Russia’s Defence Ministry said if Ukrainian forces in the Azovstal steelworks lay down their arms starting at 0300 GMT on Sunday, their lives would be spared, Tass news agency said. A senior Russian officer was quoted as saying the offer, made after weeks of fierce fighting, was prompted by “the catastrophic situation” in the steelworks as well as “purely humane principles”.
There was no immediate response from Kyiv.
As Moscow launched long-range missile attacks across the country following the sinking of its Black Sea flagship, Moscow said its warplanes had struck a tank repair factory in Kyiv on Saturday. An explosion was heard and smoke rose over the southeastern Darnytskyi district. The mayor said at least one person was killed and medics were fighting to save others.
The Ukrainian military said Russian warplanes that took off from Belarus had fired missiles at the Lviv region near the Polish border and four cruise missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defences.
The western city has been relatively unscathed so far and serves as a haven for refugees and international aid agencies.
In Mariupol, Reuters journalists reached the Ilyich steelworks, one of two metals plants where defenders had held out in underground tunnels and bunkers. Moscow claimed to have captured it on Friday.
The factory was reduced to a ruin of twisted steel and blasted concrete, with no sign of defenders present. Several bodies of civilians lay scattered on nearby streets.
The Russian defence ministry said its troops had “completely cleared” Mariupol’s urban area of Ukrainian forces and blockaded the “remnants” in the Azovstal steelworks, RIA news agency said. It said that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces in the city had lost more than 4,000 personnel.
Later on Saturday, Zelenskiy accused Russia of “deliberately trying to destroy everyone” in Mariupol and said his government was in touch with the defenders. But he did not address Moscow’s claim that Ukrainian forces were no longer in urban districts.
The governor of Kharkiv province in the east said at least one person was killed and 18 injured in a missile strike. Smoke billowed from burning cars and the remains of what appeared to be an office building in the city.
In Mykolaiv, a city close to the southern front, Russia said it had struck a military vehicle repair factory.
The attacks followed Russia’s announcement on Friday it would intensify long-range strikes in retaliation for unspecified acts of “sabotage” and “terrorism”, hours after it confirmed the sinking of its Black Sea flagship, the Moskva.
Kyiv and Washington say the ship, whose sinking has become a symbol of Ukrainian defiance, was hit by Ukrainian missiles. Moscow says it sank after a fire and its crew of around 500 were evacuated.
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Russia’s Defence Ministry published video of the head of the navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, meeting on a parade ground with about a hundred sailors it said were members of the crew.
A month and a half into President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia is trying to capture territory in the south and east after withdrawing from the north following an assault on Kyiv that was repelled at the capital’s outskirts.
Russian troops that pulled out of the north left behind towns littered with bodies of civilians, evidence of what U.S. President Joe Biden this week called genocide.
Russia denies targeting civilians and says the aim of its “special military operation” is to disarm its neighbour, defeat nationalists and protect separatists in the southeast.