Ukraine’s prime minister said Sunday that the strategic port city of Mariupol remains under Ukrainian control.
“The city still has not fallen,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told ABC’s “This Week,” hours after the expiration of a Russian deadline for holdout Ukrainian fighters in the besieged port city to surrender their weapons.
“There’s still our military forces, our soldiers. So, they will fight to the end,” he said.
Asked about reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin believes Moscow is winning the war, Shmyhal noted that while several cities are under siege, only Kherson in the south has fallen under Russian control.
“More than 900 cities, towns and villages… are freed from Russian occupation,” Shmyhal said, adding Ukraine has no intention of surrendering in the eastern Donbas region.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday that if surrounded Ukrainian troops in Mariupol were killed, peace talks with Moscow would be scrapped.
President Putin had already said the talks were at a “dead end.”
Shmyhal said on Sunday that Ukraine wants a diplomatic solution “if possible.”
“We won’t leave our country, our families, our land,” he added.
Zelenskyy, in an interview with CNN taped Friday and aired Sunday, said Ukraine is prepared to fight for the Donbas region. The battle will be critical, he said. If Russia were to capture Donbas, it could once again try to seize Kyiv.
“… It is very important for us to not allow them, to stand our ground, because this battle … can influence the course of the whole war,” Zelenskyy said.
Asked whether he was concerned that Russia could resort to using nuclear force, Zelenskyy said he and the rest of the world should be worried.
“They can. For them, the life of the people is nothing,” he said.
CIA Director William Burns Friday warned that the United States can’t “take lightly” the threat of Putin using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.