Ukraine Rejects Ultimatum as U.S.-Russia Ties ‘On the Brink of Collapse’

Ukraine won’t accept ultimatums from Russia as Biden broadcasts “unacceptable” remarks about Putin.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Ukraine said it would not accept ultimatums from Russia after it demanded Ukraine stop defending besieged Mariupol, Reuters reports.
  • As Russia focuses attacks on Mariupol, the Russian military had ordered residents of Mariupol to surrender by 5 a.m. local time on Monday, saying those who did so could leave, while those who stayed would be handed to tribunals run by Moscow-backed separatists.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government responded that it wouldn’t accept such ultimatums, declaring that cities such as the capital Kyiv, Mariupol, and Kharkiv would defy occupation.
  • “Ukraine will not be able to fulfill the ultimatum. We will not be able to do it physically. How can this be done?” Zelenskyy asked. “We must all be annihilated – then their ultimatum will be fulfilled automatically.”
  • “There can be no question of any surrender” in Mariupol said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
  • Ukraine’s resilience follows “unacceptable” remarks were made by Joe Biden about his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin which have left the bilateral relations between the countries “on the brink of collapse,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said.
  • Last week, Biden called Putin a “war criminal,” a “murderous dictator,” and a “pure thug.”
  • On Monday, the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow John Sullivan was handed a “note of protest” from Russia over Biden’s “unacceptable” statements, which were described in the note as being “unworthy of a statesman of such a high rank” as well as having brought U.S.-Russia relations to “the brink of collapse.”
  • “Hostile actions taken against Russia” will be met with “a decisive and firm rebuff,” it added.
RUSSIA CRITICIZES BIDEN:
  • Russia’s foreign ministry also issued a call on the U.S. to ensure “normal working conditions for Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, including guarantees for their uninterrupted functioning.”
  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov commented on the “personal insults” to Putin, saying that Biden’s rhetoric was “unacceptable and unforgivable” from the president of a state, “whose bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”
  • Peskov added that Biden’s “irritability” and “forgetfulness” was leading to “aggressive statements.”
  • In early March, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that it was “important” for Washington to preserve diplomatic relations with Russia.
BACKGROUND:
  • Reuters tallied almost a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people have been driven from from their homes as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Germany predicting the refugee number could reach as high as 10 million in coming weeks.
  • Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over what Moscow describes as Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements.
  • Russia’s stated goal of its military operation is to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” Ukraine, as the nation has vowed its troops do not pose any threat to civilians, as only Ukrainian military infrastructure is being targeted.
  • RT notes that Russia has demanded Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO.
  • Ukraine as well as the Biden admin. insist Russia’s military offensive was unprovoked and unkustified.