Ukraine on Monday refused Russian demands to return Mariupol, the beleaguered port city the focal point of a war that has reached a brutal stalemate but is fueling a devastating humanitarian crisis.
Kyiv rejected a request to abandon the city at 5 a.m. local time (11 p.m. ET), after Moscow promised to allow civilians trapped amid bombardment without water, heating or medicine to escape if its defenders laid down their arms.
Seizing control of the strategic city would represent a significant victory for the Russian forces, with their advance appearing to stop elsewhere and their campaign turning to intensifying aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities.
A new attack on kyiv on Sunday evening killed at least eight people and destroyed a shopping mall, Ukrainian officials said. An official death toll was still being determined.
President Joe Biden will visit Europe this week as the United States and its allies seek to bolster Ukraine and punish the Kremlin for its invasion. The trip will include a visit to Poland, a NATO ally neighboring Ukraine, the White House announced Sunday evening.
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Rescuers work at the site of the kyiv shopping center hit by an airstrike
Emergency services officials contained an ammonia leak at a chemical plant that contaminated a large area of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, officials said on Monday.
Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy did not specify the cause of the leak, which spread about 2.5 km in all directions from the Sumykhimprom plant.
The factory is on the eastern outskirts of the city, which has a population of around 263,000 and has been regularly bombarded by Russian troops in recent weeks.
Biden’s European trip will include a stopover in Poland
President Joe Biden’s trip abroad this week will include a stopover in Poland, which borders Ukraine, the White House announced Sunday.
It was previously announced that the president would travel to Brussels to meet with NATO allies, European Union officials and leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations to discuss support for Ukraine’s defense against the invasion of Russia.
The announced new leg of the trip will see Biden travel to Warsaw on Friday for a meeting with President Andrzej Duda, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. She tweeted earlier that his travels would not include a stopover in Ukraine.
The focus of the trip will be “international efforts to support Ukraine and impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia for its invasion”, according to Psaki’s statement.