Russia Blames Ukrainian Nationalists for Humanitarian Catastrophe in Mariupol
The head of the National Defense Management Center, Mikhail Maizintsev, reported that the radicals organized "large-scale terror" in the districts of the city still under their control.
"A terrible humanitarian catastrophe has occurred in Mariupol as a result of lawlessness of Ukrainian nationalists. Desperate and beside themselves, the bandits, realizing that it is impossible for Kiev to render them help, have sown mass terror in the city's neighborhoods they still control.
At the same time, the reliable information we received evidences the horrible atrocities of the militiamen crazed out of desperation," he said.
The colonel general stressed that the information obtained from radio listeners among the nationalists and their superiors in Kiev reveals the anger they feel towards the central authorities for having abandoned them. "At the same time, they are forced to strictly obey the order to 'endure to death', and have already been given the status of 'Mariupol martyrs'."
According to the Russian MoD, Kiev encouraged nationalists in the besieged city to become an "example of resilience," sacrifice themselves so that they would be given the status of "martyrs of Mariupol." To achieve this goal, they were given the green light to use more than 200,000 of the city residents as "human shields."
Maizintsev urged the nationalists, as well as units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the so-called Territorial Defense to lay down their arms and leave the city for the Kiev-controlled territory. "All those who have laid down their arms are guaranteed safe exit from Mariupol and preservation of their lives," he assured.
Russian forces are finalizing the defeat of the Ukrainian nationalist Donbass battalion
On Sunday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov reported that russian forces are finalizing the defeat of the Ukrainian nationalist battalion in Donbass.
During the day, Russian troops advanced 12 kilometers and, in cooperation with the militia of the Donetsk People's Republic, blockaded the locality of Sládkoye from three sides, the spokesman said.
"Up to 60 militants, two tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles and six pieces of field artillery and mortars of the nationalists were destroyed," he said.
Zelensky signs a decree extending martial law for 30 days
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has signed a decree extending martial law for 30 days from March 26, the parliament's website reports.
The official statement informs that, "As of March 20, 2022, the President of Ukraine has signed the laws of Ukraine... the law approving the decree of the President of Ukraine 'On the extension of martial law in Ukraine' No. 2119-IX (reg. No. 7168). This law extends the wartime period in Ukraine from 05:30 on March 26, 2022 for a period of 30 days."
In addition, Zelensky on Saturday issued a decree on the implementation of a unified information policy under martial law conditions, described as a "priority national security issue".
The policy will be realized by "combining all national TV channels" into a "single information platform of strategic communication: 24-hour information marathon 'Unique news #UArazom'.
Russian National Guard captures several leaders of Ukrainian nationalist groups
The Russian National Guard captured several leaders of nationalist groups and accomplices of the Security Service of Ukraine and obtained important documents during the operation to liberate the city of Izium in Kharkov province, the agency said.
Zelensky Said That He Is Ready for Negotiations With Russia
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he is ready for negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I am ready for negotiations with him. I was ready over the last two years and I think that...without negotiations we cannot end this war."
He further added that "If there is just one percent chance for us to stop this war, I think that we need to take this chance."
"There are compromises for which we cannot be ready as an independent state," Zelensky said, adding that these include "any compromises related to our territorial integrity and our sovereignty."
In conclusion, he said that they "have to use any format, any chance to have a possibility of negotiating, the possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War.”
Alluding to the Russian military's operation in Ukraine as having global implications, he considered the possibility that World War III "may have already started". "Nobody knows whether it may have already started. And what is the possibility of this war if Ukraine will fall, in case Ukraine will? It's very hard to say," Zelensky said at the time.
Russian and Ukrainian delegations are expected to resume online talks on March 21, the Ukrainiskaya Pravda media outlet reported on Sunday.
"An online meeting between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations is planned for March 21," it said, citing high-ranking sources.
Russia Destroys Military Base in Northwestern Ukraine
On sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported the destruction of a Ukrainian military base in the Zhitomir region bordering Belarus.
In his regular report, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that in the operation, the aviation used Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, whose use in the Ukrainian conflict was first announced on Saturday.
The Russian military reported that the Russian Navy launched Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea to destroy several Ukrainian Army armored vehicle repair shops.
Meanwhile, a large fuel and lubricant depot in the southern Nikolayev region was destroyed by missiles launched from the Caspian Sea.
Since Saturday night, 62 military targets were hit in Ukraine, including three command posts, a multiple rocket launcher, two weapons and ammunition depots, and 52 military equipment concentration points, Igor Konashenkov summarized.