The Ukrainian President in a speech has accused Russia of completely destroyed and flattened the Eastern Donbas region in the nearly three-month-old war.
Volodymyr Zelensky said “There are constant strikes on the Odesa region, on the cities of central Ukraine. The Donbas is completely destroyed.”
“All this has no and cannot have any military explanation for Russia,” Zelensky added.
“This is a deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible. Destroy as many houses, social facilities and enterprises as possible,” the Ukrainian leader said.
On Thursday, Ukraine’s defence ministry accused Russia of intensifying its attacks in the Donbas and preventing civilians from fleeing.
Information from Russia suggests 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, with some emerging on crutches.
Russian troops patted down those surrendering and inspected their bags as they exited, signalling the effective end of what Ukraine’s government had called a “heroic” resistance.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had registered “hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war” from the plant in Mariupol.
Ukraine is hoping to exchange the Azovstal soldiers for Russian prisoners. But pro-Kremlin authorities in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region said some of them could be put on trial.