Ukrainian President Zelensky acknowledged that much of Mariupol was under Russian military control. In part, however, Ukrainian troops are still fighting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded the fall of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. Russia has declared the port of Mariupol “independent” after the fall of Mariupol on Thursday. Putin made the claim after Russia intensified its offensive in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops are still blocking a steel plant in Mariupol. Reuters reports
that 500 wounded soldiers and hundreds of civilian men and women are being sheltered at the four-square-mile Mariupol steel plant called Azvestal Iron and Steel Work. Russia has said it will continue fighting, despite two surrenders to Ukrainian troops stationed there.
In such a situation, the commander of the Ukrainian navy, Major Sherhii Bholaina, said, “this is the last appeal to the world for help.” Major Volaina, under siege at the steel plant, is leading Ukraine’s 36th Marine Battalion. Sherhii Bholaina said the number of Russian troops there was significantly lower than that of Russian troops. Their supplies are running out. They are in crisis of arms and ammunition.
In a meeting with the Russian Defense Minister at the Kremlin, Putin said there was no need for a final battle with the troops stationed in Mariupol, despite the fact that they had survived the blockade for almost two months. Putin told Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that “it seems unnecessary for me to carry out the proposed final attack on that factory.” I am ordering the cancellation of this plan. At that time, he ordered the blockade of the steel factory called Azvestal Iron and Steel Work and said, ‘Block the area completely. So that not a single fly can enter there. ‘
Sergei Shoigu said the factory has an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian troops. President Putin called on them to lay down their arms and surrender, saying that the surrender would show due respect to Ukrainian troops.
Regarding the Kremlin’s demand for the capture of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said today that most of Mariupol was under Russian military control. However, Ukrainian troops are still fighting in parts of the country. He said about 120,000 civilians were trapped in Mariupol.
Volodymyr Zelensky added that Ukraine had “offered all options” to Russia. It has even been suggested that instead of releasing the captured Russian soldiers, the stranded citizens of Mariupol should be rescued. He said they were waiting for a response from Moscow. However, no Russian statement was received until yesterday.
Asked to comment on Putin’s decision not to attack the steel plant, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said the move was evidence of Putin’s “mental retardation.”
Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, told a news conference yesterday that Russia had decided to block the steel plant. Because, they know they can’t take it by force.
Mariupol once housed four million people. Its inhabitants have suffered the most humanitarian catastrophes in the Russia-Ukraine war. Thousands of civilians have been displaced by Russian blockades and bombings in the city over the past two months.
Journalists who visited Mariupol saw corpses lying on the streets. Almost all the buildings have been destroyed and the residents are frozen.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Kiev’s response to the Moscow peace offer was still awaited. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that he did not know what the Kremlin was talking about.
Sergei Shoigu told Putin that more than 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the conquest of Mariupol. About one and a half thousand have surrendered. Among the soldiers who surrendered were two British soldiers.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryana Varashchuk said 1,000 civilians and 500 wounded soldiers trapped inside the steel plant needed to be evacuated quickly.
Amid ongoing tensions, US President Joe Biden has announced an additional To help 600 million security assistance package for Ukraine. The announcement comes just a week after the United States announced 600 million in aid to Ukraine. President Biden said the package would include heavy weapons, dozens of long-range missiles, ammunition and more strategic drones.
The United States has said it will provide an additional 500 million to Ukraine to support government activities such as payroll and services.