Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia’s shelling of a school sheltering hundreds of people an act of “horror,” and urged direct negotiations with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as the only way to stop the war.
Authorities reported people were still “under the debris” at the school in the besieged southern city of Mariupol, in the latest strike on civilians to commemorate Russia’s more than three-week-long invasion of its eastern European neighbour.
The shelling occurred as Moscow declared it had used a new-generation hypersonic missile for the second time, while China, under pressure to condemn its ally’s invasion, insisted it was not transferring arms to Russia.
In his daily video message, Zelensky claimed the siege of Mariupol, a vital port shut off from food, water, and supplies by Russian soldiers, will be remembered as a war crime, describing it as “a nightmare that will be remembered even in the next century.”
“Russian armies are coming to annihilate and murder us,” the president declared.
Authorities in Turkey, where Russian and Ukrainian delegates have been talking, claimed the two sides were close to a cease-fire agreement, despite allegations of a rising civilian death toll and hundreds of Ukrainians being deported to Russia.
However, Zelensky stated that a long-term solution to the terrible war would necessitate direct negotiations with Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin.