Invading Russian forces offered to open “a surrender corridor,” promising to spare Ukrainian troops defending the city, but the offer was rejected, advisor to the city’s mayor Petro Andruschenko said on April 17.
Andruschenko also rejected Russian claims that the fighting was going on only near the Azovstal plant. According to him, recent clashes took place as far as five kilometers away from the plant, on Tahanrozka Street.
“The invaders laid heavy artillery fire on private homes; buildings near the automotive academy suffered the most,” said Andruschenko.
He added that Mariupol’s port was under constant fire, and repeated that the city remains unsafe for civilians.
Andruschenko said that Ukrainian humanitarian aid is being blocked by the Russians, while Moscow’s “relief” efforts are woefully inadequate. The collapsed healthcare system in the city has left people with chronic conditions at risk.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said if Mariupol’s defenders were killed, it would put an end to peace talks with Russia, and called the conditions in the city “severe and inhumane.”
On April 4, an officer of the Azov battalion defending the city said that it was possible to break the Russian encirclement of Mariupol, provided there was decisive action by Ukraine’s leadership.
According to President Zelensky, Russian troops have destroyed 95% of all buildings in Mariupol, while the civilian death toll could be as high as 22,000.