Russia Urges Ukraine to Surrender Mariupol by Deadline, Cites 'Catastrophe'

The Russian military has urged Ukraine to surrender Mariupol amid the ongoing "catastrophe" gripping the eastern city.

Mariupol has been among the most-heavily targeted cities during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with numerous allegations of war crimes centered on the area. Fighting continued in the city on Sunday, according to the CBC, with its around 400,000 residents left without food, water, and utilities.

Citing the "terrible humanitarian catastrophe," Russian forces urged Ukrainian fighters in the city to cease fighting by 10 a.m. Moscow time on Monday. All who surrender by then will reportedly be "guaranteed safe passage" out of the city.

mairupol surrender russia ukraine
Ukrainian forces are being urged to surrender the city of Mariupol by Monday morning. Above, shelling seen outside of Mariupol in 2014. Philippe Desmazes/AFP via Getty Images

"A terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed," Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, leader of the Russian National Center for Defense Management, said on Sunday, according to The Hill. "All who lay down their arms are guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol."

Civilians have been evacuating Mariupol at a steady rate since the invasion began, thanks in part to humanitarian corridors agreed upon by Ukraine and Russia. Around 4,000 residents were able to leave the city on Sunday alone, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, with 50 more buses being sent to the city on Monday.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had severe words for Russia over the continued siege of Mariupol, after previously accusing the opposing military of "war crimes" in the city.

"To do this to a peaceful city," he said. "Is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come."

Ukrainian officials on Sunday reported that an art school housing 400 civilians in Mariupol had been bombed by Russian forces. The attack came only a few days after a theater housing between 1,000 and 1,200 residents, including children, was bombarded on Wednesday. The theater reportedly had the words "children" spray-painted on the outside of it in an effort to deter attacks.

On Thursday, it was reported that rescue operations were underway at the theater after civilians hiding in the basement were found to be alive.

"It's a miracle," Illia Ponomarenko, a defense reporter for the Kyiv Independent, said in a tweet. "Civilians that were hiding in a basement at the Drama Theater in Mariupol survived the air strike. Now they are getting evacuated from underneath the ruins."

While exact numbers were unavailable, Iuliia Mendel, a former aide to Zelensky, reported on Twitter that a majority of people in the theater had made it out as of Thursday afternoon.

"The bomb shelter in Mariupol Drama Theatre has survived the brutal Russian missile," Mendel wrote. "At least, majority stayed alive after bombing. People are getting out from the rubble."