'Not ready to give away any part of Ukraine': President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy warned Ukrainians that Russia might use chemical weapons in Mariupol

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he will not give away any part of the country to the invading Russian forces.

Speaking at an interview with CBS News, Zelenskyy said, "Overall, I am not ready to give away any part of our country. I think we have already given up a lot of lives, so we need to stay firm for as long as we can. But, this is life, different things happen."

Meanwhile, six weeks of brutal Russian siege have left more than 10,000 civilians dead in the southern port city of Mariupol and corpses "carpeted through the streets," the mayor of that cut-off city said, as the West warned that a Russian convoy and other troops and weapons were on the move for a suspected planned Russian assault in Ukraine's east.

Mariupol has been the site of some of the heaviest attacks with civilians suffering in the 6-week-old war, but the land, sea and air assaults by Russian forces fighting to capture it have increasingly limited information on circumstances inside the city.

Speaking by phone on Monday with The Associated Press, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko accused Russian forces of having blocked weeks of attempted humanitarian convoys into the city in part to conceal the carnage there from the outside world. Boychenko said the death toll there could surpass 20,000.

Boychenko also gave new details of allegations by Ukrainian officials in recent weeks that Russian forces have brought mobile cremation equipment to Mariupol to dispose of the corpses of victims of the siege.

Russian forces have taken many bodies to a huge shopping center where there are storage facilities and refrigerators, Boychenko said.

"Mobile crematoriums have arrived in the form of trucks: You open it, and there is a pipe inside and these bodies are burned," he said.

Boychenko spoke from a location in Ukrainian-controlled territory but outside Mariupol. The mayor said he had several sources for his description of the alleged methodical burning of bodies by Russian forces in the city, but did not further detail the sources of his information.

The discovery of large numbers of apparently executed civilians after Russian forces retreated from cities and towns around the capital, Kyiv, this month already has prompted widespread condemnation and charges from Ukrainians and from Western leaders that Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Ukrainians that Russia might use chemical weapons in Mariupol. "We take this as seriously as possible," Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Monday.

(With AP inputs)

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