Russian blockade | 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says refusal to allow evacuations from Mariupol is ‘outright terror’

Some 100,000 evacuated during the past two days from seven citiesUkrainian officials say about 1,300 people have diedConcerns that Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons

Refugees walk in a group after fleeing the war from neighbouring Ukraine at the border crossing in Palanca, Moldova, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) Newsdesk

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 100,000 people have been evacuated during the past two days from seven cities under Russian blockade in the north and center of the country, including the Kyiv suburbs.

But he said the Russian refusal to allow evacuations from Mariupol, a port city in the south, was “outright terror.”

“They have a clear order to hold Mariupol hostage, to mock it, to constantly bomb and shell it,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation.

He said the Russians began a tank attack right where there was supposed to be a humanitarian corridor.

The city of 430,000 has been without food supplies, running water and electricity for 10 days.

Ukrainian officials say about 1,300 people have died, including three in the bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital on Wednesday.

Mr Zelensky has also raised concerns that Russia is preparing to attack the country with chemical or biological weapons.

He said accusation that Ukraine is preparing to attack with chemical or biological weapons was a bad sign.

“That worries me very much because we have often been convinced that if you want to know Russia’s plans, they are what Russia accuses others of,” he said.

Russia claimed it uncovered plans to create secret laboratories in Ukraine to produce biological weapons.

“I am a reasonable person. The president of a reasonable country and reasonable people. I am the father of two children,” he said. “And no chemical or any other weapon of mass destruction has been developed on my land. The whole world knows this.”

It comes as the Russian attack on Ukraine continues to meet stiff resistance.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it is still “highly unlikely” Russia has successfully achieved its invasion plan but will likely “re-posture” for a renewed offensive.

“Russian ground forces continue to make limited progress. Logistical issues that have hampered the Russian advance persist, as does strong Ukrainian resistance,” MoD said in an intelligence update.

“Russia is likely seeking to reset and re-posture its forces for renewed offensive activity in the coming days. This will probably include operations against the capital Kyiv.”

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