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An offer from Moscow this week for Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol to lay down their arms in exchange for a safe evacuation out of the besieged city had no takers, a report says, with one Marine commander saying that “no one believes the Russians.”
The tactical flop has prompted Russia’s Ministry of Defence to announce Wednesday that it will “once again offer the nationalist battalion fighters and foreign mercenaries to stop fighting and lay down their weapons” by 7 a.m. ET. Their first deadline and safe surrender offer on Tuesday passed with not a single soldier agreeing, the ministry said, according to Reuters.
“No one believes the Russians,” Maj. Serhiy Volyna of Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade told the Washington Post, adding that others who previously have trusted Russia’s guarantees of safe passage have been met with gunfire.
Smoke rises above the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works factory, in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this still image obtained from a recent drone video posted on social media.
(Mariupol City Council/Reuters)
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Ukrainian soldiers trying to defend Mariupol are taking cover in the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works factory. Ukraine also says there are civilians inside the facility.
In a Facebook video posted Wednesday, Volyna said he believes Russian forces are currently outnumbering Ukrainians there 10 to one.
Russian military vehicles move on a highway in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces near Mariupol, Ukraine, on Monday.
“This is our appeal to the world … we are probably facing our last days, if not hours,” Volyna warned.
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Damaged Ukrainian army military vehicles with a Ukrainian national flag are seen at the partly destroyed Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Monday.
“We are only defending one object, the Azovstal plant, where, in addition to military personnel, there are also civilians who have fallen victim to this war,” the marine commander added. He said there were “more than 500 wounded” at the plant and “hundreds” of civilians sheltering in the building.
Unverified video of women and children said to be in bunkers beneath the Azovstal plant in Mariupol has circulated in recent days.
Fox News’ Tyler O’Neil and James Levinson contributed to this report.