Besieged port city of Mariupol may be ‘red line’ in talks with Russia: Ukraine FM

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Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol as a “red line” for the peace negotiations with the Russians, adding that there has been no recent diplomatic communication between Kyiv and Moscow at the foreign ministry levels.

“After Bucha, it was- it became particularly difficult to continue talking with the Russians. But as my president mentioned, Mariupol may be a red line,” Kuleba told CBS News in an interview on Sunday.

“The situation in Mariupol is both dire militarily and heartbreaking. The city doesn't exist anymore. The remainings of the Ukrainian army and large group of civilians are basically encircled by the Russian forces. They continue their struggle, but it seems from the way the Russian army behaves in Mariupol, they decided to raze the city to the ground at any cost,” he added.

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Russia gave Ukrainian soldiers an ultimatum on Sunday, offering them amnesty if they lay down their arms in Mariupol, one of the hardest hit cities in Ukraine and one Moscow said its forces has almost complete control over.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier that the elimination of the last Ukrainian forces in Mariupol would end the talks with Russia.

“The elimination of our troops, of our men [in Mariupol] will put an end to any negotiations,” he told state-run Ukrinform news agency.

Asked about what to expect the Russians would do in the coming weeks, Kuleba said: “Intensification of heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, in Donbas, large scale offensive of Russia in that part of Ukraine. And also desperate attempts of the Russian forces, as I said, and to- to finish with Mariupol at any cost. These are my expectations. And, of course, missile attacks on Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine seem to continue.”

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