Russia ordered Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to surrender on Sunday morning

A local resident sits by a fire in the courtyard outside a damaged building in Mariupol, Ukraine, April 14.
A local resident sits next to a fire in the courtyard outside a damaged building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 14. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

In his most recent Saturday address to the Ukrainian people, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol and promised a better future when the conflict ends.

Zelensky said “the situation in Mariupol remains as dire as possible. It is inhumane.”

“Russia is deliberately destroying everyone present in Mariupol,” he said.

An estimated 100,000 people remain in Mariupol and the areas around it, much of it under Russian control, while the Ukrainian military is confined to pockets of resistance.

“There are only two ways to influence this,” says Zelensky. “Either our partners will supply Ukraine with all necessary heavy weapons, aircraft and, without exaggeration, immediately … Or a negotiated path in which the roles of the partners will be taken. must also be decisive.”

Zelesnky said his government has been trying day by day to end the siege of Mariupol: “Military or diplomatic – anything to save the people. But finding this solution is extremely difficult.”

“While we’ve heard many intentions from people who want to help and who are really in positions of international influence, none of them have materialized yet.” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron on March 25 proposed a mass evacuation by sea, but the plan went nowhere.

Zelensky said that on a daily basis he either the commander of the armed forces or the chief negotiator of Ukraine was “in contact with the defenders of our Mariupol. Every day.”

Zelensky also said his government had begun planning for a post-war future.

“Today I held a meeting dedicated to rebuilding our cities,” he said. “Of course, this is a huge amount of work. But still less than defending the state in war.”

The president added, “Now is a historic moment; a time when we can solve many of the old problems of the entire environment of our lives once and for all.”

Zelensky addresses the housing situation and what he calls “the real modernization of our cities.”

“Millions of people know how hard it is to get a home, earn money for their own apartment, build a home… Today, I set out on a mission to provide temporary housing for all our IDPs [internally displaced.]… People whose homes were ravaged by war. Temporary housing until we rebuild their home. “

Priority will be given to veterans homes, he said, to “provide housing for all those who have defended or are defending the state, who have been or are working for the benefit of society.” , and has no housing of his own. That may no longer be the case for a person who dedicates his life to military service, but retires without an apartment of his own.”

Zelensky also said memorial services are being planned, one of which “will tell the story of the destroyed bridge in the Kyiv region, which connects Irpin and Bucha with Kyiv. The story of those who escaped the army. invade Russia to Kyiv using this bridge and this road.”

The bridge was an escape route for thousands of civilians from Russian shelling in March.

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