Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that the city of Mariupol is being “reduced to ashes” by Russian airstrikes, but that it will “survive.”
Zelensky also urged Ukrainian citizens in his recorded video address to “do everything you can to defend our country, to save our people,” CNN reported.
“We are seeing more and more heroes. Once ordinary Ukrainians, and now true fighters,” he said.
Zelensky reportedly added that Russian forces are surprised by the resilience Ukrainians have shown since the invasion began late last month, saying, “We will make Russia believe.”
“Fight, keep on fighting, and help,” he said.
Zelenksy’s remarks come after Russian officials called for the surrender of Mariupol on Sunday.
“A terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed,” Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, who heads Russia’s National Center for Defense Management, said in a statement. “All who lay down their arms are guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol.”
The city of Mariupol has been under constant attack by Russian forces throughout the duration of the invasion, with satellite images showing significant destruction in the city’s residential area.
In a previous statement, Zelensky called Russia’s siege of the city a “terror that will be remembered for centuries.”
“To do this to a peaceful city … is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” Zelensky said during a Saturday address.