The Kremlin troops have almost completely bombed the metallurgical plant, where the military and a thousand civilians are taking refuge.
Mariupol’s military continue to defend the city despite continuous attacks from Moscow, whose desire is to conquer this port enclave -of great strategic, symbolic and economic value-, which would become its first major success since that began the invasion on February 24, which would present in the face of May 9, when Russia commemorates its victory over Germany in World War II. The anniversary is important, which is why the Kremlin has intensified its offensive in this area of the country, which now and after a 50-day siege is only defended by some 2,500 soldiers. Is the fall imminent? It seems that way, but the brigades are going to make it difficult.
Russia issued a second ultimatum to the soldiers who continue to lead the enclave to lay down their weapons and put an end to their “foolish resistance”, while announcing the opening of three humanitarian corridors, but not before launching a new offensive. “Do not put your luck to the test, make the right decision, to end military operations and lay down your arms,” the Defense Ministry urged “all servicemen of the Ukrainian Army and foreign mercenaries,” who ” An unenviable fate awaits them due to the cynicism of the kyiv authorities.”
The ultimatum came with a promise of a ceasefire but only valid from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (local time) this Tuesday. Again, as happened on Sunday with the first Russian demand, the Ukrainian forces ignored the warning. The soldiers loyal to kyiv who remain in charge of the port city have already been warning for the last week that they will do “the possible and the impossible” to defend the enclave and that they will fight “until the end.”
Just before launching the ultimatum, the militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic carried out a new offensive on the Mariupol steel mill, where in addition to the Ukrainian military, nationalist units and the mercenary battalion, there are more than a thousand civilians, among them children. The pro-Russian spokesman, Eduard Basurin, stated that the selected assault groups have already begun to almost completely bombard the facilities. “In the near future, these pseudo-defenders will give up and the population will be able to breathe a sigh of relief,” he declared. It is unknown if there are dead or injured.
Before becoming a key battlefield in this war, Azovstal was one of the largest metallurgical factories in Europe, pumping out more than 4 million tons of crude steel per year. It was erected in the early Soviet era and rebuilt after it was left in ruins by the Nazi occupation in 1943. Seventy years later, Azovstal steelworkers organized to forcibly retake the city from pro-Russian separatists in 2014 Now it serves as a refuge for civilians.
After the attack, the commander of the Azov regiment, Svyatoslav Palamar, stated that “we will fight and use all the cartridges that we have left, but we call on the homeland to save civilians, the wounded and take away the bodies.” In addition, attacks are taking place in the surroundings of the city. “These are street fights with light weapons and tanks in the streets,” specified Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region. “They want to bathe in the blood of Mariupol residents because they want to say that they have a victory here,” said adviser to the Ukrainian Presidency, Alexei Arestovich.
The kyiv Security Service intercepted a new conversation from the Russian military in which the commander of the Rostov platoon, which is located four kilometers from the metallurgical plant, stated that they had been ordered to “raze everything to the ground. Three tons will fall from the sky. There will be a blast wave.”
Still, kyiv is not backing down. His resistance is creating serious problems for Moscow in all operational areas, British intelligence said. “The Russian command is concerned about how long it will take to take Mariupol. The resistance has become a serious test for their forces and draws personnel and weapons, slowing down their offensive elsewhere,” the statement said.
The situation remains delicate in the area. So much so that Sergiy Volyna, commander of the 36th Infantry Brigade, wrote a letter to the Pope in which he asks for his help in evacuating the civilians who still remain in Mariúpol and thus prevent them from falling “into the hands of Satan”.