Ukraine-Russia: Eight killed in Kyiv shopping centre attack as Mariupol refuses to surrender

Eight people were killed in a devastating attack on a Kyiv shopping centre as Ukrainian officials rejected a Russian demand to surrender the besieged city of Mariupol.

Bodies were laid out on the pavement outside the Retroville shopping centre, just two kilometres from the Kyiv Maternity Hospital. At least eight people are believed to have been killed, as the centre was reduced to piles of rubble.

Another curfew has been implemented in Kyiv from 8pm local time on Monday until 7am on Wednesday, amid fears of a fresh campaign of attacks.

Ukrainian officials rejected the Russian proposal for safe passage out of Mariupol before Russia's response deadline of 5am Moscow time. Russia had offered to open two corridors out of the city – one heading east towards Russia and the other west to other parts of Ukraine – in return for the surrender of Mariupol.

A view to the site of an explosion as a result of a missile strike into a shopping mall in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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More than 90 per cent of the city’s buildings have been damaged or destroyed, authorities have said, while 300,000 people are trapped in the city without access to power or water.

Strikes hit an art school sheltering some 400 people only hours earlier. The strike on the art school was the second time in less than a week that officials reported an attack on a public building where Mariupol residents had taken shelter. Last Wednesday, a bomb hit a theatre where more than 1,000 people were believed to be sheltering.

At least 130 people were reported rescued on Friday, but there has been no update since then.

"There can be no talk of any surrender, laying down of arms," Ukrainian deputy prime minister Irina Vereshchuk told the news outlet Ukrainian Pravda. "We have already informed the Russian side about this."

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Mariupol mayor Piotr Andryushchenko also quickly dismissed the offer, saying in a Facebook post he did not need to wait until the morning deadline to respond and swearing at the Russians, according to the news agency Interfax Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Defence said authorities in Mariupol could face a military tribunal if they sided with what it described as "bandits", the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

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Multiple attempts to evacuate residents from Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities have failed or only partly succeeded, with bombardments continuing as civilians tried to flee.

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Mariupol officials said at least 2,300 people have died in the siege, with some buried in mass graves.

Some who were able to flee Mariupol tearfully hugged relatives as they arrived by train on Sunday in Lviv, about 684 miles to the west.

"Battles took place over every street – every house became a target," said Olga Nikitina, who was embraced by her brother as she got off the train. "Gunfire blew out the windows. The apartment was below freezing."

The fall of Mariupol would allow Russian forces in southern and eastern Ukraine to unite. But Western military analysts say even if the city is taken, the troops battling a street at a time for control there may be too depleted to help secure Russian breakthroughs on other fronts.

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Meanwhile, Russian attacks on other parts of Ukraine continued, as reports claimed a 96-year-old man who had survived a number of Nazi concentration camps was killed when a bomb hit his home in Kharkiv.

Boris Romanchenko, who is understood to have been held in concentration camps including Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Dora and Bergen Belsen during the Second World War, was killed when a Russian bomb hit his apartment block in the eastern Ukrainian city on Friday.

A spokesman for the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation said: “It is with horror that we report the violent death of Boris Romanchenko in the war in Ukraine. The former Buchenwald prisoner and vice-president of the International Committee Buchenwald-Dora and Commands for Ukraine (IKBD) died in Kharkiv on Friday. A bullet hit the multi-storey building in which he lived. His apartment burned down.

"We mourn the loss of a close friend. We wish his son and granddaughter, who brought us the sad news, a lot of strength in these difficult times.”

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The governor of Sumy Oblast, Dmytro Zhyvytsky, said ammonia had leaked from the Sumykhimprom chemical plant in the early hours of Monday morning as a result of a Russian airstrike.

Local media said residents in Sumy had initially been told to take shelter underground, turn their showers on to a “fine spray” and breathe through a soaked bandage. However, officials later said the leak had been “insignificant” and was not a risk to public health.

In the port city of Odesa, near the border with Moldova, Russian naval forces have shelled residential buildings on the outskirts.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine have continued, but failed to bridge the chasm between the two sides, with Russia demanding Ukraine disarm and Ukraine saying Russian forces must withdraw from the whole country.

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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said he would be prepared to meet Vladimir Putin in person – if a ceasefire was held – but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that more progress must be made first.

He said "so far significant movement has not been achieved" in the talks.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned relations with the US were "on the verge of a breach" and summoned the US ambassador for an official protest. The organisation cited "unacceptable statements" by US president Joe Biden about Mr Putin – an apparent reference to the American calling the Russian a "war criminal".

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