried away by the media and accused Moscow of “refusing” to set up humanitarian corridors.

For her part, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk on Sunday called for the opening of an evacuation route for the wounded soldiers still there.

According to World Food Program director-general David Beasley, more than 100,000 civilians in Mariupol are at risk of starvation, even without heating.

In the Kyiv region, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that it had fired high-precision missiles at an ammunition factory near Brovary.

The mayor of this locality, Igor Sapojko, confirmed that “some elements of the infrastructure were affected in the early hours of the morning”.

In the past three days, Russian forces have carried out several attacks on military factories in the capital region after the cruiser Moskva was shot down in the Black Sea.

A complex that produces Neptun missiles, which the Ukrainians claim to have used to sink this flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, was targeted on Friday.

And on Saturday, a strike at a factory on the outskirts of Kyiv that mainly makes tanks killed one person and required “several” to be hospitalized.

The capital and its environs had been relatively unscathed by bombardment since the Russian army withdrew from the area in late March, but the loss of the Moskva River ignited Moscow’s ire.

According to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who met Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday, the Russian president is “now in his own war logic” and “believes he is winning the war”.

For his part, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Sunday deplored the apparent ineffectiveness of the “dialogue” with the Kremlin’s master, noting that these contacts did not prevent the “grey” in Ukraine from continuing.

Speak like MM Nehammer and Draghi to a media outlet – in this case CNN – Zelensky said he had invited Emmanuel Macron to visit his country to see Russian forces committing “genocide,” a term coined by his French counterpart has so far refused.

For his part, Pope Francis called on the heads of state to “hear the people’s call for peace” on this “Easter of War”, again referring to the “martyred” Ukraine.

In Kramatorsk (east), about forty believers, mostly women, attended the Palm Sunday liturgy at the Svyato Pokrovsky Orthodox Church, an AFP journalist noted.

“It’s hard, very hard and scary right now,” said one woman as she arrived in front of the four gold-domed building. “We must pray for our soldiers to have strength and faith, it is necessary,” she added.

In Lviv, a city in western Ukraine relatively spared from the fighting, believers also celebrated the religious holiday.

Natalia Borysiuk, a 29-year-old woman who works in information technology, held a bouquet of willow and wheat tied with a blue and yellow ribbon, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and took the opportunity to pray for “peace and victory “. “.

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