Ukrainian officials have rejected a Russian demand for surrender in Mariupol in exchange for safe passage out of the surrounded city.
The Russian bombardment of Mariupol has intensified in an effort to coax a surrender, despite floundering forces in other parts of the country.
In Kyiv, a shopping center was destroyed by Russian shelling over the weekend, leaving at least eight people dead in the rubble-strewn area. A chemical plant in northeastern Ukraine was also shelled, according to Ukrainian authorities, which caused an ammonia leak.
Mariupol, a strategic port city on the Sea of Azov, has seen some of the worst attacks of the war, now entering its fourth week. Just prior to Russia's proposal of surrender, a strike hit a local school providing shelter to some 400 people.
Despite the shelling, Ukrainian government officials felt strongly that they could not accept terms of surrender. "There can be no talk of any surrender, laying down of arms," Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk told the news outlet Ukrainian Pravda. "We have already informed the Russian side about this."
The Mayor of Mariupol, Piotr Andryushchenko, emphatically concurred with deputy prime minister's assessment.
For the past several days, fighting in Mariupol has become so intense that humanitarian convoys have not been able to make their way in, leaving the city's food and water supply running low.
Western military experts have warned that the Kremlin is prepared to turn to progressively deadlier siege tactics and strikes as its main focus remains on the capital city of Kyiv.