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Ukraine Refuses To Surrender Besieged Mariupol; Key Developments

Russia's Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev added that Russia will wait until 5 am Monday for a written Kyiv's response to the Russian proposal for the Ukrainian troops to leave Mariupol but didn't say what action Russia will take if its “humanitarian offer” is rejected.

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The Russian military has offered the Ukrainian troops defending the strategic port of Mariupol to lay down arms and exit the city via humanitarian corridors, but that proposal was quickly rejected by the Ukrainian authorities.

Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said Sunday that all Ukrainian soldiers could leave the Azov Sea port Monday using safe routes for evacuating civilians that had been previously agreed with Ukraine and head to areas controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. 

He said that “all those who lay down arms will be guaranteed a safe exit from Mariupol.” 

Mizintsev added that Russia will wait until 5 am Monday for a written Kyiv's response to the Russian proposal for the Ukrainian troops to leave Mariupol but didn't say what action Russia will take if its “humanitarian offer” is rejected.

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in remarks carried by Ukrainska Pravda news outlet that Kyiv already had told Russia that “there can be no talk about surrender and laying down weapons.” 

She rejected the Russian statement as “manipulation.” 

Mizintsev said that the deliveries of humanitarian supplies to the city will immediately follow if the Ukrainian troops agree to leave the city. He added that civilians will be free to choose whether to leave Mariupol or stay in the city.

Key developments: 

  • Zelenskyy evokes Holocaust as he appeals to Israel for aid. 
  • No city anymore':  Mariupol survivors take train to safety. 
  • Amid new bombings, Ukraine now seen as a war of attrition. 
  • Across Europe, Ukrainian exiles pray for peace  back home. 
  • Ukraine war is backdrop in US push for hypersonic weapons.
  • How the US and its allies  united to punish Putin. 

 Other developments:

 Kyiv: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the Russian bombing of a school in Mariupol where civilians took refuge.

Speaking in a video address early Monday, Zelenskyy said about 400 civilians were taking shelter at the art school in the besieged Azov Sea port city when it was struck by a Russian bomb.

“They are under the rubble, and we don't know how many of them have survived,” he said. “But we know that we will certainly shoot down the pilot who dropped that bomb, like about 100 other such mass murderers whom we already have downed.” 

Zelenskyy, who spoke to members of the Israeli parliament via video link on Sunday, thanked Israel for its efforts to broker talks with Russia. 

He praised Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for trying to help “find a negotiation track with Russia ... so that we sooner or later start talking with Russia, possibly in Jerusalem.” “It would be the right place to find peace if possible,” he added.

The Ukrainian president also said that he had a call Sunday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a “true friend of Ukraine,” to discuss support for Ukraine during this week's summit of the Group of Seven and NATO.

Zelenskyy said 7,295 Ukrainians were evacuated from zones of combat on Sunday, including nearly 4,000 from Mariupol. 

He also hailed people in the southern city of Kherson for taking to the streets Sunday to protest the Russian occupation, showing “Ukrainian courage, armless against the occupiers.” 

Lviv: Management of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986, said Sunday that 50 staff members who had been on the job since the plant was seized by Russian forces on Feb. 24 have been rotated out and replaced.

Officials had repeatedly expressed alarm that the staff was suffering exhaustion after weeks of forced, unrelieved work and that this endangered the decommissioned plant's safety.

The authority that manages the plant did not give specifics on how agreement was reached to let the workers leave and others come in to replace them.

 Ukrainian survivors of one of the most brutal sieges in modern history were in the final minutes of their train ride to relative safety.

Some carried only what they had at hand when they seized the chance to escape the port of Mariupol amid relentless Russian bombardment. 

Some fled so quickly that relatives who were still in the starving, freezing Ukrainian city on the Sea of Azov aren't aware that they have gone.

“There is no city anymore,” Marina Galla said. She wept in the doorway of a crowded train compartment that was pulling into the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

Even as they finally fled Mariupol, aiming to reach trains heading west to safety, Russian soldiers at checkpoints made a chilling suggestion: It would be better to go to the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol or the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula instead.

Mariupol authorities say nearly 10% of the city's population of 430,000 have fled over the past week.

 Washington: China's ambassador to the US is defending his country's refusal to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, contending such a rebuke will do nothing to stop the violence.

Qin Gang tells CBS's “Face the Nation” that China's condemnation would not help and that he is doubtful it would have any effect on Russia.

He says China wants “friendly, good neighbourly relations with Russia” and will keep up “normal trade, economic, financial, energy cooperation with Russia” as it continues “to promote peace talks” and urge an immediate ceasefire from Russia through negotiation and diplomacy.

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Qin spoke after President Joe Biden last week warned Chinese President Xi Jinping of “consequences” if China gave material aid to Russia to support its war in Ukraine. Ukraine has since called on China to join Western countries and Japan in condemning Russia's attack.

On Sunday, Qin said China is not providing any military assistance to Russia. He insisted that China remains “against a war” and “will do everything” -- short of condemnation -- “to deescalate the crisis.” 

Jerusalem: Ukraine's president called on Israel to take a stronger stand against Russia as he compared the invasion of his country to atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during World War II.

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In a speech delivered Sunday via Zoom to members of Israel's parliament, Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to carry out a “permanent solution” against Ukraine. 

That was the term used by Nazi Germany for its genocide of some 6 million Jews.

Zelenskyy also noted that a Russian missile attack recently struck Babi Yar in Ukraine, where over 30,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis over two days in 1941. 

The site is now Ukraine's main Holocaust memorial.

“You know what this place means, where the victims of the Holocaust are buried,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has emerged as a key mediator between Russia and Ukraine, in part because Israel has good relations with both sides.

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Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, urged Israel to follow moves by Western countries to impose sanctions on Russia and provide Ukraine weapons.

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