'To save our guys': Ukraine willing to hold Mariupol talks to aid evacuations
- Russia has escalated the assault on Mariupol
- "We are ready to hold a special round of negotiations right in Mariupol", an official said
- Ukraine rejected Russia's demand of surrender
Ukraine said it would be willing to hold special diplomatic negotiations with Russia in an attempt to evacuate those individuals stuck in the city of Mariupol, both civilian and military. "To save our guys", a Ukrainian negotiation wrote in a social media post.
Mykhailo Podolyak, the advisor to the Head of the Office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote in the social media post, "We are ready to hold a 'special round of negotiations' right in Mariupol. One on one. Two on two. To save our guys, Azov, military, civilians, children, the living & the wounded. Everyone. Because they are ours. Because they are in my heart. Forever."
Top Ukrainian negotiators were reportedly maintaining close contact with the military and said that "a proposal was put forward to hold direct negotiations, on-site, on the evacuation of our military garrison" on Wednesday.
The situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol has been worsening, as per Ukrainian military officials. Russian forces were accused of violating a local ceasefire, which was designed to allow women, children and elderly people to flee the city, Reuters reported.
What about Russia's surrender demand?
Moscow called on Ukrainian forces to drop their arms and surrender in the city of Mariupol. The demand came after Russia had repositioned its forces in the Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine in an attempt to revamp its assault.
The Azov Battalion, a specialised armed unit of Ukraine that has now been integrated with the military, has been at the frontlines in Mariupol.
Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of the unit, released a video message on Tuesday and rejected Russia's demands of surrender, according to Reuters.
"Let me say that we do not accept the conditions set down by the Russian Federation on giving up our weapons and our defenders giving themselves up as prisoners", Palamar said.