Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said his country would be “destroyed” before it surrenders its cities to invading Russian forces, as he doubled down on a call for direct talks with Vladimir Putin as the key to ending the war.
As Russia defended overnight strikes that reduced a Kyiv shopping mall to rubble, killing eight, US President Joe Biden held a call with European leaders to address the increasingly “brutal tactics” employed by Moscow — undeterred by unprecedented Western sanctions.
But despite a soaring civilian toll, the Ukrainian president made clear his countrymen would not “hand over” the capital, the eastern city of Kharkiv, or the heavily bombarded and besieged Mariupol.
“Ukraine cannot fulfil Russian ultimatums,” he said. “We should be destroyed first.”
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