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Ukraine proposes talks with Russia near besieged Mariupol plant

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Ukraine has invited Russia to talks near the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters and civilians are holding out in a city largely under Moscow's control, Kyiv said Sunday.

Talks near the sprawling steel works would provide a dramatic and symbolic backdrop because the site is the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the strategic port.

“We invited Russians to hold a special round of talks on the spot right next to the walls of Azovstal,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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Earlier in the day, Kyiv called for a truce in battered Mariupol for Orthodox Easter, celebrated in both Russia and Ukraine.

“Russia is continuously attacking the Mariupol Azovstal. The place where our civilians and military are located is shelled with heavy air bombs and artillery,” Zelenskyy advisor Mikhaylo Podolyak, said on Twitter.

The nationalist Azov regiment, at the forefront of the battles with Russian forces, has confirmed that civilians are also trapped in the plant.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces not to assault the plant this week, but to keep it under siege instead.

Read more:

Ukraine's military says Russian forces are trying to storm Azovstal plant

Ukraine’s Podolyak urges ‘real Easter truce’ as Russia continues shelling in Mairupol

‘Wickedness’ will not destroy Ukraine, Zelenskyy vows on Orthodox Easter

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