As a planned truce in the besieged port city of Mariupol broke amid images of terror, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Ukrainian independence was in jeopardy and compared Western sanctions on Russia to “declaring war.”
Russian troops continued to shell besieged cities, and the number of Ukrainians forced to flee their nation swelled to 1.4 million as the Kremlin’s rhetoric became more vehement and a respite from fighting faded.
The Ukrainian government has urged men aged 18 to 60 to remain in the country and be ready to fight. Volodymyr Onysko, for example, has volunteered.
“We understand why we’ve come. Mr Onysko told Sky News in the United Kingdom, “We know why we defend our country.” “We know what we’re doing, which is why we’re going to win.”
Mr Putin proceeded to blame the Ukrainian authorities for the crisis and condemned their opposition to the Russian military intervention.
“If they keep doing what they’re doing, they’re putting the future of Ukrainian sovereignty in jeopardy,” he stated. “And it will be solely on their conscience if something occurs.”
He also slammed Western sanctions for crippling Russia’s economy and driving down the value of its ruble.
“These measures are the equivalent of declaring war,” he declared during a televised meeting with Russian carrier Aeroflot flight attendants. “But, thank God, we’re still not there.”
MasterCard and Visa announced that they would cease operations in Russia, dealing further blow to the country’s financial sector.
The battle to impose interim ceasefires in Mariupol and the eastern city of Volnovakha ten days after Russian soldiers entered revealed the frailty of efforts to end the fighting across Ukraine.
Despite evacuation arrangements, civilians were unable to leave due to Russian artillery and air strikes, according to Ukrainian officials. Ukraine, Mr Putin claimed, was obstructing the project.
According to Davyd Arakhamia, a member of the Ukrainian team, the third round of discussions between Russia and Ukraine will take place on Monday. He did not provide any other information, including the location of the events.
Previous meetings in Belarus resulted in a failed ceasefire agreement to create humanitarian corridors for the relocation of children, women, and the elderly from besieged cities where pharmacies are running out of medicine, hundreds of thousands are facing food and water shortages, and the injured are succumbing to wounds.
Thousands of citizens had gathered for safe passage out of Mariupol, according to Mayor Vadym Boychenko, when shelling began and the evacuation was halted. Later in the day, he stated that the attack had intensified.
“The city is under siege in a very, very tough way,” Boychenko said on Ukrainian television. “The shelling of residential blocks continues unabated, and planes have dropped bombs on residential neighborhoods.” Heavy artillery, including Grad multiple rocket launchers, is being used by the Russian occupiers.”
Even as he declared that Russia was defeated, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged with US senators for more assistance, specifically fighter planes to help protect the airspace over Ukraine.
Mr Zelenskyy said, “We’re inflicting casualties on the [Russian military] they couldn’t see in their darkest nightmare.”