Ukraine faces intense Russian assault | Defies Russian demand to lay down arms

The Ukrainian President is rejecting Russian deadlines to surrender key cities to halt the military invasion. In an interview with America's NBC news Zelensky spoke about moscow asking ukraine to hand over Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Kyiv as a possible resolution to the conflict.

Zelensky also doubled down on a call for direct talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, as the key to ending the war.

The city of mariupol has already been under heavy siege for almost three weeks. Now the southern port has been relentlessly assaulted by Russia. European Union Foreign Policy Chief Joseph Burrell described it as a massive war crime.

[caption id="attachment_58" align="aligncenter" width="359"]Ukraine faces intense Russian assault Ukraine faces intense Russian assault[/caption]

Mariupol has suffered from some of the heaviest bombardments since Russia launched its invasion last month. Ukraine on monday, defied a Russian demand that its forces should lay down arms before dawn in Mariupol which remains a pivotal target in Putin's war.

If it's seized by Putin's forces, it would provide a land bridge between Russian forces in crimea to the south-west, and Russian-controlled territory to the north and the east.

[caption id="attachment_57" align="aligncenter" width="408"]Ukraine faces intense Russian assault Ukraine faces intense Russian assault[/caption]

The battle for Mariupol is also symbolic for both kyiv even Moscow. It's a port city on the Azov sea. It is the home ground to the Azov battalion. A Ukrainian militia unit with far right sympathies. At least two hundred thousand residents remain trapped in the city without food, water, or power.

The united nations has recorded 925 civilian deaths including 70 children, but fatalities are almost certainly higher. Marijuana officials say the death toll in that city alone has surpassed 2000 amid Russia's indiscriminate shelling, and some parts of the city are controlled by Russian forces while some remain under Ukrainian control.
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