Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia rejected a proposal to establish an Easter truce this weekend so his people could have a respite from the brutal invasion.
“This shows very well how the leaders of this state actually treat the Christian faith, one of the most joyful and important holidays,” Mr. Zelenskyy said late Thursday in his evening address, according to the BBC.
The city of Mariupol, in particular, could use a pause in the onslaught this Sunday as officials try to evacuate civilians.
Russia claimed victory over the southeastern city even though Ukrainians are holding out at a steel plant.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday it would be better to blockade the plant than invade it, though that may reflect his forces’ struggles since invading on Feb. 24.
A complete ground assault by Russia on the plant would “likely incur significant Russian casualties, further decreasing their overall combat effectiveness,” the U.K. Ministry of Defence tweeted.
Russia continues to advance on key towns in eastern Ukraine as it tries to focus its invasion on the Donbas region.
“Despite Russia’s renewed focus they are still suffering from losses sustained earlier in the conflict,” British officials said. “In order to try and reconstitute their depleted forces, they have resorted to transiting inoperable equipment back to Russia for repair.”