Kyiv: Russia on Tuesday gave Ukrainian fighters still holding out in Mariupol a fresh ultimatum to surrender on Wednesday as it pushed for a decisive victory in its new eastern offensive, while Western governments pledged more military help to Kyiv.
The Russian defence ministry's warning came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced late on Monday the start of a new offensive by Moscow, focused on the east of the former Soviet state.
"We once again call on the Kyiv authorities to show reason and give the corresponding orders to fighters to cease their senseless resistance," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
"But, understanding that they will not get such instructions and orders from the Kyiv authorities, we call on (the fighters) to voluntarily take this decision and to lay down their arms.
The statement made no direct mention of a new ground offensive in eastern Ukraine.
But it warned that Moscow had "real-time proof about terrible new crimes being prepared by the Kyiv regime".
The defence ministry added that Ukrainian fighters resisting the advancing Russian forces in the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol were in a "catastrophic situation".
"The Russian armed forces once again offer the nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries a chance to stop all military activity and to lay down their arms, starting at noon," it said.
"Everyone who lays down their arms will be guaranteed survival."
Thousands of Russian troops backed by artillery and rocket barrages were seen advancing in what Ukrainian officials called the Battle of the Donbas. Earlier, they seized the city of Kreminna.