Delay in weapons from west gives Russia ‘permission to take the lives of Ukrainians’: Zelenskiy
Charred houses, cratered lawns and an epic clean-up. This is the scene described by Guardian correspondent, Luke Harding, reporting to us from Chernihiv, about 150km north-east of Kyiv.
Russian forces advancing from Belarus bombarded the city during a traumatic 25-day siege. Several hundred people died. A couple of shells landed in front of Chernihiv’s gold-domed St Catherine’s church, one of an ensemble of ancient buildings dating back to Kyivan Rus, Ukraine’s original medieval dynasty.
Across swathes of territory vacated by Russia’s armed forces a great clean-up is under way. Homeowners are now tidying up and counting the cost of a devastating month-long occupation. Ukrainian army sappers collected left-behind munitions and defused mines – a vast ongoing job.
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Mariupol fighters ignore surrender demand
Ukraine has vowed that its forces will “fight to the end” in the besieged port city of Mariupol, after a Russian ultimatum for the remaining Ukrainian troops there to surrender expired.
Moscow is edging closer to full control of the city in what would be its biggest prize since it invaded Ukraine in February. Relentless bombardment and street fighting have left much of the city pulverised, killing at least 21,000 people by Ukrainian estimates.
“The city still has not fallen,” the prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said hours after Moscow’s deadline for fighters holed up and surrounded in a sprawling, fortress-like steelworks to surrender passed. “There’s still our military forces, our soldiers. So they will fight to the end,” he told ABC.
The fall of Mariupol, the largest trading port in the Sea of Azov – from which Ukraine exports grain, iron, steel and heavy machinery – would be an economic blow to Kyiv and a symbolic and strategic victory for Russia, connecting territory it holds in Donbas with the Crimea region it annexed in 2014.
The situation is “very difficult” in Mariupol, Zelenskiy told the Ukrayinska Pravda news portal. “Our soldiers are blocked; the wounded are blocked. There is a humanitarian crisis … Nevertheless, the guys are defending themselves.”
Russia gave remaining Ukrainian soldiers a 6am Moscow time (3am GMT) deadline to lay down their arms and a 1pm (10am GMT) deadline to evacuate, which passed without any sign of compliance by Ukrainian fighters holed up in the smouldering Azovstal steelworks.
Russian forces to close Mariupol and introduce pass system for entry and exit, mayor’s adviser says