With the majority of Mariupol under Russian military control and the Ukrainian media hyping up the presence of “terrifying” Chechen fighters, the Russian government issued an ultimatum this afternoon to the government in Mariupol. From the Russian State news service TASS:
The full story which is more of a warning in this author’s opinion:
Russia is waiting for Kiev’s response to the proposed measures on evacuating civilians from Mariupol until 05:00 am Moscow Time on March 21, Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, said on Sunday.
“We are calling on the official Kiev authorities to come to senses and cancel the earlier instructions that obliged the fighters to sacrifice themselves and become “the martyrs of Mariupol.” In addition, we insist on the Ukrainian side’s official written response until 05:00 am tomorrow, March 21, to all the above mentioned and purely humane proposals by Russia in order to rescue Mariupol residents and the city’s infrastructure,” Mizintsev stressed.
The defense official also appealed to “the notorious gunmen, who killed hundreds of innocent people and who are now calling themselves as representatives of the official local authorities in this unique city of Mariupol.”
“We realize that in the current situation very little depends on you because you are under full control of the nationalist battalions. However, we hope very much that you as well as the city mayor still have something elementary and human, at least the sense of compassion towards the civilians entrusted to you,” the general said.
Mizintsev stressed that now they have the right to a historic choice – either to be with their own people or to side with gunmen. “Otherwise, a military tribunal that awaits you is just a small thing what you deserve due to this mean attitude towards your own citizens and also horrible crimes and provocations staged by you. Among them are the explosions of a kindergarten, two schools, a maternity clinic, a drama theater building and a lot of other things. We are confident that the residents of Mariupol, who will be unable to get out of this blockade, will have the final say here,” the general stressed.
Take it for what one will, but odds are if the Ukrainians refuse to comply, the entire remaining parts of the city will be leveled, no matter world opinion.