Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that his country couldn’t fulfil “Russian ultimatums” and accused Moscow of seeking to “destroy” the country.
“Ukraine can’t fulfil Russian ultimatums. We must be destroyed first, then their ultimatum can be fulfilled,” he informed the media.
Also, Ukrainian officials have rejected a Russian demand that their forces in Mariupol lay down their arms and raise white flags in exchange for safe passage out of the besieged port city.
As Russia intensified its effort to pound Mariupol into submission, its ground offensive in other parts of Ukraine has become bogged down.
Western officials and analysts say the conflict is turning into “a grinding war of attrition”, with Russia bombarding cities.
Meanwhile, the UN migration agency has said that nearly 6.5 million people had been displaced in Ukraine as “a direct result of the war”, exceeding its worst forecasts.
They are in addition to the more than 3.3 million people the UN body says have fled across borders since the Russian offensive began on February 24.
Many of the displaced are particularly vulnerable, including pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic diseases, IOM said.
At least 925 people have been killed and nearly 1,500 wounded since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine while the number of people fleeing Ukraine has reached almost 3.5M, the UN said.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it has recorded 2,421 civilian casualties in Ukraine since “Russia’s armed attack” with 925 people, including 39 children, killed and 1,496 injured.
Most of the civilian casualties recorded in Ukraine were caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, missiles, and airstrikes.