Ukraine has dominated out agreeing to a ceasefire with Russia – and mentioned it won’t settle for any cope with Moscow that includes giving up territory.
It got here as Russia intensified its offensive within the jap Donbas area and as fears grew for the Ukrainian fighters who grew to become prisoners on the finish of the brutal three-month siege of Mariupol.
After ending weeks of resistance by the final Ukrainian fighters within the strategic southeastern metropolis of Mariupol, Russia is now waging what seems to be a significant new offensive in Luhansk, certainly one of two provinces in Donbas.
Russian-backed separatists already managed swathes of territory in Luhansk and the neighbouring Donetsk province earlier than the invasion on 24 February, however Moscow needs to grab the final remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donbas.
Zelenskyy vows Russian victories are ‘very short-term’ – stay Ukraine updates
The Russians have already secured the land bridge from Crimea to Donbas, which is able to show troublesome for Ukraine to take again.
“The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned in his nightly tackle.
“The Russian army was trying to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces were holding off their advance,” he added.
Eyewitness: This is what hell seems to be like
Earlier, Mr Zelenskyy instructed native tv that whereas the preventing can be bloody, the tip of the struggle would come solely via “diplomacy” and that the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory can be short-term.
His adviser Mykhailo Podolyak dominated out agreeing to a ceasefire, as he mentioned making concessions would backfire on Ukraine as a result of Russia would solely hit again more durable after any break in preventing.
He added that Kyiv wouldn’t settle for any cope with Moscow that concerned ceding territory.
Meanwhile, concern is mounting for the Ukrainian fighters taken prisoner after Russia claimed full management of the Azovstal metal plant, which for weeks was the final holdout in Mariupol and had grow to be an emblem of Ukrainian defiance.
The strategic port metropolis is now in ruins with greater than 20,000 residents feared lifeless.
Other key developments:
• US President Joe Biden signs-off on practically $40bn (£32bn) extra in support for Ukraine
• Kremlin updates its “stop list” of US officers and well-known figures who’re banned from getting into Russia – and it now consists of actor Morgan Freeman
The Russian Defence Ministry launched video of Ukrainian troopers being detained after saying its forces had eliminated the final fighters from the metal plant’s intensive underground tunnels.
Moscow-backed separatist leaders have vowed the troopers will face tribunals.
‘Justice should be restored’
Denis Pushilin, the pro-Kremlin head of an space of jap Ukraine managed by Moscow-backed separatists, claimed 2,439 folks had been in custody.
As fears develop over their therapy, relations of the metal mill fighters, who got here from quite a lot of navy and legislation enforcement models, have pleaded for them to be given rights as prisoners of struggle and finally returned to Ukraine.
Russian officers and state media have sought to characterise the fighters as neo-Nazis and criminals.
Russian state information company Tass quoted Mr Pushilin as saying: “I believe that justice must be restored.”