Ukraine calls for truce in Mariupol for Orthodox Easter

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Ukraine calls for truce in Mariupol for Orthodox Easter

Ukraine has called for a truce in battered Mariupol for Orthodox Easter, which is celebrated in both Russia and Ukraine, as the fighting continues throughout the east and south of the country.

Kyiv said Moscow was targeting the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces remain holed up, and asked for special talks with Russia to free its trapped military. Russia is constantly attacking Mariupol Azovstal. The place where our civilians and military are located is shelled with heavy air bombs and artillery, presidential advisor Mikhaylo Podolyak said on Twitter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces not to attack the plant, but instead to lay siege to it.

Podolyak claimed Russia is building up forces for an attack. The Russian Federation should think about the remnants of its reputation, he said. He called for Moscow to announce a real Easter truce in Mariupol and create an immediate humanitarian corridor for civilians. Podolyak also asked Moscow to agree to a special round of negotiations so that we can exchange our military. A day earlier, Ukraine said Russian forces had thwarted an attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol. On Sunday, fighting raged in other parts of the country, threatening to end any hope of an Easter cease-fire. Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk, said two children were killed by Russian fire in an eastern village.

The lives of two children from the Ocheretyn community were taken away by the Russian occupiers this Easter morning, he said on Telegram. The children, both girls, were five and 14 years old. Kyrylenko urged locals to evacuate.

The Ukrainian army said yesterday that Russia's offensive had intensified in the east and south of the country and that Moscow was also targeting civilian infrastructure.

The enemy continues to partially blockade Kharkiv, Kyiv s military said, referring to Ukraine's second city near the Russian border. It said there were ongoing battles near the eastern cities of Rubizhne and Popasna.